Logo mashup with meetup and various online dating sites.

Online Dating vs Meetup: Which Is Best for Seriously Searching Singles?

10 August 2023

One of the questions I get from my clients is where do you recommend I go to meet a serious, committed life partner: Online dating vs Meetup? Which one is better? 

When considering online dating vs Meetup, each has its pros and cons. This is what I recommend you consider before deciding which way you want to take to meet someone for dating. Or you can try both if you have the time!

1. How easily do you meet new people?

Can you go into a room of strangers and strike up a conversation or do you prefer to get to know someone over time on a one-on-one basis? Those who like Meetup can easily go by themselves to an event and start talking to people. If that’s not you, then maybe online dating would be the way to go so you can warm up a conversation with someone new over time.

2. How do you know that someone is single and ready for a relationship?

There is a big difference between online dating vs Meetup here.

With online dating, your goals are usually stated in the profile. I recommend my clients clearly declare their goals for dating in their profile. Unfortunately, there are those out there who will lie and not be very transparent about their true intentions. 

However, with Meetup, you can’t assume that people are single, even if it’s a singles group, or that they’re looking for a life partner. Sometimes people are lonely and they just want to take part in the activity. And some people have steady partners but they don’t do the same things or have time for them that day. So be aware that coupled people will show up to singles events. 

3. How do you determine chemistry?

This is another big difference between online dating and Meetup. 

When you go to a Meetup, you can quickly determine if you find someone attractive. And you can try to talk to them. Once you do, you’ll know right away if you’re attracted to them – unless they’re introverted!

With online dating, you see pictures that may or may not be current or accurate. You may like the rapport of messaging and even talking on the phone with someone. However, the moment of truth is when you do finally meet them. What if there is no attraction whatsoever? Then you’ve wasted all that time building a relationship that cannot work out. 

Chemistry is one of those mysteries of life!

4. How can you see if they have good social skills?

With online dating, you’re able to see if they’re considerate and follow through. Do they walk their talk? On the other hand, you can’t see if they have good social skills until you meet them face to face, either via a video chat or in person. And you really can’t see how they are with other people. 

With Meetup, you can observe the person and how they interact with others. Are they friendly? Are they easily approachable? Do they seem to get along with the other people in the group? Are they considerate of others and the host? Or are they pushy, rude, and abrupt?

Consider this when you’re stacking up online dating vs Meetup.

5. How can I know if we like the same activities and have the same interests?

Online someone can list all their interests and even share their interests in their profile essay. However, how do you know that the person even wrote their own profile? Perhaps they beefed up their profile, kind of like what people do with resumes. And they could have checked off what looks good and not really participate in that activity currently!

With a Meetup, the person shows up and participates in the activity. You can see if they’re a novice or a pro. Sure, people go to certain activities to “meet men” or “meet women,” and you can see if someone made the effort to try that activity.

I know a woman who didn’t bike and yet met her husband on a biking weekend. She went for the social activities instead! Again, people show up for the activities on Meetup and may not be looking for a life partner. That’s just part of the process.

6. Online dating vs Meetup: Which feels safer for women?

This is a tough one!

On one hand, online dating can be safer because you get to know someone from afar – you message them and then talk on the phone or do a video chat. And if someone does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can block them or report them to the dating site. However, you do have to be careful with online dating, especially if you’re meeting someone outside your social circle face-to-face because you really know nothing about them. 

However with Meetup, if you meet someone in person and they turn out to be a creep, they can contact you through Meetup. Or maybe they appeared like a regular person and then do something that’s not cool. Then you’d have to contact the Meetup admin and have them respond to do something about it. You may have already given your phone number. (Always give a Google number and not your actual phone number.)

I met a guy at a happy hour and he followed me back to my office where I had to get something before I went home. Luckily, I had a male friend with me at the time. Yet, it’s most likely someone knows the person you met, so you can get the inside scoop. (If you trust their assessment of this person.)

So you be the judge which is safer: online dating vs meetup.

7. Which is easier to message a person and not be ghosted?

With online dating, many people complain that they’re actively communicating with someone via the site’s messaging platform or via text and then the person drops off the face of the earth. This can be frustrating. (This also can be a scammer that the site identified and got rid of them too).

With Meetup, you can follow up after a meeting and tell someone you enjoyed meeting them. And that you hope to see them again at an upcoming Meetup. Or if you have the guts, you’d ask them out. You’ve already met this person face-to-face so it’d be less likely they would just disappear – unless they’re wanted by the law! Most people would be considerate since the chances of running into you again are fairly high. So if they decide it’s not a match, they’d tell you so.

8. Which way do you meet people face-to-face more quickly?

This is where there’s a big difference between online dating and Meetup. Remember, it takes time to nurture a relationship online via messaging back and forth and then having a phone call before actually meeting in person. Some people are dating multiple people and want to talk to several people before deciding to meet in person. So this can take a while before you actually set up a date!

With Meetup, it’s about who shows up. Just know that with Meetup people notoriously sign up for events (to get noticed by the members) and then don’t actually show up for the event. Some admins require some payment to avoid this behavior. They’ll also kick people out of the group if they do this continually. So you do meet people in real life with Meetup. However, the follow-up can be touch and go here too!

9. How do you know if someone lives in your local area?

With online dating, you don’t necessarily meet someone who’s in your geographic area. You can search for someone who’s in your local area, and you can meet someone across town or state lines. You can also meet someone from another country with online dating. 

The story’s a bit different with Meetup. You’re most likely to meet someone in your local area at a Meetup event. However, with my Meetup group, Seriously Searching Singles in the DMV, we have people joining us from out of town because they’re interested in being part of the community. And some of the events are virtual, so it doesn’t matter where people are from, they can even be from Timbuktu! 

And the last difference between online dating and Meetups is….

10. Which has the best success rates overall for your clients?

All I can do is share my 20 years of experience as a dating/relationship coach. Hands down, online dating has been a better way for my clients to meet their life partners. Over 80% of my successfully coupled clients have met through online dating. 

Only a handful of clients have met through a Meetup. And for those who did, it was serendipity. It was truly a matter of being at the right place at the right time with the right person. 

So which do you choose to do when you think of trying online dating vs Meetup as you put some energy into meeting your life partner? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

And if you want to learn more and explore what’s the best way for you to get out to meet new people for dating and create a personalized plan that works, let’s talk! www.talkwithcoachamy.com.

After all, now is the time to get ready for one of the best times of the year to meet someone online, after Labor Day. So grab one of my limited Meet Your Mate This Year strategy session spots and let’s make this happen for you!

I don’t coach hundreds of people, just 2 dozen.  This way I can be there for you in a big way. Get on my calendar today!