Blind dates and networking are the most popular ways of meeting people, suggesting that the more connections you have, the easier it will be to find a date. 

In fact, DatingNews research shows that almost half of the single people surveyed have been on a blind date arranged by a friend or a family member. 

For everyone else who hates the idea of blind dates, there’s no need to lose hope. There are still plenty of ways to meet people, set up a date, and potentially find love, even if your friends aren’t pushing for you to have an awkward first date with someone you’ve never set eyes on before. 

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular ways of meeting people for dates, as well as options that are perhaps less common but can still yield solid results. 

48% of Singles Have Gone on a Blind Date

Almost half of respondents to our survey said they’ve been on a blind date set up by someone they know. And while those between 35 and 40 years old are more inclined to blind date than younger people, Gen-Z doesn’t rule out the tactic, with 44% of respondents who are 20 to 24 years old saying they’ve had the nerve to head out on a blind date. 

This shows that, even though there are more dating apps than girlfriends of Leonardo DiCaprio, people trust their families and friends when it comes to dating. In other words, people might prefer to go on a date set up by someone who knows them well, as opposed to using dating apps that are often a shot in the dark. 

Meeting via blind date graphic

That said, dating apps have realized how popular the age-old blind date is, with some — such as Tinder — adding blind date functionalities. 

Do blind dates make sense? Whether they work or not naturally depends on how good your friends and family are at matchmaking, as well as how open-minded you are. If you go on a blind date fearing the worst and believing they’re for losers, you’ll have less luck. 

52% Have Arranged a Date on a Networking Platform

Surprisingly, survey respondents indicated the most popular method of meeting people for a date was through networking platforms and social media, with 52% of men, 51% of women, and 52% of gender-neutral individuals having found a date this way.

But wait — isn’t LinkedIn for professionals looking for work? Does this mean you can head to the local job center and fall in love? 

Networking platforms graphic

It turns out that you can mix business with pleasure after all — especially if you’re single. 

Indeed, while LinkedIn connects businesses with employees and professionals with other professionals, plenty of romance is bubbling under the surface that you probably don’t see. 

After all, what single person hasn’t flirted a little with someone they connected with to share ideas or potentially even land work? 

As it turns out, 61% of respondents aged 35 to 40 years old have done just that, with those living in San Antonio (71%) doing so at a much higher rate than anywhere else in the country. 

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram aren’t dating apps, so it’s important that you don’t intentionally add someone just to flirt with them. In fact, many people will be against this and will not welcome flirting they haven’t encouraged. 

Ways of meeting future dates graphic

What if you hit it off with someone on a networking platform? Throw caution to the wind and see if they fancy a coffee. Judging by the numbers, they may be open to it. 

Interestingly, only 30% of respondents said they have met someone to date at a work or business event. This suggests that the shackles come off when we’re online, or the remote work lifestyle has made it easier to meet people over the internet. 

40% of Singles Still Meet People in Bars

We’re not saying that you’ll pop out of the house tomorrow and suddenly bump into the love of your life, but many people are still committed to finding a date when they’re out and about. According to our survey, 40% of people have met someone in a bar at some point in their life, with 39% saying they’ve met people in coffeehouses and restaurants. 

Half of the respondents aged 20 to 25 have met people in a bar, although the number is much lower for people between 25 and 35 years old (35%). 

The numbers are more balanced for meeting someone in a coffee shop and arranging a date, which means anyone of any demographic could potentially find some romance over their next cappuccino.

Although dating sites like Tinder and Match are undoubtedly popular, with 45% of respondents saying they’ve used them to set up a date, 45% of people also say they’ve managed to secure a date with someone in person. 

Bar or Club Encounter Graphic

Meeting someone in person is promising because you get to see what the other person looks like and gauge how much of a connection you have. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of eye contact, a smile, and a comment on something relevant, such as a cool T-shirt someone is wearing. 

If you decide to try meeting someone at a bar or a coffee house, make sure that you establish eye contact and sense some interest before starting a conversation. People might prefer to enjoy their own company with a drink, especially in coffee houses. 

Once you’ve decided there’s enough interest, it’s always a good idea to start by talking about something relevant, such as what they’re drinking or wearing. 

