Dating in the Digital Age: How People Are Scoring Dates Online

Published: MAY 3, 2024 | Updated: MAY 4, 2024
Wondering how to score a date in 2024? Turns out dating apps aren't the only option.

When it comes to dating, some things never change: the excitement of meeting a potential new partner, the frenzied pre-date preparations, the disappointment when it doesn’t work out, or the thrill when it does, and of course, the age-old question of how to meet new people to date at all. That said, some things about dating have also changed drastically over the years, from bill-paying etiquette to sexual activity to where and how people meet their dates.

Advertisement recently released the results of research they conducted on that very topic. The answers to “Where exactly are people meeting each other?” might surprise you. They may even thrill you if you, like many others, have found yourself wondering how to meet people without dating apps!

So today, we'll look at those findings and see how people score dates on and offline in 2024. Get ready, folks; it’s time to talk about dating in the digital age!

How to Meet People in 2024, According to

To figure out where and how people are finding their dates, the good people at surveyed 505 people between the ages of 20 and 40. All participants live in the United States and reported that they're currently dating. To establish which ways participants used to meet and arrange dates, each respondent was asked to choose from a list of nearly 20 options, selecting all that applied to them. Choices included everything from social networking platforms to blind dates, daily commutes, and more.


The results are fascinating and, in some cases, shocking. For example, 24% of the respondents have used apps like Duolingo — yes, the app that teaches you how to speak a new language — to meet potential partners. Vuoi uscire con me? 

Let’s look at some of the most popular responses to the DatingNews survey:

Networking Platforms 

Over 50% of respondents of all genders reported meeting potential dates via networking platforms, making this the most popular option by far. At first glance, this is not terribly surprising. Having folks slide into our DMs for a little flirting is hardly a new phenomenon, and anyone who, like myself, is of an age where they were actively dating when Facebook was in its cool social platform heyday may remember it as a convenient way to connect with those friends of friends you thought were cute but didn’t really know. (That wasn’t just me, right?)


The surprise in this set of responses lies in which platforms folks reported finding dates. A startling 61% of respondents aged 35 to 40 found dates on LinkedIn. Yes, the “polish your resume and apply for a job” LinkedIn. It's tempting to attribute this to the age of the respondents, but when the age range is opened up to include survey participants ranging from ages 20 to 40, the percentage of people hooking up on LinkedIn is still a whopping 52% (except in San Antonio where it's 71% because, after all, EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas). 

This finding highlights the fact that there's potential for love all around us. But before you go Kool-Aid-Man-ing your way into someone’s LinkedIn inbox with the same flirty intro you would use on Tinder, please keep this in mind: the fact that one can make a love connection on a networking site (or anywhere, really) doesn't make it reasonable to treat said site or platform like a meat market. Adding someone on LinkedIn because they're cute and you're interested in flirting isn't cool.

It's true; sparks can fly anywhere. But constantly flirting with people just trying to go about their day isn't exactly cute. So, when looking for dates on networking sites, approach it with a "this could be cool" mindset, not as your sole reason for being there.


Bars & Cafes

Okay, so we know life’s not a rom-com where any trip into a local watering hole or coffee shop is bound to result in the meet-cute of your dreams, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. In fact, according to the survey, it may be more common than you think.

Over 40% of folks in this survey met their match at a bar, and coffee shops or restaurants weren't far behind at 39%. Still, those aren't the only dating hotspots. Believe it or not, 31% of people snagged connections at the gym, and 45% found love at social events.

One of the most appealing things about meeting someone new IRL is the near-automatic vibe-check. You know that feeling where you talk to someone online, and it feels promising, but then you meet them in person, and you don’t quite feel it? Meeting in person first can help prevent that awkward slump because, well, you get that in-person part done first, and you can feel out your connection a bit more. 


No matter where you are, it’s important to remember that not everyone wants to meet new people, and some folks like to keep to themselves. Before approaching someone new, establish eye contact, share a smile, and generally try to gauge their interest. And remember, headphones are like a personal “Do Not Disturb” sign.

If you catch someone's attention and they seem into it, start light. Maybe they're wearing a t-shirt referencing a band you like or a noteworthy pair of shoes. Compliment them on that. Small things can serve as great conversation starters. The important thing here is to make sure you're not treating every small interaction in a public place like an opportunity to hook up or find your soulmate.

Dating Sites

In news that probably won’t surprise anyone, online dating remains wildly popular. However, determining the best online dating sites is a bit tricky because folks are pretty much using all of them!


Here’s a breakdown of which apps were the most popular among respondents:

  • 45% used classic online dating websites like OkCupid or
  • 39% reported finding partners via what the survey referred to as “trendy” dating apps, which included platforms like Tinder and Bumble
  • 26% said they preferred sexuality-specific apps such as Grindr or HER (Did you know these were a thing? There are even apps and sites specific to non-monogamous users or BDSM enthusiasts)
  • 25% turned to luxury dating apps, including Elite Singles and The League.

As you can see, if you want to use the internet in your search for love (or whatever it is you’re looking for) you’ve got options. 

That said, you might be surprised to hear that there’s an old-school dating method that a slightly higher percentage of respondents reported partaking in than all internet-based ones. Are you ready?

Blind Dates 

Blind dates may sound like an archaic way to meet people, but according to these survey results, the blind date is alive and well and being enjoyed by a whopping 48% of participants.

While this is a bit surprising, it makes a good deal of sense. What is online dating if not choosing a stranger to go out with? That being the case, it makes sense that folks might prefer people who know and love them, like their friends or relatives, to set them up with a stranger rather than taking the leap of faith and trusting the algorithms to select a random partner.

Admittedly, the success of blind dating hinges on how well the people involved know you, how much they care about matching you with someone appropriate (rather than just getting their cousin out of the house for the night), and your own attitude about the experience. Like anything, going into it hoping for the best is more likely to yield a good experience than deciding ahead of time that a blind date is inherently terrible. 

You've got options!

These days, many folks assume that if they want to meet someone, they need to jump into the dating site/dating app fray, which, while fun and exciting for some, may feel daunting, fraught, and downright unsafe for others. The good news is, it’s not true! While we have plenty of digital options at our fingertips to help us find everything from a spouse to a fun, no-strings-attached hook-up, lots of other methods for meeting potential partners are not just available but are quite popular! 

The big takeaway here is that your next date is out there, and you never know where you might find them. While it’s not a good idea to turn every situation into a high-pressure leer-fest where disinterested parties can’t escape being hit on, it is a great idea to remain open to organically connecting with folks you encounter at the gym, online, or even on that blind date your friends want to set you up on.

You’ve got options, so don’t be afraid to connect with new people. You might not always get a date, but it'll be way more interesting than all that swiping!

JoEllen Notte

JoEllen is a writer, speaker, researcher and mental health advocate whose work explores the impact of depression on sex and relationships. Since 2012 she has written about sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken on her award-winning site The Redhead Bedhead. JoEllen has led workshops nationwide on sexual communication, navigating consent, having casual sex kindly, and dating as an introvert. She has toured sex shops, spoken at length on dildos, and...

Latest Sex Positions