These People Took Online Dating Off The Apps & Out Of The DMs
Take this as your sign to read your LinkedIn messages.
Singles might be feeling some dating app fatigue, but that doesn’t mean online dating is on its way out. Unconventional Internet meet-cutes — as in, not over Instagram DMs or via the apps — are in right now, and people have actually managed to find long-lasting connections through unlikely corners of the Internet. From Reddit threads to Craigslist ads, there’s no wrong way to connect with someone online.
So, if you’re tired of replying to your crush’s Instagram story with flame emojis only to be left on read, here are six stories of digi-dating to inspire you to embrace a new kind of online romance. Basically, they’re the modern version of Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail — and they’re just as rom-com worthy.
He Asked Me Out On LinkedIn
In college, I went to a conference to present a research paper. I posted about it on LinkedIn, and a guy from my college sent me a connection request. When I accepted, he messaged me about my paper, complimenting it. I figured that would be the end of it, but a week later he messaged again: “I know this is unorthodox for LinkedIn (or maybe just for me 😅), but you seem like a refreshingly smart person and that can be hard to come by these days! I thought it might be fun to get to know you more. Can I buy you dinner?” I couldn’t decide if I should be flattered or weirded out, but I decided to say yes, figuring it could at least be a funny story. It was literally the most awk date of my entire life. Afterward, I told my friend it would be the last time I ever accepted a date on LinkedIn.
We ended up going on a second date. (I agreed, mostly out of curiosity.) It was shockingly fun, and at that point, he invited me to his office Christmas party. I love a fancy work party, so it was an easy yes. At the party, I talked to some of his coworkers and learned that he had talked to all of them about DMing me. Every time he introduced me, they would say, “Oh, you’re LinkedIn Lauren.” We ended up dating exclusively for six months, and the relationship was quirky all the way through. To this day, I am apparently still LinkedIn Lauren to his friends. — Lauren, 27
We Bonded Over Shroom Tea
I met my boyfriend on Twitter when a mutual friend tweeted about [hallucinogenic] mushrooms. I replied saying I was going to take my shroom tea out the freezer, and my now-BF asked me for the recipe. I was headed to a party, so I told him I’d text him, and he gave me his number. We hit it off and started FaceTiming everyday. He actually flew me out to NYC (I was living in Atlanta) for my birthday, and we knew it was something more. We were long-distance for the first half of our relationship, but I eventually moved to New York to live with him. Meeting online and being long-distance allowed us to create a safe space for each other, and our communication skills are A1. We’ve been together for a year and a half. — Alex, 28
It Started On Craigslist
In 2015, I lived in a three-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. It was me and another girl, and we were looking for a guy roommate, thinking it would be better for our dynamic. We posted an ad on Craigslist, and he responded.
He moved in, and there was an instant connection. We became best friends, and then started hooking up late at night. (We didn’t want to ruin our living situation.) My roommate only found out when one of our mutual friends told her — she got upset and wasn’t very nice to me afterward. So, after a year of sneaking around, we gave it a real shot and moved in together, just us. We got engaged in 2018 and married a year later. — Liz, 35
We Were Online Study Buddies
My boyfriend and I both found ourselves on HelloTalk, a language learning platform that connects you with native speakers. I was finishing high school in the United States, and he was in Argentina. Eventually, we got bored with other language learners and just wanted to practice together, so we switched to WhatsApp. We started talking 24/7, and after almost a year of communication, I booked a ticket to visit him and his family in Argentina. I had been living on my own for six months post-grad. I figured that solo living in a foreign country couldn’t be that different. When I got to Argentina, I couldn’t believe we got along so well. I stayed for three months before I had to return to the United States, but I’ve already visited again, and I plan on making it my new home. — Jordan, 20
He Saw Me On Tumblr
Back in 2012, I was sitting in the Starbucks at the St. Louis airport. I took a Photobooth selfie on my MacBook, uploaded it to my Tumblr, and added the #Starbucks tag. My now-boyfriend was on the site looking for photos of Starbucks’ hot chocolate to reblog in the Starbucks tag. He saw my selfie, thought I was cute, and messaged me. We were both in the end stages of long-term relationships at the time, but we struck up a friendship and communicated regularly through Tumblr inbox chats and eventually moved to text. We’ve been together ever since, and we’re planning on getting engaged soon. — Emelia, 29
We Met On Iceland Reddit
Many years ago, I was planning to visit Iceland for the first time. I took my questions to Reddit, specifically r/Iceland, to ask for help, and a generous local was more than happy to provide it. We got to chatting, first on Reddit, then on Facebook, until it was clear that our connection went beyond tourism alone. When I eventually went to Iceland, I ended up spending most of my time with him, and we ultimately sustained a long-distance relationship for two years. Now, I actually write travel guides to Iceland. — Ali, 33
These anecdotes have been condensed and edited for clarity.