45% of People Use Dating Sites for Romance

Dating websites clearly remain immensely popular. Forty-five percent of respondents said they’ve used a dating site like OKCupid to find a date, with females (46%) using them more than males (42%). Dating sites are often free and can be a cost-effective way of finding a date with someone who’s looking for the same thing you are. 

That all said, it seems that older daters take a more practical approach than younger daters here, with only 33% of people between 20 and 24 years old saying they’ve used dating sites compared to half of those between 35 and 40 years old. 

How 20 to 24 year olds meet dates graphic

This might be because, to get the absolute most out of a dating site, users often have to upgrade and pay for a premium package — and young people might prefer to spend their money elsewhere. 

This doesn’t mean that young people aren’t finding love online. Instead, the data suggests that they’re taking a more creative route, such as using networking platforms and even fitness apps (33% of the younger demographic have used a fitness app to set up a date). 

Moreover, younger daters are more likely to meet someone when commuting or traveling (such as waiting at the airport for a plane) than older daters. The next time you’re stuck at an airport, why not invite a fellow traveler who’s caught your eye to have a drink while you’re both waiting? 

21% of Daters Admit to Meeting People on Non-Dating Apps

Roughly one out of five people who responded to our survey said they also use non-dating apps for meeting people. These include the language-learning app Duolingo, which has a Discord group where language learners can chat with fellow language learners — and potentially find love. 

Naturally, no one joins a language learning app to find a date. But the numbers demonstrate that we often click with people when we least expect it. Again, maintaining an open mind is key. 

Nearly 30% of Older Singles Have Used Luxury Dating Apps

Luxury dating apps aren’t within everyone’s budget, which is why it’s unsurprising that just 25% of respondents say they’ve used sites such as Elite Singles. The numbers shrink for singles between 20 and 24 years old (16% have used luxury dating apps), but 29% of respondents aged 35 to 40 have used them to set up dates. This is entirely natural, of course, with older people generally having more spending power. 

Dating choices of 35 to 40 year olds graphic

Older daters are also more inclined to use apps tailored to sexual preferences, including Grindr and Feeld, to find dates, with only 19% of younger daters admitting to having used them. The numbers rise to 27% for those between 25 and 34 years old who are perhaps more confident with their sexuality and who may not be looking for love. 

61% of Older Daters Use Networking Platforms 

We’ve already seen that networking platforms are the most popular method of finding a date, overall, with 52% of people surveyed saying they’ve arranged a date via a website such as LinkedIn. 

However, it’s probably not surprising that older daters between 35 and 40 years old use this method more than anyone else, with 61% having arranged a date this way. Comparatively, 46% of the youngest demographic, singles between 20 and 24 years old, say they’ve done the same. 

Popularity of dating methods graphic

Older daters are also more inclined to go on a blind date, with 54% of the oldest respondents using this method compared to 44% of the youngest age group. As we get older, maybe we start to relax our view that blind dates are outdated and we become more open-minded. 

Conversely, it’s younger daters who prefer to meet people organically in a bar or a club. 

How 20 to 24 year olds meet future dates graphic

For those in the middle (people between 25 and 34 years old), a combined approach is popular, with 45% of those surveyed in this age group saying they use dating websites to meet people. That is almost the same number as those who have met someone during a social activity (44%). 

However, this group has less of an appetite for meeting people in bars and clubs, with just 35% of respondents admitting to having arranged a date on a night out. 

Modern Singles Have Options Beyond Dating Sites and Apps

With the digital age in full swing, it’s easy to assume that we’d all be glued to dating apps while living in mortal fear at the idea of having to meet someone in person. 

And blind dates? What is this, 1950? 

But traditional methods of meeting people aren’t dead, and dating sites aren’t even the top choice for most daters. Many flex their creative muscles to find romance on networking platforms, fitness apps, and even language-learning forums.

Ultimately, love is out there, and singles are open to meeting new people wherever they are. If you connect with someone, why not throw caution to the wind and ask them out? Chances are, they’re as open to this as you are.

Survey Methodology commissioned a survey of 505 consumers aged 20 to 40 in the US who are currently dating to establish which ways of meeting, if any, they have used to arrange a date with someone. Participants were asked to select all that apply from choices such as networking platforms, blind dates, in person, and 13 additional options.