Tired of online dating? Want to diversify the ways you meet dates in general?

There is an alternative. One that’s been around since the dawn of time. Day encounters.

Chances are you’ve thought about how to meet people during the day at some point in your life but relegated the idea to the recesses of your mind. Weasel thoughts telling you “It’s impossible” or “inappropriate”.

Day encounters are neither of those things. As one of the five ways to meet people for dating, they are a vessel to dating empowerment. Getting you off of apps and out of the house to meet new people you find attractive in real life.

What are day encounters? – Day encounters as a medium for meeting people in real life to date

A day encounter is meeting and talking to someone in a public daytime setting. It doesn’t rely on specific venues like night encounters or dating events do nor existing friendship and acquaintance groups like social circle dating does.

It involves something long-existing that’s unfortunately being squeezed out in many parts of the world: saying hi to a stranger and seeing if there’s a connection. It’s hard not to argue that a day encounter is the most classically romantic type of interaction there can be.

Before you think the idea of meeting people in regular daytime scenarios is arcane, let me remind you that this was the norm for most of human history. Even as recent as a few generations ago, nightclubs and online dating didn’t exist. People dated from meeting in day-to-day interactions or from their social circles.

Over time, other ways of meeting people displaced the simple act of saying hi to new people we cross paths with. The increase in urbanisation played a role in this too. Ironically, city folk are surrounded by more people than ever before yet we live in a world where we’re increasingly isolated from each other with reports of ‘loneliness epidemics’ among young people.

The solution to getting more people to meet each other in real life isn’t through another app, it’s to allow strangers with good intentions the scenarios to meet each other, however novel those scenarios may be. Unless you’re one of those pre-20th century bloodline purists who married their cousins, every partner you ended up with was a stranger at the start of your relationship.

Day encounters is one such medium for creating such scenarios. They can be very rewarding not only for you but for the person you’re starting a conversation with too.

As I wrote in my overview on the state of dating:

A few generations ago, there very much would have been a role reversal along with social circle dating as the norm. The rewards for saying ‘hi’ and introducing yourself to someone in public can be great. There’s something very liberating about communicating with people in a way our ancestors had to.

When done well, day encounters can be life-changing. So many people today are alive because someone in their family lineage met their significant other in public. The added beauty of this approach is that there are limitless places to meet others this way.

How To Meet People During The Day Encounters

Where to meet people during the day

The beauty of day encounters is that the world really is your oyster.

Meeting people during the day isn’t restricted by any particular location, entry fee or user interface. The love of your life could be waiting in line at a coffee shop, window shopping across the road or buying groceries in a supermarket. If you find someone attractive that you’d like to speak to, why leave it to chance that you’ll see them in another setting? Wishful thinking is not a mindset for those who take control of their dating life.

You’ll undoubtedly hear many great stories if you speak to older generations about how they met their life partners. Some in the most unlikely of places.

The woman who met her future husband on a train after having a crush on him for a year. The professor who started a conversation with a woman when she was with others in the Raleigh Hotel and years later has a son with her whose middle name is Raleigh. The married couple who met after being paired together on a rollercoaster.

Even in the 21st century, Hollywood romances never seem to portray a drunken nightclub love affair or online dating arrangement on screen. Their scripts are still full of unique spontaneous encounters between two individuals in all kinds of places. You too can make your own narrative via day encounters.

That being said, some of the more popular places for meeting people during the day are:

-> Populated streets

-> Supermarkets

-> Gyms

-> Bookshops

-> Transport hubs (train stations, bus stops etc.)

-> Department stores

What these places share in common is that they are safe, public spaces frequented by lots of people throughout the day. This means:

(1) There’s a continuous footfall of people you can meet,

(2) The public nature of the location means people are less likely to feel defensive about a new person they don’t know talking to them.

Despite some places being more popular than others, don’t feel beholden to any specific place. Your future partner could be just around the corner no matter how random the location. Better to introduce yourself and find out then and there than wonder what could have been. When you learn how to meet people during the day, your world of dating opportunities opens up.

