August 11

How to get dates without dating apps


So, you’re finding someone to make babies with you.

Okay, I’m kidding.

But yes, yes, we’ve been there.

When you meet the date at the cafe, and mentally facepalm, wondering how the date in real life looks so different from the pictures in that dating profile.

Or you might sit through the date, and wonder why your date is bombarding you with a series of questions, asking,

What qualities are you looking for?

When are you hoping to get married?

How many babies do you want?

Dating as an adult, if you haven’t gotten a partner through those times in university, or school, can be tough.

It can feel like a job.

How to get dates without dating apps
Make no mistake, dating can feel like a fulltime job.

Yes, I’m that guy who’s asked ladies in person straight up,

Hey can I go on a date with you?

Here’s what I’ve learnt.

Don’t go for explicit dating agencies

You’ve graduated from the dating app. Now you want a date fast.

But hold on.

If you are looking for a date, you won’t find it at the dating agency.


They will probably sell you some version of this.

Tired of swiping endlessly on dating apps and never getting to meet your dates?

Are you running out of time to meet the one?

Are you hoping to settle down soon?

I was that fool who signed up for a blind dating agency, thinking that I would get high-powered women who had no time to go onto the apps.

How to get dates without dating apps
Having faith is not going to cut it. Here’s some better advice, starting from NOT doing dating agencies.

James (whose name has been changed to protect his confidentiality) shared how he had also been tempted.

But he was once a kayak instructor who had facilitated those kayak speed dating adventures. He saw how forced the conversations were, with dates going with a list of expectations.

So the conversation can feel forced.

They might also not be the best at conversation.

Of those I’ve met, it’s been like playing conversational tennis with a black hole. You get nothing back.

The other problem is that the physical attractiveness of the lady, just might not be what you expect.

You have to remember, ladies have far greater demand than men. Go to your female friend who’s using a dating app, and you would seem them swamped with matches and requests.

James shared how one date once put her phone in front of him to illustrate the number of notifications from the dating apps she was getting.

Her notifications wouldn’t stop buzzing.

Even if you’re average-looking, most usually have more demand to keep up with.

For those who do pay, they might not be as attractive.

Some of them may be plus-sized. Nothing against that, but it may just not be your type.

Quit that dating app

If you’re still holding onto the dating app, delete it off your phone. It will leave you thinking that there’s always a way back.

How to get dates without dating apps
Dating apps kills your masculinity. Period.

It kills your masculinity.

Men grow up to have courage to chase after the beauty. In days of old, you would see people asking out partners they fancied.

But with the dating app today, you can hide behind a screen and ask.

That doesn’t push you to your limits, does it? It doesn’t force you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t even make you rise to the challenge.

There’s even prompts that tell you what to ask.

That’s emasculating.

In the U.K., a farmer once told me how he stopped the male horses from being too aggressive and hurting others on the farm.

We remove their balls (testicles) when they are young.

This takes away their testosterone and drive to be strong and strive to be conquerors.

It’s the same idea with dating apps.

If you leave it on your phone, you will find yourself gravitating towards it. Because it’s much easier than the threat of rejections.

And you will get rejected.

Dating apps take away your need to rise to the ask. Just try asking someone you are attracted to out for coffee. You would see your heart pump, your mind primed for rejection, and your physique puffing up to impress the person.

Dating apps give you the illusion that there’s always someone better out there.

They also amplify the myth that there’s nothing wrong with you. You just haven’t found the right match.

Sure, you might be great as a person. But if you’re constantly losing dates and seeing dates you like not progress, you need to ask some hard questions.

What is it about me that makes it so hard for people to approach me?

If you do use the apps…

James recommended this.

When I went abroad, I used another account.

I stopped trying to match with everyone.

I was selective. And somehow it seemed as if the algorithm saw me as more attractive, because there was a higher ratio of people trying to match with me, but me turning them down.

Remember that you’re playing with an algorithm here.

Not an agent that knows what you need.

Programmers simply put in signals that they think will illustrate your attractiveness, and your likelihood to find a good match.

Your attractiveness appears to be governed by:

  1. How many people like you
  2. How many people you turn down
    1. This shows the algorithm that you’re high in demand
  3. How many pairs are successful (meaning both parties like each other)

Go real life, really

James final advice was simple.

