In a world full of Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid success stories, it's easy to forget about all of the wonderful and wacky ways couples meet face-to-face.
The new and already wildly popular Instagram account The Way We Met (it's gained more than 137,000 followers since its inception four weeks ago) is a reminder that while, yes, people are meeting online, it's certainly not the only way they are getting together these days.
Brooklyn Sherman, 27, of Los Angeles, who started the account, has featured 55 couples so far. A few of them met online (Facebook, Tinder, etc.) but most had their first encounters organically in places like Starbucks, a pizzeria, a karaoke competition, a men's restroom, a Swedish House Mafia concert and many, many others.
"I do prefer stories in which couples meet in authentic ways, face-to-face," Sherman, who works at a talent agency by day, told The Huffington Post. "If you notice, the majority of my stories are not couples who have met through online dating. I share stories about couples out in the world doing random things, and the universe brings them together in random ways. I hope this encourages other single people to get out and start experiencing life again instead of behind their computers."
Sherman told HuffPost that she realizes this message about unplugging may be ironic to some, given that she shares these stories on social media. But she says she's just trying to get the message out any way she can.
"Social media is our world, that's just the reality of it, so if I want to change the world, I have to start by changing social media," she said. "I am sick of our generation living a lonely life behind their cell phones and computers and dream of a world where people are out seizing the natural spontaneity of life's adventures again."
At first, Sherman solicited how-we-met stories via a Facebook group called Girls Night Out. Those days are over, as she now receives hundreds of submissions daily, which she sifts through at night after work.
"People email me and tell me that they had given up on love until they started following my account and honestly hearing that, and knowing I'm making a positive difference in people's lives is all I need to hear for all of this to be worth it."
Check out a selection of great stories from real couples below. Head over to The Way We Met for more meet-cutes.
"I was already a working actress and Alex was in his final semester at college studying film. The producer of Alex's thesis film had graduated from my acting school and contacted the school asking if there were any actresses they would recommend for the lead. They contacted me, but being the hot shot prick that I was, I was convinced I was too big time for "student films." I contacted my agent to ask his advice and he said "Sure! You never know where these things can lead." So Lo and behold, I was cast. During the costume fitting, Alex walked up close to my face to see if I needed false eyelashes for the film. At that moment, I knew immediately that I was in love and we were destined to be together. It was most definitely the stuff of schmaltzy love songs and sappy movies. There were fireworks and I suddenly felt really self-conscious about the outfit I had on. The best part, however, is that while shooting, we discovered that we were born at the same exact time. Same day, same month, same year, and we're pretty sure same time (8:30a in TX for him and 9:36a in VA for me, with the one hour time difference). His mother has yet to confirm the exact time, so after 8 years together, we still don't know who's technically older."
"Back in 2009, I was an NBA fanatic; I had the NBA logo on my car and everything. The All Star game came to my state that year and I saw an ad for the opportunity to volunteer. I called my best friend and said, "We have to sign up! We'll be two of the only girls there. I'm going to find my husband." Well, long story short, I did. I married my husband, fellow volunteer and also basketball fanatic, on 03.08.14. It's our own little story of love and basketball."
"My husband and I met in the most romantic way possible; in a men's restroom. We both had volunteered to clean our local church building. As I was changing the trash can liner in the bathroom, he walked in to mop the floors. I knew it in that moment, I had just met my future husband. 13 months later, we were married. A year after that, we welcomed our little boy into the world, who is now 3 months old."
"A couple of years ago I needed some new running shoes, so I went to a sports store close to where I live. There was this guy with green eyes who worked there and asked me if I needed help. With butterflies in my stomach, I told him I was a personal trainer and needed new running shoes. We started talking and eventually he sold me a pair and I left the store. A few days later, I started seeing him at the gym where I worked and we ended up working out together (couples who train together stay together.) Today we are married with a beautiful daughter. It's my own Cinderella story, but instead of a glass slipper, my prince gave me a pair of Nikes."
"I met my boyfriend in 2009 while I was working as a part-time cashier at Walmart. One night before leaving, I offered to cover another cashier's check out lane during her fifteen minute break. I suppose the world was on my side in that moment because Calvin just happened to be one of my customers. Six years, two dogs, a house, and a million memories later, I've never been more thankful for my decision to "check out" Calvin that evening in Lane 29."
"I was 27 and and fed up with the dating scene. I declared to my girlfriends that "if a guy can't just come up to me and ask me out, then he doesn't get to go out with me." Then on a summer evening soon after, I was playing Ultimate frisbee in a recreational league when this confident beautiful man walked up to me and said, "are you dating anyone?" When i replied no he said, "well then you should date me." We've been together for 15 years now and have two kids. Sometimes people just need to ask, because the answer might be yes."
"My ex-boyfriend dumped me out of the blue in 2008. I was heartbroken. My friend invited me to his soccer game to try and help me get my mind off of it. I was one of the few people sitting in the stands, and it was cold, so all I wanted to do was go back to my dorm room. Then Mark caught my eyes. He was sitting in the bleachers a few rows ahead of me cheering on a friend. We hit it off immediately. He ended up proposing to me in that exact spot in 2012. Oh, and the best part? My grandfather who passed away always told me to look for pennies with my birth year on them for good luck, it was our little thing together. I never found one until the night I was getting ready for my first date with Mark."
"We met at a sea cadet camp thousands of miles away from our respective home towns. We were 14/15 years old at the time and fell in love as much as any two kids can at that age. After leaving camp, we stayed in touch. Long phone calls, hand written letters, and chat messaging kept us close for years until he decided to join the army. From that point on, the contact was sporadic and inconsistent, but he would randomly show up and surprise me at home or at work when he was in the area. He would always come with a rose in hand and a goofy grin on his face. Eventually, I was in a relationship with someone else, became pregnant, and had a daughter. The relationship didn't last, and I was a single mom the next time he showed up to visit. He made it perfectly clear that for the first time in 10 years while we were both single, we had to give our relationship a shot. He traveled 8 hours each way every weekend for months to spend time with me and get to know my daughter. She fell for him instantly. By our 6 month anniversary he had proposed, and I was pregnant with our first child together. That was 6 years ago now. Today, we are the parents of three beautiful girls, and every now and then, he still shows up at home with a rose in hand and that same goofy grin."
"I never imagined that serving coffee was how I’d find true love. We were both working at different Starbucks when I first met him. I was grabbing coffee with friends at his store and introduced myself. Sparks were definitely flying but the relationship didn't unfold until a couple months later when I was transferred to work at his Starbucks location. Coffee is the way to many people's hearts, and I definitely took a double shot."