How To Meet People During The Day Public Space

How to meet people during the day

Despite the varied types of locations where you can meet people during the day, the way you approach and converse with them is the same. There’s no ‘bookshop method’ or ‘gym approach’ that require their own subsections.

Where there are differences in scenarios, you need little more than common sense to get by. For instance, you can pretty much chat to anybody in a bookshop at any time but it’d be foolish to start a conversation with somebody when they’re in the middle of a workout at the gym, better to wait until they finish.

Let’s examine the characteristics of successful day encounters.

Be honest with your intentions

Many people are scared to be upfront from the start about what they find attractive about someone. They think they need to be euphemistic and circumvent by being indirect lest the person scurry off or deem them ‘offensive’.

The reality is even if you manage to start a conversation in an indirect manner (e.g. asking where the nearest Starbucks is), after you receive a response, you’ll still need to continue a conversation with the person regardless.

If you continue talking after receiving ‘directions’, the person will intuit that you actually want to get to know them and not so much about where the most ubiquitous coffee chain is (there’s one everywhere, why ask). They’ll likely pick up that your tourist question tactic was just an excuse to meet them. You might go down a few pegs in their eyes from doing this. Worse, they’ll consider you creepy from the misalignment between your intention and your words/actions.

If instead you’re honest from the start that you find something attractive about them, your confidence will be undoubtable and respected. You could have the most charismatic person be indirect and they’ll never come across as confident as a shyer person who plucked up the courage to say what he likes about someone from the get go.

A person honest with their intent is confident, straightforward and sincere—all characteristics that people universally admire in others.

There’s nothing wrong about finding someone attractive and wanting to introduce yourself. They may have an attractive personality too but you can’t read personality across a room, you have to go and find out.

Calibration is key

While we want to be direct from the beginning, there is such a thing as being too forward.

Telling someone they’re “hot” or “sexy” in the middle of the day isn’t the best approach. You might get away with it in a debaucherous nightclub but in a shop or gym it’s inappropriate. It’s not that the words themselves are so bad, it’s that it shows you don’t understand social tact.

Instead, it’s better to pay a specific compliment that shows you’re paying attention to them as an individual. For example something specific they chose to wear or the energy they’re giving off.

Then there’s calibrating to the context. Your interest is next in line to pay at a counter? Better to wait until they’ve made their purchase. They’re shopping with another friend? Better to keep it to the point and make sure you chat to the friend somewhat too. They’re waiting for a bus? No point trying to get into a long conversation, you won’t have time—keep it brief.

Since day encounters often feel the most ‘unusual’ way to meet people for dating for both parties, calling out the elephant in the room is often an effective way to go. This means stating to the other person from the beginning that you know your approach is bold and random. Such openness is endearing—it eases the pressure on the other person and demonstrates that you ‘get it’, you understand the wider context of this daytime conversation that’s different from the norm.

So many people are paralysed at the idea of talking to a stranger for fear of being considered creepy or offensive.

Here’s the reality: if you’re calibrated, you’ll never come across as creepy or offensive.

There’s no reason that someone who calls out the elephant in the room, gives a sincere compliment with a smile on their face and adjusts to the response of the other person should be considered awkward or rude. The vast majority of people will appreciate your approach regardless of whether they reciprocate your interest. 

Calibration also means understanding when someone isn’t interested. If someone shows they’re not interested (likely with a polite smile since they’ll usually appreciate your honesty), respect this and move on.

People seem to take ‘nos’ from dating differently than rejections from other areas in their lives but the reality is they’re no bigger deals. It’s not the first ‘no’ you’ve heard in your life and you’re fine up to this point so why should this one matter? If you followed the above advice, you’ve made someone’s day with a compliment and done so in a calibrated manner. If anything, it’s a win-win for both parties.

Vibe and connect

It should go without saying that you need to find out what a person is like and not be sold on appearances alone.

Yet in this age of materialism that prioritizes style over substance, this isn’t always a given.

It’s fine to have personal standards on what a person looks like but make sure to apply such standards to other characteristics to. 

