Today’s dating world is a different beast to only ten or fifteen years ago. The transformation is irrevocable yet is it an improvement? Dating sites, apps, transactional engagements, ratings, favourites, likes, electronic presents – all designed to negate the need for actually talking to someone.

Not so long ago, those looking to date went out. They didn’t sit at home, watching box sets of over-produced television series, idly fiddling away on a second screen. If you wanted a date, you had to talk to someone. Or they had to talk to you.

You would go to a bar or a nightclub. Or both if you really wanted the full dose of Dutch courage. There would be the normal awkwardness of stolen glances and hastily sipped drinks. Furtive peeks at those desired and maybe, just maybe, they might approach. Or you might approach them. No science, often a numbers game, but it was the simple way people met.

There were formal methods, dances, events, even structured matchmaking weekends in place, but you still had to talk to someone. And the truth was, you knew if you were attracted to them before they spoke. You knew that they were good looking, interesting, a combination of the both – you knew that this person might be worth chatting to. And there wasn’t a snowball’s chance that you could tell why, you might call it chemistry, you might call it that spark, you might call it karma – whatever it was, you knew that there was an attraction.

Fast forward to today. There are bars, they still serve alcohol, there are nightclubs, they lower the lighting and provide the chance to gyrate in varying degrees of accomplishment. So it should be the same, right?

No. And it’s simply boiled down to fear by sticking to three inches rather than gambling for the whole package.

Sounds a bit smutty? Well, it’s not that smutty, it’s just that people are glued, tattooed, welded (call it what you will) to their mobile phones. That three inch screen (why, what were you thinking?) has transfixed swathes of the population and it’s extraordinary how often you can be out and see a group of people at a table, supposedly having a social time and the majority will either have their mobile phones in their hands or within finger stretch.

Dating apps might market their services as the way to meet that exciting person hitherto unavailable but they are also a tremendous way to avoid the chance of meeting people face to face.

Can we not function without them? A whole different discussion, but using that device as a further remove between you and getting a date might fill you with reassurance and the chance to swipe left randomly but, in reality, it’s diluting the opportunity to actually see humans and interact with them.

This is a hackneyed topic but take any bar on a Saturday night. People will have made best effort to look good and some will be hoping, often quietly, to meet someone. It’s amazing how many will be tapping, swiping, checking Facebook, taking selfies, sending texts – all the day-to-day functions of their phones. The truth is you will have scoped the bar if you are looking for someone. They will have identified the one, maybe two for whom they feel attraction, and they will be sitting there, actually hiding behind their phones.

No different before phones. The fear was the same, diluted often by booze but still there. Will he speak to her? Will she attract him? All questions raging. Friends would rate the potential partners in the room as ruthlessly as any Tinder swipe. No change there.

But the major difference was that you could see them. You could see how they moved. You could see how they behaved. Much more than a few photos, a couple of sweated over descriptions, even an invented wish list – it’s so much easier to scope targets when they are there in the flesh.

Seeing a proportion of any room’s heads bowed in concentration over their phones is more of a turn off than anything else. Seeing friends ignoring friends to play on their phones is not attractive. People seek dates because they want to be with people.

Dating apps might market their services as the way to meet that exciting person hitherto unavailable but they are also a tremendous way to avoid the chance of meeting people face to face. Don’t forget, people aren’t prepared to meet people face to face because of fear. If you are stymied in fear, will you be able to meet someone and attract the right soul, anyway?

So, put the phone away, talk to people. Simple, right?

If you want some finer tips, then here’s something for the men – be men. Go up and talk to them.

If you want a finer tip as a woman, try winking at your target – if he doesn’t come running, do you want a scaredy cat anyway?