Movies make meeting someone new look too easy. There's no way people run into each other on a jog, take one look at each other, and immediately fall in love, right? More often than not, people meet on dating apps, through friends, or on nights out — all options that can very quickly start to feel blah if you're on a steady rotation of "swipe, meet, ghost, get set up with your cousin's neighbor, meet, fizzle out, repeat." The good news is, there are tons of places to meet someone other than a bar that are loaded with potential, sans the smell of Clorox and tater tots that infiltrates your neighborhood dive bar.
The idea that you can meet your next bae at any time can seem a little intimidating. It's pretty safe to say no one wants to be "on the hunt" for someone to date 24/7. But when you think about the aforementioned on-screen movie meet-cutes, one of the things they almost all have in common is that two people met perchance and hit it off. Whether bars just aren't really your thing, or you're sick and tired of the same scene, as long as you stay open to the possibility of meeting someone new (wherever you are), you're already on the right track. Below, seven places where that might just happen.
1. The Grocery Store
The grocery store may seem like the last place you'd ever meet someone, but before you nix the possibility completely, think about it: Who do you go grocery shopping with? Your friends? Your roommate? Alone? Everyone has to eat, which means there is no limit to the types of personalities you'll find in the produce section.
2. A Coffee Shop
Coffee shops are great first date spots, but they're also great places to meet people. Whether it's the cute barista behind the counter or the guy reading your favorite book on a comfy corner chair, don't be afraid to go up and make light conversation. One good opener? When they pass you by with their drink, say, "Wow, that looks so good. What type of drink did you get?" *Mic drop.*
3. The Gym
Some people would definitely prefer to be left alone when they're getting their workout in, so proceed with caution here. But if you've been making flirty eye contact from the treadmill toward the person lifting weights, go say hi. Or maybe your next bae is using the machine you've been waiting on for the last 15 minutes, or they accidentally trip you in the bathroom when you're changing. Listen, don't discount the gym just because people are sweaty and in the zone. Remember, in the wise words of Elle Woods: Endorphins make you happy! And do you know what's so fun to do when you're happy? Flirting.
4. In Class
A college campus can be a great place to meet someone, largely because almost everyone in college is at a similar point in life in terms of schedules. Everyone is in and out of classes, extra-curricular activities, intramural sports, and parties. (So many parties.) The future love of your life could be living on your same floor, hogging your favorite table at the library, or sitting across you in Chem. You never know.
5. At A Museum, Art Exhibit, Or Gallery
Another great place to meet new people you have things in common with is literally wherever you go to do the things you enjoy. For example, if you're an art buff, instead of meeting someone at a bar, you could meet them at a local exhibit or gallery that just opened. Maybe you're into photography, and there's a photo club in town. Meeting someone where you go for your hobbies almost guarantees that you have at least one interest in common. That, in and of itself, is a great conversation starter.
6. At Work
Yes. I know not everyone can be Jim and Pam from The Office. IRL, dating people you work with can get a little messy if things go south because you can't exactly go no-contact with a coworker. But if things are great, then working with someone you're dating can be really nice. You have a go-to lunch partner or someone to grab breakfast with before going into the office together. Not to mention, being able to vent to someone who also knows your annoying co-worker can be hella comforting.
If bars aren't exactly your scene, fret not. There are countless places you can meet someone special that don't involve alcohol, dimly lit spaces, or EDM pulsing through the room. Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and approach someone first. It can be so, so worth it.