Advice from a Matchmaker: How to Meet People IRL in Hong Kong

Online dating can sometimes be a trap. There are so many platforms to choose from and messaging back and forth is so easy, we can forget that signing out of the app and meeting people in real life (IRL) is the end goal.

And then there’s good ol’ fashioned meeting straight-up offline. It’s something we don’t hear so much anymore as the prevalence and ease of dating apps have made us squeamish about approaching strangers.

I’ve discussed the topics of meeting people offline in the e-book I co-wrote with Valentina TudoseHow to Win the Dating Game: Finding Love in Hong Kong, but I will elaborate a little more here.

The Elephant in the Inbox: Rejection
Life would be way easier if we weren’t so scared of rejection. There are few people in the world that don’t fear and hate it and they seem to be on a different planet or vibrating at a different frequency (or maybe both). The rest of us mortals live our lives in fear of being laughed at, scoffed at or given the cold shoulder.

Rejection doesn’t kill but it sure does hurt, and when we’ve made ourselves vulnerable in a potentially romantic situation that feeling is exacerbated to the max. And then 100x more if we’re in a public place with people around and no smart phone screen to protect us.

With that in mind, it’s not hard to understand why we do less of the IRL stuff when we have access dating apps that buffer the dent to our ego.

I’m as shy as any of you but if there’s any advice I can give about approaching someone IRL it would be :

  1. If you get rebuffed, do your best to not take it personally. When we get rejected it’s usually not because we did something wrong so don’t let that get to you. As this HuffPost article says, ”When we begin to believe there is something wrong with us, or that the other person is out to get us, or worse, that the harsh judgment being passed on is right, the world can begin to feel isolating, cold and restrictive.” Try your best not to succumb.
  2. The cooler your response the better. Apologize if you think you may have overstepped any boundaries and don’t take offence to their indifference. Who knows, they may very well come around and approach once they get comfortable with the idea of talking to a stranger.
  3. Get reinforcements. Rejection can be terribly destabilizing. Don’t hesitate to contact your friends (or me) for a morale boost.

The How
If you have the emotional bandwidth and time to socialize outside of your usual social circle then I totally suggest you meet people offline. That’s the best way.

If you don’t have the emotional bandwidth and/or time and/or the desire to meet strangers you can outsource the search to me. This is the second-best way.

If you have the emotional bandwidth, time and are OK with strangers, get a social hobby. This is the third-best way.

If you have plenty of time to spare but don’t want to meet strangers IRL you can use dating apps and online dating platforms. This is the last-best way because it’s emotionally draining, requires a tonne of your highly valuable and irreplaceable time, and your ROI is paltry because few quality dates actually materialize.

The Why
The beauty about meeting people IRL is that you won’t get judged so severely on your looks. I go to great lengths getting potential matches to focus less on looks but it is hella hard. We are visual creatures and I can’t fault anyone for that.

But when we meet IRL we see so much more than just your face and outfit. By meeting offline we can get a feel for how you ingest and digest information, how you communicate your feelings or thoughts, and what those feelings and thoughts might be. People don’t just communicate with words, we communicate with the way we say the words and our mannerisms. 9In the future I don’t want to have profile photos for Maitre D’ate but profile videos where I ask you a question and you’re taped hearing it, thinking about it, and answering it. There’s a lot happening in those few seconds and they speak volumes.)

The Where
But where to meet? A lot of people will tell you to go where you enjoy yourself. That is a bad idea.

If you are a woman who wants to meet a man and you enjoy taking flamenco and baking classes, hanging out at the spa, and going for afternoon tea – guess what? – you’re going to be SOL because men rarely do those types of things. You are also SOL if you’re a straight man who wants to meet a woman but don’t have social hobbies that are also frequented by women. You need to go where the people you want to date hang out.

Think about the Attraction Venues that will work for you. There are four levels:

  • Public Settings: This includes the park, supermarket, bank or post office.
  • Singles Venues:  Such as singles bars and speed dating events.
  • Interest groups: These places allow you to meet people who share similar interests.
  • Passion Settings: This is where your chances of connecting are very high because people who share a passion already have a great deal of deep connection around a subject, which can evolve into a lot of common ground for the first dates.

Passion settings include your place of worship, favourite charity or a social cause you believe in.

Remember: If you’re awesomely single keep on being awesome but if you’re terribly single…don’t just stand there; do something!

xo Ariadna


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