Women tend to be better at doing this than men. A lot of men are sold only on appearances and fail to take into account what they want and expect from a woman’s personality.

But people aren’t silly. Both genders can tell when someone is merely paying lip service in conversation without wanting to truly get to know them. Surface-level conversation isn’t attractive.

This is why it’s important to see if you gel with the other person in conversation and whether there’s a chance for a more meaningful connection.

Certain approaches are more conducive to creating a good vibe and connection than others. If you’ve read my other posts on dating, you’ll probably know that I’m not a fan of interview-style questioning that permeates a myriad of conversations between strangers across the world.

As I wrote in ‘The Best Ways To Meet People At Night For Dating’:

When speaking with someone new, another common mistake is to ask them question after question in the hope of maintaining the conversation. This occurrence is from not knowing what to say and because asking questions is a good way to show interest in someone else.

Yet such questioning can have the reverse effect of making someone feel like they’re being interrogated. Instead, after asking a question, make a comment about the person’s response. This will create a better flow to the conversation. Then later, if the vibe between the two of you is good, you can ask more questions now that you don’t feel like strangers in each other’s presence.

This also applies in day encounters. No one wants to be interviewed going about their business during the day. Focus on statements rather than back-to-back questions. It increases the chance of a better vibe allowing you to better understand who the other person is and have them see the real you.

Another way you can improve the vibe and connection with someone else is through relating. Get to know what makes the other person tick and find out points of commonality.

The secret to relating is not so much focusing on whether you share the exact same opinions/hobbies/behaviours as it is about relating emotionally to those things. For example I might not know how to dance but I would be able to talk about other performance arts I’ve done and the exhilaration I got from them. This way, I’m still relating to the feelings of someone who dances whether or not I understand dancing.

If the vibe is going well and you’ve connected with the other person on some points, you’ll want to progress towards staying in touch.

Stay in touch

You can’t (and shouldn’t) keep talking forever. The person you’re talking to will have something they need to attend to during the day and chances are so do you. Also, it’s often better to create a moment of high-lasting impact building intrigue for the future than to fizzle an interaction out with too much chit chat. You’ll want to end the conversation by getting the person’s contact details to stay in touch.

Before exchanging contact details, it’s often useful to mention how you can both meet again in the future. This can be as simple as stating you know a good bar to grab drinks at or a coffee shop with a cool vibe.

Specifying a future date this way helps solidify the idea that this is an ongoing dating interaction between the two of you. It also sets a precedent that messaging is more about logistics for dates and less about texting chit chat. Less screen time and more dating.

How To Meet People During The Day Stay In Touch


Day encounters occupies a unique niche in the realm of dating. It’s simultaneously the purest way we’ve met people since the dawn of time yet the one that requires the most courage.

But when thinking about how to meet people during the day, day encounters remains one of the most empowering means to do so. Going up and saying hi to a stranger you’re interested in may change your life for the better.

While more populous areas in a town or city are favourable for day encounters, the medium isn’t beholden to any particular location. This is arguably the greatest strength of a day encounter. The love of your life could just as much be in an art gallery as in a shopping mall.

There are some principles you can follow when considering how to meet people during the day. One of the most counterintuitive yet impactful is to be honest with your intentions from the start. It can be nerve-wracking to give a compliment upfront but it’s a high impact way of giving rather than taking value from another.

Coupled with direct intent is the importance of calibration. Having empathy and understanding the context you’re in when interacting with someone else is one of the hallmarks of an attractive person.

No conversation can go well if there’s no vibe or connection. Have standards about what kind of person you want to meet and find ways to relate to those you’re interested in.

Lastly, if you’ve had a good interaction and sense a connection, don’t fall at the last hurdle by not taking the initiative to stay in touch. Mention places you can follow up in person at a future date and exchange contact details.

I personally know many people who’ve met dates, partners and spouses because one of them plucked up the courage to introduce themself to the other. If you want to take control of your dating life and meet different types of attractive people, I hope this post on how to meet people during the day inspires you to take action.

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