By Allie Volpe

Wish you could delete your dating apps and find romance offline? My interview with VOX provides great tips on how to find love IRL, comfortably and naturally.

Prioritize social events where you know you’ll meet new people

Allie writes, “One of the biggest challenges to in-person dating is not knowing where to meet people. There’s the clichés — bars, parties — and locations ripped from rom-com plots — elevators, bookstores. But the key is to find a place where there are people you don’t know. Think of an activity you like to do and find a club or gathering around that pursuit, says relationship expert Susan Winter. Try not to think of these social events as opportunities to meet a potential romantic partner, but as chances to learn more about something you’re genuinely interested in, Winter says.

Winter says there’s nothing wrong with asking a friend to tag along, ideally someone who is also open to talking to new people. If you’re having fun, it takes the pressure off.

Take romance out of the equation

Don’t focus on flirting and instead flex your conversational skills. Try complimenting a stranger at the bus stop or asking if the person sitting next to you at the bar would recommend the book they’re reading. Listen carefully to their responses, Winter says, and ask follow-up questions based on what they’ve said. Soon you’ll find something you’re mutually interested in. “If you get boxed up, forget that they are a romantic prospect.”

Winter says. “Actually, tell yourself they are a human being, and your task is to engage with this human being.” It’s important to pay attention to the other person’s verbal and nonverbal cues to determine whether they’re enjoying the conversation. If they’re giving you short, clipped answers and aren’t making eye contact, they might not be interested, Winter says. You might consider gracefully exiting the conversation to avoid wading into creepy territory.

Be chill if you get rejected (and be chill when rejecting someone)

People might have a multitude of reasons for turning down a date. They could be in a relationship already, they might be moving to a new city in a few months, or they may just not feel the romantic spark. It’s okay to take it personally, Winter says. If they were brash and unkind in their response, you dodged a bullet.

Continue reading the full article on Vox to learn more about flirting offline.