Go for Meetups which matched people based on interests. Interest-based conversations are less scary because no one is just there to find a date. They are there to learn about their specific interest, and to have fun.

Eventbrite was iffy because events were usually singular, and it was hard to keep up the relationship after the first try.

How to get dates without dating apps
If you constantly find yourself struggling after the first date, get consent to continue chatting.

How do you progress beyond the first meetup?

After going for a few of these events, often the question people face is,

How do I continue the conversation beyond the initial meeting?

Get consent to continue talking

Firstly, after the meeting, get explicit consent to continue talking.


Hey, I really enjoyed talking to you. Can we keep this conversation going?

This sounds like a lot, but it’s not.

It shows your guts.

If she’s discomforted, she would likely say no. But my experience is that ladies usually don’t say no outright. But I do have experiences where they simply stop replying after the first chat.

Explicit consent matters. It signals to the other party that you’re interested. And if they don’t want it, they will stop you.

Some of it is interest on the other party.

At the beginning, one party must take more of the initiative to chat, initiate meetups, and move the conversation forward. Singaporeans are smart. If they are not keen, they will say no.

Or ghost you.

Theorise and test their communication style and love language

Over the first meetup, get some sense of how they prefer to communicate.

During the first meeting, questions like,

how do you communicate best with your friends?

What do you like to do with your friends?

These questions have helped me to better understand what the other party enjoys.

If they hate texting, be mindful.

It’s a fallacy to think that all prefer texting in a digital age today.

Be careful though. Some ladies might say what they believe they are, but not what they truly desire. One date once told me she hated texting, only to tell me at the end that she would have preferred me to text more.

See the irony?

One thing is clear though. To progress, you need to communicate. And in the early stages, where you have just met once, to get her to come out again might be tough if you don’t meet regularly.

Thus, texting can help both parties feel more emotionally invested in each other.

What seems to work is constantly ‘testing the water’ through texting.

Start with simple questions like,

What’s your favourite music/movie?

One or two questions work at the start. Don’t make it too strenuous.

If she doesn’t ask any questions back, some may take it as a sign that she’s not interested.

Buț I don’t think you should just drop it at that moment. Instead, try, and keep trying.

Girls are not dumb. They will read or suspect the interest.

And ladies who are more mature in thought will be mature enough to tell you if they don’t enjoy it.

If they don’t, and simply ghost you, well…

She just wasn’t mature enough to say no in your face.

Have variations in mood

Another guy recently told me how he got more dates after his initial date.

Imagine dating as an emotional rollercoaster at times.

It keeps things fresh and less dull.

I’m not saying that you should deliberately do this.

But mixing up the moods in the text messages by adding:

  1. An exciting day you had
  2. Bringing her out on an adventure
  3. Asking her about a difficult moment at work

Reframe what you tell yourself

One thing I’ve found helpful is to reframe what I’m telling myself. Because let’s be honest. When you text someone, and she doesn’t reply, you might be screaming within,

She’s gone.

Ghosted me.

Yet again. What’s wrong with me?

Why can’t anyone love me?

Telling this to yourself is just not kind to yourself.

Be patient, wait, and focus on your work.

Mark Manson’s advice in ‘Models’, does hold water here.

His primary advice is that

women judge social status by behavior.

Social status is determined by how you behave around other people, how other people behave around you, and how you treat yourself.

Courtesy of Mark Manson’s ‘Models’
Courtesy of Mark Manson’s ‘Models’

The key is to treat yourself better.

Reflect after the meetings you have

Be conscious of what you’re doing and what you’re adjusting. If you notice yourself struggling with conversational topics, then have some conversation topics on bank to ask.

If you find yourself persistently struggling with texting, ask someone for advice.

But don’t just be interesting and talk about yourself. Be interested. Ask good questions.

And if the other party can’t ask you back, accept that some people just aren’t as developed in conversation as you are.

One way that might help is sharing about yourself during the question, to give more depth to who you are. The person might not ask you ‘what do you think?’, but at least she would have better known you through your sharing, through the question you asked.

This dating journey can be incredibly difficult.

And if you’re struggling with it, take heart. It won’t get easier, but you will get better.



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