Sunday, December 13, 2015

Finding Love in a Big City

No matter where you live, you'll always be faced with a unique set of obstacles when it comes to finding love. If you're from a small town, the complaint is that there aren't enough people to choose from. When it comes to living in a big city, the problem is the exact opposite. In a city like Toronto, there are so many places to meet people that the hunt to find 'the one' becomes less fun and more frustrating than it should be. Apps, such as Tinder and Bumble, provide us with endless dating options. Between social media and a city that is full of young singles looking to mingle, finding a respectable partner should be an easy task, right? The problem with having all these people to choose from is that nobody knows where to start and how to narrow them down. Could there be such thing as too many options? My answer is yes.

I was fortunate to find my boyfriend on a normal girls night out, just outside of the club we went to. Unfortunately, this is less common than it should be. In theory it makes sense to go out to a club and explore dating options. In reality, you are putting yourself into a dark, loud, crowded room full of drunk people. A few months ago I read Aziz Ansari's book, Modern Romance, and he pointed out something that should really be an obvious factor when it comes to meeting people at clubs. He was looking for someone to date, but the kind of person he wanted to date was not someone who was still out at 3 am partying. The point is, if you have an idea of the kind of person you want to date, you need to put yourself into settings where you might find them. I would barely call myself an expert when it comes to finding love, but I would consider myself someone who is comfortable dating and meeting people in a big city. I came to Toronto around six years ago, and since then have made a huge group of friends, gone on several successful dates, and have found an amazing boyfriend. Suffice to say, I know what to look for when it comes to finding a good person, and more importantly where to look.

This post is more of an introduction to the romance section of my blog, rather than a "how-to" list. Having said that, I've compiled a few tips on how to not only find love, but meet people in general while living in a big city. 

1. Ditch the Clubs

I'm not saying great guys don't go to clubs, but I can only recall a couple nights where I met someone I actually liked and proceeded to date after leaving one. Considering I go out at least once or twice a week, that really isn't a very good ratio now, is it? Think about the kind of person you want to meet. Do you picture them drunk at 3 a.m. outside of a club? I doubt it. Go to places you would enjoy, only this time keep your eyes open for other people who are also flying solo. If you like art, roam around the AGO or art college, such as OCAD. Galleries often have parties earlier in the evening too, like Friday nights at the ROM or First Thursday's at the AGO. If you like to read, hang out at a bookstore for a couple hours. When we were at Indigo a few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I noticed that there were a ton of young, attractive people there. For an activity, rather than just casually browsing around a store, try volunteering or signing up for a course. When I took classes at George Brown I met a lot of interesting people. The classes were small and very interactive - the perfect setting for getting to know someone. Whatever your hobbies may be, pick a place suited to them. Not sure what to do once you get there? That leads to my next point.

2. Put Yourself Out There

No matter how confident you are, approaching a stranger can still be intimidating. I remember a few years ago, a male friend of mine gave me a pointer on this matter: to embrace the reality of rejection. You don't like every person who comes up to you, so it doesn't make sense that every person you approach is going to fall at your feet. Say you introduce yourself to ten people over the course of a day, or even a week. Chances are, at least a couple of those people will respond positively to you. What you have to do is keep in mind that a lot of the people you approach will be flattered and will genuinely be pleased to meet you. I've always been a fan of that quote by Dr. Seuss that states "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Remember this the next time you spot someone who you'd like to get to know. Having the guts to strike up a conversation with a stranger doesn't come naturally to everyone. Like all things, if you practice it weekly and give it a little bit of time, I promise it will get easier.

3. Venture Outside the First Degree

We all have our core group of friends - the people we text, call, go out with on weekends, colleagues from work and friends from school. What's important to keep in mind is that all of those friends you picture have even more friends, many of whom you've never met. Even though I may not have a never ending list of eligible friends, I do know a fair amount of single boys and girls I could technically set up with each other. Do your friends have boyfriends? Ask to go out with them and their boyfriend's friends. My boyfriend and I go to parties with his friends all the time and I've met so many new people in the time we've been together. I've been on the other side of this too, where I've met guys through my boyfriends of my friends. Chances are, if your friend has a great boyfriend, that boyfriend knows a few great people he could introduce you to.

4. "Spend more time with people, and less time in front of a screen"

This tip I got from Aziz's book, where he states that online dating should be used merely as a platform for meeting people, and not something to waste hours on. If you focus all your time on accumulating dozens of Tinder matches, what do you have to show for it? Instead, spend that time actually getting to know a few of those people you met in cyber land - in person. Even if you don't hit it off with every person you meet, you're still getting practice dating. The more you date, the more you'll be aware of what you really want in a match. The more you know what you want, the easier it becomes to narrow down those endless options that swarm cyberspace. Bouncing around messages online for days can drag on for too long. When it gets to be too long, the chances of actually meeting that person you're messaging with grow more and more slim. Everyone has time for a quick coffee a few times a week, and it won't tear a hole in your pockets either.

5. Live Your Life

OK, I know that's what you've been doing already, but I mean really live your life. Do those things that you always wanted to do, but don't make time for. Become happy living life by yourself. Don't look for a man to complete your life. Years back, I remember all I wanted was a boyfriend and would get upset that I wasn't finding that dream guy who would tie together all the loose ends of my life. When I met my boyfriend I was in a place where I didn't even want a relationship - I was rocking the single life and was perfectly fine being on my own. When you are confident and happy with your life, it shows. If you are walking around thirsty and desperate, it's obvious. When I say live your life, I mean do your thing and don't worry about getting anyone's attention. Being truly happy with yourself will radiate good energy. Whatever energy you exude is the kind you are going to attract back. Don't live life as the desperate best friend from the movies. Live life as the leading lady you would want to meet if you were a guy looking for a girlfriend.

Things come when you aren't looking, so if all of my tips above don't seem to help, stop focusing on 'the hunt' and start focusing on yourself.

With love,

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