“The ultimate goal is to meet somebody in the real world,” Spira says.
“Otherwise, you end up with a digital pen pal.” Spira, who attends Stir events, says group settings create a great opportunity for people to meet their online crushes in a casual way. You can say, ‘By the way, I noticed your profile on or Plenty of Fish.' It's a really great ice breaker,” she says.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review Jean O'Leary of North Hills, and Ed Staiger of North Side dance the night away at the Saturday Night Singles event at the West View VFW on Saturday, February 23, 2013.
“You're not going back and forth forever,” she says.
Tim Kakascik, 65, of Steubenville, Ohio, says the group setting mingled with the dancing makes meeting new people easy.
Stir events can include everything from happy hours with more than 100 people to smaller happenings like wine-tastings or rock-climbing outings that accommodate no more than 50.
members can bring nonmember friends to the events with them, Gebhardt says.
The dances have led to at least 50 couples getting engaged or married, Ferrari says.
Some have used online-dating sites and still do, but she says most prefer the casual group setting the event provides. “In person, they can make a connection, but it doesn't hurt to start online.” Sandy Bizon, 52, of West Deer has tried online sites, but prefers meeting people in person at the dances.“It adds another element of user engagement and interaction,” she says.“It adds something very valuable to their social lives.” Some Pittsburgh-area offline group events have been gaining popularity.“Some are widows or widowers, divorced or people who are just single and want to get out with their peers,” Ferrari says.The dances draw people from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, who enjoy a variety of music ranging from Top 40 to line-dancing.Sites are organizing group outings that let users get to know each other in casual settings and alleviate the pressure that can accompany one-on-one first dates.