5 Socially Distanced Ways To Meet People

Quarantine has made it hard for us to meet new people. My single girlfriends all complain that they can’t date right now because it’s unsafe to hang out in person, and because everyone’s stuck at home, they can’t meet guys anywhere other than dating apps.

That isn’t necessarily true, though. If anything, quarantine is just forcing us to be creative with the ways we meet people and think outside the box. So let’s talk about places to meet people that aren’t dating apps or bars, that are still relatively safe as far as pandemic concerns go.

Nature Trails


View this post on Instagram


Tbh, kinda prefer 2020 // by @betches

A post shared by U Up? Podcast (@uuppod) on

I’m lucky to live in such an outdoorsy city. Austin is full of awesome nature trails to get lost on, and on those nature trails are usually cute guys walking their dogs.

Trails have been my go-to for getting out of the house, getting my steps in, and meeting new people all in one. They’re great because you don’t feel claustrophobic; everyone can safely distance and still have space.

If you don’t have any trails nearby because you live in, say, Manhattan, then long walks can be just as effective. Just be sure to make that eye contact—extra crucial now that we can’t smile at anyone from across the street in our masks.

Dog Parks

Fun fact about me: I met the last two guys I dated at my apartment complex’s dog park. (Guess my dog is my best friend and my wingman.)

Okay, so it may be a little creepy to just show up at a dog park if you don’t have a dog (but also, it’s a pandemic, who cares?). If you do feel self-conscious, you can always accompany your friends that have dogs to the park. Dog people are incredibly social and friendly, it’s just a fact, and I’ve met best friends and romantic prospects alike through my dog.

Or… and hear me out… you could just get a dog! There’s no better time to adopt a dog than now, since we’re going to be home all the time anyway. Clear the shelters, quell your loneliness and up your chances of meeting a guy all in one by adopting. Just be sure to do your research on breeds beforehand, and bring a mask to the shelter.


Who’s been slippin’ and slidin’ into your DMs? It’s time to pay attention to those sneaky little bastards. 

A few months ago, I started following a guy on Instagram who lives in my city and who is in a similar field of work. We had been commenting on and liking each other’s posts ever since. Just a few weeks back, he asked me if I wanted to hang out—to which I happily said yes. And it’s a good thing he did, because I was crushing on him. 

Who’s been persistently DMing you? If a guy’s been actively engaging with your content for a while and you’ve started to develop an unofficial rapport, that guy may be worth asking out. (Please note: I’m NOT talking about the creeper persistently in your message requests asking if you want a sugar daddy. Unless you’re into that.)


View this post on Instagram


i respect the hustle // @taylajacksonn

A post shared by LET ME FINISH PODCAST (@letmefinish) on

We all have guys that DM us. And while you’re definitely not obligated to answer any of them, it might be worth noting who the cuties are. Yep, I’m giving you full permission to stalk their profiles…just don’t accidentally like any of their posts from 2011. 

Plus, meeting guys on Instagram can be less creepy than meeting a rando off of Tinder. If you get a DM from a follower, you most likely know them (or at least know you OF them). Plus, you already know what they look like, so your odds of getting Catfished are much lower.

Group Workout Classes

As a yoga teacher, I feel like I HAVE to talk about the power of group workout classes. Both for your health and wellness and all that, but also for your love life. Potentially.

While you shouldn’t go to a yoga class with the intention of meeting a romantic prospect (and go instead for the amazing post-workout endorphins), you can build an incredible community of people by continuously going to your favorite group workout classes. Plus, you’re more likely to meet a guy that prioritizes self-care at a class than off of an app, just like you.

So if you feel comfortable enough to sweat alongside others, start going back to group classes. And if you don’t feel comfortable going to the gym or studio just yet, look out for outdoor group workouts happening in your area. Just don’t forget to bring your mask and stay six feet apart from your fellow exercise peeps.

Waiting In Line For To-Go Food & Drink


View this post on Instagram


Based on my dating history, this couldn’t be more spot on // by @saralememe cohost of @natcpod

A post shared by U Up? Podcast (@uuppod) on

A great place to meet people that you may not think of is waiting in line for your to-go order. In line, people tend to be on their phones. But think of it this way: How would you like to be approached out in the wild? Approaching someone in line can be intimidating, but someone’s got to make the first move. It’s 2020, and that person can be you.

A simple “I can’t wait for this food! Have you tried it before?” or “How’s your day going?” can go a long way—really, any commentary on the line, the restaurant, and/or your general surroundings will work. It doesn’t feel forced, and shows you’re still open to connecting with people during a time when connecting feels really hard.

If you don’t take a chance on someone who strikes your interest, you may be missing out on a great connection. Remember: You’ll always regret what you don’t do so much more than what you do.

Images: Jon Flobrant / Unsplash; uuppod, letmefinish / Instagram

Sheena Sharma
Sheena Sharma
Sheena is a yoga teacher, women’s spiritual dating coach and freelance writer. Originally from New York, Sheena used to be a dating writer for Bustle. She lives in Austin, TX with her dog Malcolm - and when she’s not helping women gain the confidence to date non-f*ckboys, she spends her time hiking and doing yoga. Follow her on Instagram @thatbrownyogi.