How is it that big cities, full of so many different people, always end up making us feel lonely? In the busy, bustling streets, where the crowds rush about their day, how does solitude manage to seep so deeply into our bones? Big city life means we are always surrounded, always in contact with other human beings. Yet none of this contact is meaningful. In a world so vast and varied, a deep connection seems to be a thing of the fairy tales that our parents read to us when we were little. To a single person, finding a partner can seem next to impossible.
So what do we do, if we’re set on finding our soulmate or at least a good date? Well, as it turns out, to date in a big city, first you have to understand its dynamic. If you want some insight into how these cities work, here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Try online dating, but be cautious
Yes, online dating can be absolutely terrible and entirely too exhausting to be worth the effort. If you go about it the right way, you might actually meet a lot of cool people. There is an overwhelming number of choices because everyone has a profile on a dating site these days, which can actually be a bad thing. Since there are so many people, you’ll tend to glance at profiles very briefly and be very judgemental. This guy likes the book I hate, so he’s a definite pass. That gal listens to terrible music, so I’m not going to bother. Minor things become deal breakers because of the sheer amount of people, and you will be less likely to give someone a chance. Women especially can get exhausted after the twentieth message that day with random dudes inviting them to meet up for sex on the first date.
Most people will be very different in real life than they are online, but you need to keep an open mind. Don’t focus solely on how someone looks in their profile picture. Talk to people about your interests. Unless you’re looking for very casual hook-ups, just ignore people who offer you sex in the first ten minutes of the conversation. And remember to actually fill out your profile with interesting info about yourself, so people would want to talk to you. Nothing is more boring than an empty profile.
2. Talk to new people
It’s funny how technology has made it easy for us to stay in touch, and yet it has also made it very hard to have normal face-to-face interactions. It’s very easy to talk to strangers online, but talking to actual, tangible human beings that aren’t hidden behind their computer screens? We forgot how to do that. But if you want to make an actual connection, then you should practice talking to people. It doesn’t even need to be flirting, you can approach people and just chat about something casually. So what if they brush you off? You’re in a big city, you will probably never see them again.
Of course, don’t be rude, and don’t push someone to talk to you if they don’t show a clear interest in doing so. There’s a handy little rule that you can follow that will be of great help. It’s called the Two Question Rule. Every time you approach someone, you get to ask them two questions. And please don’t make those questions something as mundane as “What’s the time?” If the answers to both of the questions are short, clipped, or even annoyed, this person probably has some worries on their mind and doesn’t feel like talking. The best thing to do is approach people based on mutual interests. For example, if you’re in a bookstore, you can chat someone up about book recommendations. It may be hard at first, but it gets a lot easier with practice.
3. Think of subjects to talk about on the first date
First dates can be some of the most awkward moments on the planet, but you can prepare for them. For a first date, you should always pick a public location – never go to their home, and make sure to let your friends know where you will be. Just in case, you never know. Think about the topics you enjoy talking about. Books, movies, and TV shows are always safe and somewhat universal but don’t be afraid to branch out. If there is something that matters to you, or that you find very interesting, bring it up. You may want to stay away from politics, but you don’t have to skip talking about meaningful things.
Since people like talking about themselves, it’s not a bad idea to think of a few questions you might want to ask your date. Let them talk and listen carefully, and respond to what they tell you. People enjoy getting feedback, so don’t be afraid to comment on the things they tell you.
4. Don’t be afraid to try new things
Be open to experiencing new things. Whether you let someone take you to a restaurant with the food you never tried, or agree to watch a movie that you normally wouldn’t be interested in, give things a shot. You should never fake interest or enjoyment if you feel none, but allow yourself to be curious and open-minded. This goes for sex as well. Big cities are a lot more sexually permissive than small towns, so this is your chance to explore what turns you on. However, you should always, always use protection and make sure that you have your partner’s full consent. Don’t leave the house without a condom and if something makes you uncomfortable, remember it’s your full right to stop and leave at any time. You owe nothing to anyone.
5. You will need to talk about exclusivity
In big cities, being exclusive is actually not the default state of the relationship. Even if you’ve been out on more than a couple of dates, a lot of people won’t assume that what you’re doing is a relationship. It’s imperative that you communicate and make your desires known. If you only want a hook-up, that’s absolutely great. But you need to say that to the person you’re dating. The same thing goes if you want things to get more serious.
Dating is generally a complicated mess. But it becomes even more confusing in big cities, simply because there are so many different people there. Nothing is really assumed or expected, so the best thing you can do is be open. If you want something, ask for it. Don’t play childish games, simply be calm and honest. Stick to this simple rule and you will find better dates. You’ll have an easier time with people and enjoy big city life more.