What Happens When You Try To Date Offline

What Happens When You Try To Date Offline

8:50am Jan 04, 2016
A couple on a date.

The beginning of a new year is a busy time for new singles. According to the websites Match.com and PlentyOfFish, Jan. 3 is the busiest day of the year for new signups to their sites.

But those are just two of the plethora of dating apps and websites. There are big names like Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge. But there are lots of niche apps that target specific groups. For example, there's JDate and JSwipe for Jews, Tindog connects dogs and owners alike, High There is for marijuana enthusiasts, and of course there's Sizzl, exclusively for bacon lovers.

As people spend more time on their phones, so much of the dating world has moved there with them.

So what happened to meeting people in person?

Lisa Bonos tried to find out. Bonos writes and edits pieces about single life and dating for The Washington Post's Solo-ish blog. She recently took a three-month break from dating apps and tried to meet people IRL. Bonos chronicled her app fast in a recent blog post and talked about what she learned with NPR's Michel Martin.

Interview Highlights

On how important the internet is for modern dating

If you want to be meeting people and going on dates on a regular basis, yes it's important. If you want to go on one date a week, you are going to have to enlist the internet, or all of your friends to set you up.

On the increased pressure she felt going offline

Any time I was in a situation where there might be single people, like a bar or party, which did not happen every night, I would be like, "Oh my gosh, I'm in a situation where I could meet someone, I need to talk to more than one person." In one situation I ended up talking to two people and cutting off a perfectly good conversation to go talk to somebody [else]. Turned out, he was married.

On what she learned from the experience

My takeaway from the time away is that I might do it more often. Just take a breath when I'm feeling overwhelmed I might not say, "for three months I'm not going to use the apps." But maybe two days or three days.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.



Insert cliche about New Year's resolution here - gym and fitness center sign up, check; start working on taxes, check. But did you know that January is also the busiest month for new sign-ups on online dating sites? According to match.com and plentyoffish.com - two popular sites - today, January 3, is the busiest day of the year for new sign-ups on their sites. But our next guest decided to take things in a different direction altogether. She decided to quit using all of her dating apps for three months and meet her dates the old-fashioned way - in person - what a thought. Lisa Bonos writes and edits pieces about the single life for the Solo-ish blog in The Washington Post, which recently published a piece about her going without dating apps. And she's here to talk with us about it, too. Lisa, welcome - happy New Year to you.

LISA BONOS: Happy New Year to you, Michel.

MARTIN: First of all, I have to be your old-fashioned friend and say I had no idea there were so many dating apps.

BONOS: There are a lot, and I was on...

MARTIN: How many were you on?

BONOS: ...Five or six of them. I mean, part of that is I have to test new ones out for my job, right?

MARTIN: OK, sure...

BONOS: It's...

MARTIN: ...It's your job.

BONOS: ...For work. But there are even more.

MARTIN: Bumble, Hinge, Happn, JSwipe, Tinder - one, two, three, four - you were on five of these things?

BONOS: Yeah, I was on five but probably Bumble and Hinge were the ones I was using the most.

MARTIN: I guess the first revelation for me, these online apps are really important to your dating life.

BONOS: If you want to be meeting people and going on dates on a regular basis, yes, it's important. I think if you want to go on one date a week, you are going to have to enlist the Internet or all of your friends to set you up.

MARTIN: So why did you decide to delete your apps?

BONOS: I was out with a bunch of friends on a Friday night. And a friend of mine looked at me - I was showing people about all the apps, right? And she was like you can meet people in person. Why don't you go off of these things and meet people in person? And we were in an environment where there were theoretically a lot of single people, right? We were at a bar on a Friday night in September. And so I thought - like, I looked around - I was like there are people all around; I don't need these apps. And I said yes, I'm going off of these. And I struck up a conversation with someone that night to sort of prove to her that I could talk to people in real life.

MARTIN: Were you nervous about it?

BONOS: I wasn't nervous about it. At the time, I was pretty tired of online dating, and I needed a break.

MARTIN: What was it that was tedious or exhausting about the online - about using all these apps?

BONOS: Yeah.

MARTIN: And I have to say, I was dating in the pre-app era, and I found it exhausting and tedious, too...

BONOS: Oh, of course, yes.

MARTIN: OK, so...

BONOS: It can be exhausting and tedious no matter where you're finding your dates...

MARTIN: But what is it that you found sort of exhausting and tedious about it that you wanted to take a break from?

BONOS: Well, there are so many people on these apps, right? So there's all these potential matches, and then once you get a match, you might start a conversation with someone. Some of the apps have time limits to how long - once a match is initiated, you only have 24 hours - I think all of it was starting to make me feel overwhelmed as far as, like, how many people can I fit into my life as potentials, and how many conversations do I want to carry on with strangers because those conversations are not very interesting most of the time.

MARTIN: Well, so now that you've had your three-months app fast...


MARTIN: ...Say, what's your takeaway?

BONOS: The big revelation was that I probably liked them more than I thought I did. Trying to live without them was a little bit like trying to live without the Internet - that most singles now if you're out there dating and you're looking, you're probably going to be looking for dates online. And so to not look online made it feel like I was, like, living without the Internet. But my takeaway from the time away is that I might do it more often - just take a breath when I'm feeling overwhelmed - not say for three months I'm not going to use the apps, but maybe two days or three days. But I think I will probably consciously not rely on them as much.

MARTIN: Putting you on the spot here, Lisa.

BONOS: Yeah.

MARTIN: So are you going back on the apps?

BONOS: Of course I'm going back on the apps.


BONOS: January 3 is the big day.


MARTIN: Lisa Bonos writes and edits the Solo-ish blog for The Washington Post. We're talking about her piece about taking a break from dating apps for the three months. She was kind enough to join us in our Washington, D.C., studios. Lisa, thank you so much for joining us.

BONOS: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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