Modern-day dating can seem more like job-hunting in a competitive market than simply falling into love by chance. You have to work at it, put yourself out there, and diversify your approach. It takes effort.
Online dating has finally taken over as the top way couples are meeting — outperforming the “family and friends” plan that your parents probably used.
But there are still plenty of ways to meet “the one,” especially for marriage-minded people. And Meetup dating is one of those ways.
Is Meetup a good dating site?
Most people are familiar with Meetup, even if they’ve never joined a Meetup group or attended an event. It’s the largest network of local groups and it focuses on building community-based events based on common interests.
Passionate about environmental clean-up and sustainability? There’s a group for that. Interested in art museums? Take your pick of artsy-minded groups. Single again and looking for a way to meet other singles with similar interests? Opportunities abound for Meetup dating or simply making new friends with fellow singles.
Here are some of the pros and cons of Meetup dating.
Pros of Meetup dating:
1. There is a Meetup group for every interest
Currently over 100,000 topics. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can organize your own group or event. This narrows down the guesswork and assures you that you’ll at least have some fundamental interests in common when you show up.
2. Attending a Meetup function isn’t about joining “established groups” where you’re left alone trying to fit in. Most of the people attending are in the same boat. And even if they’re regulars, there’s nothing about the group that will require “catch-up” on your part.
3. There are no fees to join Meetup. Meetup isn’t a dating site, but many groups are focused on bringing singles together. And it’s nice to know that, unlike online dating, there are no membership fees to participate.
In some cases, Meetup organizers do ask you to pitch in to help with the expenses as a requirement of membership.
4. Meetup is a great way to meet a lot of new people in a short amount of time. And you don’t have to abide by a speed-dating structure to fish for a few defining qualities about each new person you meet.
People are showing up with a common willingness to be social and meet new people. That makes chemistry immediately possible without even trying.
5. You have the opportunity to build upon commonalities. Because you’re already connected by at least one common interest, there’s a good chance you have other friends in common. A Meetup event is a great opportunity to explore those possible common connections through conversation and social media exploration.
6. You can have a lot of fun without all the dating pressure. Granted, you may have the underlying goal of finding someone to date, but Meetup has a bigger purpose that allows you to meet awesome people of both genders and to connect through common interests and values.
Even if a little light flirtation over cocktails and appetizers doesn’t lead to anything romantic, you’ve at least made some new friends. Participating in a group setting helps to ease the pressure that comes from being completely focused on one person.
Cons of Meetup dating:
1. While there are no fees for using Meetup, there may be costs involved for specific events. For example, if reservations at a restaurant are required, you may have to pay a per-head cost. Also, group organizers may divide the monthly cost of running the group among their members.
2. Some people use Meetup only as a way to meet potential dates. They lose the broader intention of making friends and building a community. It’s not uncommon, for example, for middle-aged divorced people to attend Meetup functions only as a way of getting back into the dating scene.
While there are plenty of Meetup events centered on singles, the purpose of Meetup, in general, is bigger than that.
3. Organizers can have a difficult time getting rid of problematic members. They are, after all, “self-organizing,” and that can make rules enforcement challenging.
4. People often RSVP for an event and then don’t show. This behavior is especially stressful for organizers who may have to make, keep, and pay for reservations at a specific venue. It’s important that people change their RSVP if they suddenly can’t make an event.
5. An organizer may have ulterior motives behind the group or event. For example, s/he may organize a mixer for health-conscious, active people, but really be using it as a front for selling a supplement line.
Or, with regard to Meetup dating, an organizer may create singles events with the sole intention of finding clients for their business or matchmaking service.
6. Meetup isn’t meant to be an alternative to online dating. But some people misuse it that way, and that can detract from the intended low-key “social” dating aspect of Meetup dating. You may get “hit on” by random men who you’ve never met before.
Finding love on Meetup.com.
Meetup dating, like all things, has its pros and cons. As a dating coach, I am committed to helping my clients have the broadest and most personalized reach into their dating options. I want them to have an online presence, and I also want them to be out meeting people in person. It’s important, therefore, that they understand the pros and cons of all their options.
When you’re looking for lasting love in this fast-paced, technology-driven world, it’s important to be diversified in your approach. You need to be anchored with a well-prepared online presence, and you also need to be out there engaging in-person connections.
Especially for people who are marriage-minded, building relationships on common values and interests is essential. Meetup dating is one of the best ways to bring wonderful, like-minded people into your life.
And by building your own community of friends with common values and interests, your chances of finding “the one” will skyrocket.
Amy Schoen is a D.C.-based national expert in dating and relationship life coaching. She is the author of “Motivated to Marry® – Now There is a Better Method to Dating and Relationships” and “Get It Right This Time and How to Find and Keep Your Ideal Romantic Relationship,” as well as a free online dating checklist.
This article was originally published at Motivatedtomarry.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.