How to Find Love in Portland, Without an App

It might seem like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are the only ways to find a date in these modern times, but believe it or not, there are still other paths to discover love in our city.

Here are a few strategies that our research — and our readers — suggest are worth a try.

1. Ask out a colleague, tactfully. Workplace romance is still the second-most common way people find love — but if done wrong, it can make for an awkward office environment, or get you fired.

Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming” is a solid primer on how to navigate a relationship at work. But if you have trouble relating to Barack and Michelle, here’s a success story from one of our readers:

“My husband and I met at Good Samaritan hospital. I was working as an occupational therapist, and he was a surgery intern. I went to evaluate an elderly woman he’d operated on to see if she could take care of herself at home. I walked into the room and said, “Mrs. Smith, I hear you live alone.” She replied: “Yes, unless you know any young, single men who would like to live with me.” My future husband then entered the room and said, “Mrs. Smith, I’m single.” She very quickly replied, “Ah honey, you put your name on a list.” He and I talked for a while afterward and went to a Zoo concert the next week. We’ve now been married 13 years.” —Emily Moore

2. Lean on your friends. Nearly 40 percent of couples meet each other through mutual friends, so the math is pretty simple: To up your odds, you need to make more friends, and you need to show those friends that you’re relationship material.

We can’t help with the second part, but if it’s more friends you need, rec sports leagues, Pedalpalooza meetups, Thorns and Timbers matches are great places to start. 

3. Try speed dating. Speed dating is kinda like an in-person dating app, though it can be more expensive and less efficient (“We have to talk for how long before I move on?”).

But if you prefer to face-to-face interactions to digital courtship, there are a few speed dating options in Portland worth checking out.

SpeedPortland Dating hosts regular events with a “cheeky-chic” vibe, and there are also one-off events and others you can find on this up-to-date speed dating Eventbrite list. (How about blind date matchmaking!)

4. Work with a pro matchmaker. Matchmaking services have produced their fair share of horror stories (and consumer complaints) in Portland, but it’s not totally a dead-end.

Lasting Connections has a solid reputation for pairing off  “elite business professionals” in Portland, and the local company FernDate (which we recently featured) offers matchmaking as an add-on to its dating-profile services.  

5. Be open to finding love anywhere in Portland. You can’t necessarily plan for serendipity, but you can be ready when it comes.

Here are a couple love stories from readers who did just that:

“After two years recovering from a car accident, I was finally back on a bike. Not just any bike, but a brand-new, glittery, pink, commemorative dream-bike. Imagine my surprise when on its third ride, I was stranded on the corner of Williams and Weidler on a blazing-hot August evening with a mysteriously broken dream-bike. My frustration was interrupted by a deep voice asking if I could use a hand. He graciously fixed my bike. I offered to buy him a beer. He moved in six months later, and we’re getting married this August.” —Lindsay Benedict

“On our third date, the snowpocalypse hit and I was stranded at her place. We went to get coffee, but on the way, we decided to grab her neighbors’ cat ornament off their doorstep and take pictures of it around the city. It was the weirdest and best date I have ever been on. We’ve been inseparable ever since. And in case you’re wondering, Petunia (the porcelain cat) was returned home with a scrapbook of her Portland adventures.” —Devin Hutchings