A little less
a little more
action please

3 in 4 singles want to meet their partner in real life, but 7 in 10 think it’s now more common to meet someone online. We surveyed more than 2,000 people who are currently dating in the UK to find out what is getting in the way of IRL romances.


Eyes meeting across a crowded bar. Hands brushing as you reach for the same Pret sandwich. Missing a train but finding the love of your life in the waiting room. Rom-com meet-cutes have long been romanticised as the ideal way to meet a partner.

But now we’re able to date from behind our phones, these love-at-first-sight moments are fast becoming a thing of the past. In fact, on average, singles approach someone they fancy IRL only once every 2.4 years. So, it’s no surprise that most people are finding more romance online than on the street.

If single people are ever going to have a shot at their heart-racing, life-changing, IRL dream, our research says it’s time to step away from swiping.

Online dating overtook meeting in real life as the most popular way to find a relationship roughly 4.6 years ago but 3 in 4 would still prefer an IRL meet-cute.

Here’s why:

62% think meeting IRL is more natural
58% think you get to know each other better
38% think it’s more romantic
27% think it gives you a better story to tell

A party is the perfect IRL meet-cute. Here’s how singles would love to meet:

A party | 35%
“They were a friend of a friend and we ended up at the same house party.”
A bar | 35%
“Our eyes met across the bar and I couldn’t stop smiling.”
A dinner party | 21%
“We were sat next to each other at dinner and we just clicked.”
A class | 17%
“We were in the same life drawing class and just started talking.”
A gallery | 16%
“We were both at the Tate on a rainy Saturday morning and we kept catching eyes.”
A gig | 15%
“They picked me up after I tripped in the mosh pit.”
A gym | 15%
“After months of seeing each other at the gym, they finally asked me out.”
A supermarket/shop | 13%
“Our hands touched as we both reached for the tuna baguette in Pret.”
At work | 13%
“We worked together for 2 years but one day I just saw them differently.”

Only 3 in 10 single people say they have been approached by someone in the last three months.

Here’s why:

But daters are missing a (party) trick when it comes to finding love IRL.

Desire to
meet IRL
Fear of
dating IRL
Desire to meet IRL
Singles want to meet their partner IRL.
Fear of dating IRL
The fear of rejection, the endless chats on dating apps that never lead anywhere, and the worry that people may already be in a relationship is holding single people back from finding love IRL.
Singles parties
Singles events could mend the broken hearts of daters. They offer an IRL meet-cute but in a situation where everyone is single and ready to mingle.

Despite being the perfect solution to this dating conundrum, 1 in 3 singles admit to thinking singles parties are a good idea but say they wouldn’t be willing to go to one.

Here’s why:

31 don’t like meeting too many people at once
24 think people at singles events will be weird
22 would be embarrassed to tell friends or family
21 think the kind of people they want to date wouldn’t go to a singles party
17 think singles parties are for desperate people

1 in 2 people think singles parties are like awkward school discos while 1 in 5 associate them with the 90’s or Bridget Jones.

Singles parties need a rebrand if they are going to win the hearts of daters.

50% of singles want to go to a ‘normal’ party
27% would prefer a bigger event like a festival where everyone is single
58% of people dislike forced interaction at singles events
27% would opt for a singles party with no activities

Put down your phone and join us at The Curtain - the newest hot spot in Shoreditch - for a chilled Sunday Session where you can meet people IRL, instead of hiding behind your phone.