In the Liverpool dating ‘community’ for those fed up with apps
Would you like to meet 150-200 new people every two weeks at social events specifically for singles?
Or would you rather meet new faces at smaller, more intimate events, such as group tours, supper clubs, drink and paint nights, cinema or yoga? Introducing Bored of Dating Apps – or BODA as it’s affectionately known to regulars.
It’s all about traditional one-on-one dating in a relaxed social gathering format. There’s no pressure to talk and chat, but that’s exactly what everyone does. Guests come in groups of singles, but many come on their own, and in the last 12 months. Attracted to something new happening in Liverpool, he rejects the dating app culture.
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The community cultivated by BODA was inspired by Jess Evans, the founder. He created his dating night in part in response to people abandoning dating apps and mindlessly swiping to get back to basics and be in a room with like-minded people. Live music or DJs, drinks and a supportive, interested and caring environment await guests at BODA. Romance and friendships blossomed from events in Liverpool and Manchester.
To celebrate BODA’s first birthday, Jess is hosting a 90s themed party on Saturday 4th March at the LEAF on Bold Street. Jess says: “Taking care of our mental health while dating is at the heart of BODA, and one of the highlights for me personally was the candid conversations we had with attendees about loneliness, dating app burnout and the struggles of modern dating.
“It’s very emotional – happy emotions – because of the number of people who come to our company alone. About 95% of our participants rock up alone. They said that any nervousness they felt before about walking on their own was outweighed by the benefits to their mental health .
“People are taking leaps of faith out of their comfort zones because the stakes are too high and they keep coming back, which is great to see. A guest recently told me: ‘I got a few numbers from the BODA community but it was more the encouragement that there are so many brilliant single is out there, which was the biggest takeaway. Regardless of whether these dates turn out to be anything, I’m coming away feeling better.”
It certainly feels like people are longing to get back to a simpler and healthier way of dating. There’s a nostalgia for pre-dating life before apps and social media. Imagine being able to rewind to before apps were everywhere?
Dating apps have made dating easier than ever, but they’ve made connecting even harder. That tangible feeling of meeting someone and there being an actual spark. Experienced through a screen is more difficult, if not impossible. Most people want an instant connection, not another throwaway date and days spent glued to their phone endlessly swiping.
BODA’s culture is also partly derived from the post-pandemic reaction to two years of limited social contact. What Jess lovingly created is about making people feel good in a room full of mostly strangers.
Jess adds: “We’re getting busier and busier with every BODA company because people are taking their mental health more seriously than ever before. We’re not sure these types of offline dating gatherings would have worked as well just five years ago, but since the pandemic and more than 10 years of swipe dating apps, people have gotten bolder in their dating habits.”
He adds: “It’s fantastic to reach our first birthday. I’m especially excited because you’ve connected with so many people through BODA – both in friendships and romantic relationships. Seeing all this and making friends with many regulars is a wonderful feeling, because we know that we not only offer something different, but also something that is constantly needed. I’m incredibly proud of not only BODA itself, but the community it’s created, and I hope we continue and have more new guests, especially for our first birthday and beyond.”
Jess asked some BODA patrons about their experiences over the past 12 months. Here’s what they said:
Chloe Turtle: “My boyfriend and I met at BODA back in April and it was the perfect opportunity to meet up. We are about to celebrate one year together. I also met my new absolute bestie girl friend that night and we are literally the same person! My long lost twin!”
Alastair Burrows: “BODA events are full of amazing people who accept everyone for who they are, because that’s what BODA is all about. I met many people and made new friends. You can see that they have made such a huge difference in the lives of so many people, including me.”
Jade Cunningham: “BODA is not just about finding a partner. It’s about meeting single people to hang out with when your friend group is full of couples. If anyone has experienced that suddenly not much is going on, BODA has made a huge difference in my life. I’m much happier and more confident.”
I couldn’t help but ask Jess some of the more pressing questions.
How many people are usually at an event?
Jess: “Our bi-weekly social events have an average of 150-200 singles. However, our smaller events like our tours, dinner clubs, drink and paint nights, cinema and yoga nights feel more intimate. About 80 people.”
How do you ensure that there are enough people of different genders, ages and sexualities?
Jess: “We do our best to be as diverse as possible in terms of genders, sexualities and ages, as we want everyone to feel super safe, comfortable and in good company. One way we do this is by limiting ticket sales to different points – we never want a room full of women or men, we want a healthy mix regardless of what sexuality people are.
“As BODA grows, we hope to organize more special events such as the ‘Over 50s.’ Currently, societies are welcoming gatherings for those who have the same heart to rebel against many fickle and fickle. flighty behavior and agenda that the modern dating climate and apps have promoted and supported over the past few years.
“Apps are set up and designed so that consumers stay on them. Don’t delete them. They’re very good at doing this and tricking singles into thinking there’s always something better around the corner, but that’s not always the case. In real life. We want push back on a lot of the useless ideologies that have crept into modern dating in recent years, and if you’re feeling mentally drained and drained by it all, you probably really do get the BODA.”
Are you planning to go national like Bongo’s Bingo for singles?
Jess: “We’ve been in Manchester for about six months now and our London show is in April at The Big Penny Social which is really exciting. We’re hitting Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle for the summer.”
I’ve heard a lot of people who like the social side of things. Do you have regulars?
Jess: “We have a lot of regulars. The community aspect is what separates us from other date nights. We don’t see BODA as just a date night or a novelty night that you go to once in a blue moon, but more of a community, it’s a lifestyle.
“People have met their partners on the social site and said they are disappointed they can’t go back now because they feel they are missing out on a great time that puts people who care about each other first. In the hall. The focus is on making the socials fun and a boss night, rather than feeling like a meat market. At BODA, we support slow dating, so creating a community was important to us because it means people can actually build relationships with people by getting to know them on a deeper level in some societies.
“It’s not the fast and furious way of dating we’ve gotten used to over the past few years with apps, but an intentional place for people who share a common heart to want to date differently. Healthier. Slower. Kinder.”
Are there rules about people coming back if they hear they’ve mistreated someone?
Jess: “We have some boundaries for the night to maintain the integrity of BODA parties. You have to be single. We ask people not to tempt people afterwards. We’re trying to change modern dating culture and give more grace so the social side of our events is important, because community creates accountability.
“Accountability makes room for less shitty behavior. It makes it harder for people to act the way they do on apps or other dating sites because you have a community that supports each other and they support each other. If you don’t treat someone fairly, chances are there won’t be any secrets.While in an app there are usually no mutual people between you and the other person.
“We also encourage people to ‘respect the rejection’. So if someone isn’t interested in the evening, respect that. Simple boundaries, but we find it works, and the result is that we usually attract fantastic people who care about others.”
“Without those boundaries, we’re just an offline Tinder. Otherwise, we’d just be passing a lot of the same stuff in person. We didn’t want to do that. We really wanted to help change modern dating culture. Make it a much more loving, daring, healthy, and fun place.”
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