I think the previous posters here are kind of misguided. Idk how old the original poster is, and idk how it works in the Christian dating context, but in my age bracket (21-25), meeting in person is becoming less and less common. There’s this perception that it’s odd/rude to interrupt someone’s real life, while they’re out and about, by expressing any sort of romantic intent, and that the proper dating sphere is online.
A group of my male friends the other day were having a heated discussion about whether it’s “creepy” to talk to girls at the gym. Consensus: yes, it is. Because apps like Tinder are sooo prevalent nowadays, and because there’s (rightly) been a lot of political discourse recently re: consent, some people consider it weird to look for people outside of those platforms where all the participants are there specifically seeking non-platonic relationships/encounters.
In addition to that, many people don’t want to date within their real-life social circles, like school or work. For example, when I started law school and everyone was still getting to know each other, I heard several people express that they didn’t want to date within the school since, if anything were to go wrong, they’d have to deal with running into that person on a regular basis. Online dating makes breakups VERY easy, and ghosting even easier. You can’t exactly just stop talking to someone you’re going to see in class, or church, or the gym the very next day, someone with whom you share mutual contacts who would eventually find out what happened. Would it be better to just learn how to end romantic situations with respect and grace? Sure. But since literally everyone is on Tinder/Hinge/OkCupid/etc, there isn’t really a NEED. So many people will just choose the easier, more common route.
Also, going back to the universality of dating apps, there’s a good chance that anyone you meet while out pursuing your hobbies is meeting others online and going through the dating stages with those people at a much quicker pace than could possibly occur when you only see them for an hour once a week or so in a platonic, group context. It can be VERY difficult to escalate these things. School and work would be exceptions (if your fellow students/coworkers are even willing to date within the school/workplace), since you’re spending ample amounts of time together.
Final point: I can rattle off at least a dozen relationships I know of (including my own) that began on a dating app. Every other relationship I know of began in college. I’m not saying don’t put yourself out there and pursue your hobbies, but I think you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice by not also jumping back into online dating. And honestly, despite its reputation, I’d start with Tinder. There are many, MANY people looking for relationships on Tinder and it’s easy to weed out those that aren’t. The app has seriously evolved since its original intended use.