For many, making the move to a big city may seem like the yellow brick road to finding dating success and happiness — more people means more options, more exciting places to go, and more viable potential dates. Or does it? You may have realized, however, that connecting with people and building a network is harder than you anticipated with so many choices. The local bar scene may be filled with bar flys, or spending hours screening online profiles and crafting messages seems to lead to radio silence. Your phone may not be pinging with new friends as quickly as you assumed.
It's time to combat your nerves about meeting new people by adopting the following suggestions to your lifestyle in the city:
- Expect that it will take about a year and half to find quality friends. Unlike college, you now need to find a work life balance with people who are very different in life. It takes time to fully immerse yourself in a big city, so it may take a while before you have a complete social life that you have a group of people to rely on.
- Surround yourself with people who share similar interests. Utilize the free service Meetup.com to be introduced to people with the same priorities and age group as you. There are a countless number of events organized through Meetup that will appeal to your wants and needs. Spend your free time indulging in hobbies and activities that make you happy and "your natural personality will shine, you'll have fun, and people are drawn to that," said Megan Bearce, licensed therapist, speaker, and author who specializes in working with super commuter couples.
- Go out with coworkers after work. In order to get to know your colleagues on a deeper level, it's important to interact with them in a non-work environment. On a romantic basis, becoming friends with the people you work with can open many doors for you. Bearce said grabbing lunch or a drink after work allows you to ask your coworkers about fun features of the city and if they have any single friends.
- Attend networking events. Speed networking, luncheons, and other types of interactive venues with a mass amount of people will help you grow both professionally and personally. Since networking events have become much more social in recent years, you can expect to meet new friends rather than just colleagues in your specific industry. Going to these events introduces you to more people in a few hours than you'd meet in a few months on your own.
- Use the Internet as a tool to connect with people. Contact alumni of your college or sorority or fraternity who live in the area via Facebook or Linkedin to catch up and use them as a resource. Since they have been in the area for a longer period of time, they will be able to direct you and give you advice about what places will cater to your interests and tell you about groups you join or attend.
- On the dating front: establish what you're looking for in a partner and realize that rejection is part of the process. Living in a bigger city than you're used to will expose you to a larger pool of people — however, this also means that rejection, where you have to have a thick skin. People are looking for different things at different times and it's clear in today's dating world and many hold off on having serious relationships until a later age. As today's dating scene continues to gain depth with the popularity of online dating, dating apps, and other services, it's important to determine what you are looking for you in terms of compatibility, lifestyle, appearance, and personality. If someone wants a friends with benefits situation and you don't, make your boundaries clear. "If you know the deal breakers, you can rule out people quickly and if you see or hear qualities that are important to you, you can explore that relationship further," Bearce said.
Moving to a big city can give you the chance to create a new, better image for yourself. You need to tailor that new image and lifestyle in a way is attractive to all friends — and hopefully potential suitors — you'll be meeting.
The key to conquering life in a big city is building a reliable network of people — which may mean you have to try things that you wouldn't normally and be okay with going solo if necessary. As long as you understand that it takes time to form quality relationships, the big city will become like home once you've really connected with a smaller pool of people.
More dating advice on YourTango: