Unfortunately, if you attempt to date in a small town, you likely lack diversity due to sheer numbers alone. Most of your dates might also have familiar faces because 1. You went to high school with them, 2. They worked at your local grocery, and 3. They babysat your little brother.
Standard Problems with Dating in a Small Town
Learning how to meet someone in a small town can be challenging, especially for the younger crowd, because they’re just starting and can be more hesitant to put themselves out there. Here are 4 common reasons why meeting someone in a small community is complicated.
Lack of People
A small town is just that–small. So, numbers alone make it harder to meet your match. Additionally, chances are high that the people in your age group you’ve met before at some point, whether in school or have seen around town. They won’t remember you if you’re lucky, especially if they heard bad things.
They All Know You
If you have any type of reputation, bad or good, the entire town knows about it. This reputation also extends to family members. “Isn’t that Carol’s son?”
Typically, that’s not a big deal, especially if you’re well-liked. The issues occur when you’re just beginning to date and have little or no dating experience.
For example, you might get a reputation if a few girls tell everyone you’re insecure, a bad kisser, or clingy. But, unfortunately, there’s no do-over, so you’re stuck.
It can be even worse when it comes to sexual experiences. You might be that guy (or girl) known to get around and unable to commit.
Many People Are Already Taken
By sheer numbers alone, a single guy or girl probably won’t be single for long, so if you miss your chance, you’re out of luck. This is especially true for people between 18-25.
People that live in small towns are typically older folks who:
- Have lived there all their lives
- Recently moved there from the big city to escape all the hustle and noise
The younger men and women that grew up there are ready to move to the big city to experience life after a small town. They want the opportunity to make more money, have better careers, and have better all-around experiences. And yes, they’re looking to deepen their dating pool.
Few Dating Spots
If you score a date, one major issue is where to take them, especially if you’re trying your best to impress. But, of course, you’ve already been to places suitable for dating several times, so there’s nothing new and exciting to experience.
You may decide to have your date come to your place, but after five or six dates, that also gets boring. You can venture to the next town or city, but often, that’s a long trip. If the date is a bust, that will make for one awkward car ride home.
If you have the money, you can go on regular out-of-town dates, but eventually, that becomes expensive. And honestly, not many people want to splurge on a first date–third or fourth, maybe, but not on a first date when you’re just getting to know someone.
These are some issues with small-town dating, but not to worry. There are many creative methods to make social connections in your small town, including hopping online and finding someone special you’d consider making a quick trek to the city.
So, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to find your perfect small-town match, here are a few ideas to help get you started.
1). Start Spreadin’ the News
One good thing about living in a small community is that word travels much faster. So, if you’re looking to find your special person, drop hints to your family, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers that you’re single and open to a relationship. If you’re lucky, your friends can set you up with someone, or they can help spread the word faster.
Since they’re the ones that know you best, your friends can suggest someone with the qualities you’re looking for. Also, if you’re up to long-distance relationships, one of their friends may know someone who lives in a different town or state, and you can meet halfway. Here are a couple tips when spreading the word:
- Use good judgment when discussing your availability. Your options are to tell people directly or be a little more subtle, easing into the topic. For example, in the middle of the conversation, you don’t want to blurt out, “Hello, did I mention I’m single and looking for someone!” Instead, if you’re discussing going to the movies with your partners, subtly remind your friends that you don’t have a date, so you’ll have to pass. They may even have a suggestion for you right then. If not, call it a night and Netflix and Chill with yourself. Don’t worry. They’ll remember the next time.
- Try not to appear desperate. Of course, it’s OK to be excited to meet and possibly date new people, but seeming too eager or desperate is not a good look. Only mention you’re available to the same group once. Move on if they don’t have suggestions after a few days or weeks. If you tell your friends you’re available, you don’t need to remind them every time you see them. “Hey, did you find someone for me yet? How about now?” Give them time. They haven’t forgotten.
2). Join Clubs
New clubs and activities are always popping up, so be on the lookout. You may spot fliers posted around town or just word-of-mouth for upcoming events. If there is a local sports club, consider joining.
Some venues offer cooking classes or book clubs. These suggestions are all excellent ways to meet new people and possibly make a few dating connections. Other activities to join include:
- Arts and craft club
- A community band
- A local clean-up crew
- Pantry volunteer
3). Frequent Local New Stores and Cafes
One issue with being from a small town is that most local spots have been around for years and the same people go to them. However, as the population increases, many new businesses open, including in smaller towns.
Trying a new hot spot is a great way to cross paths with new people. Visit places that aren’t your norm.
For instance, the local library has been on the same corner for years, yet you never bothered because you order your books online. So why not sign up for a library card? If your type is the quiet intellectual, a library is one of the best places to meet.
Never tried the gym? Sign up for that, too. You’ll get in shape while meeting new people. On the flip side, most of these places offer other activities. For example, the gym might provide local dance classes. The library may offer cooking classes or have movie nights.
4). Online Connections
Online connections are an excellent opportunity to check out new people and expand your dating horizons. You can check out sites like Facebook, which showcase area events, which are great places to make new connections.
The best thing about online dating sites is that they are catered to what you’re looking for. For example, being from a small town, you may be interested in a specific type. Good news! There are also dating apps for that, so take your pick!
While different dating apps appeal to various people, no well-known sites cater specifically to small towns. No biggie. You can still find success on a generic online dating site.
Using online resources, you’ll be able to spend time with people with similar interests. You can also search for new activities and events in your town and the closest city or town near you.
Tips for Setting Yourself up on Dating App Profiles
- Mention what you’re studying, your hobbies and interests, what sports you like, and even a funny quote. This helps break the ice.
- Use at least three clear photos, one of which should be a full body. Skip the boring poses, and use images of yourself doing a hobby or sport you enjoy. This allows people to know more about you through your pictures.
- Avoid photoshopping and over-editing. You want your pictures to represent your true self. So, while it’s OK to smooth out your appearance, you don’t want to look like a completely different person.
- Don’t lie. If your match wants to meet, they will find out that you’re not a 5’10” supermodel visiting from Paris.
5). Be on the Lookout for Romance Even When You Travel
You may not find your match in your small town, but don’t lose hope. If you like to travel, mingle while visiting a new town, even if it’s only for a day or two. You never know when you’ll visit again, and having a friend in a different area would be nice.
If you happen to hit it off with someone in the visiting town, it could be the start of a long-distance relationship, so keep your fingers crossed and your options open.
When Visiting a New Town, Here Are Some Tips:
- Start small. Visit the next town over or the closest city. This way, your possible date will live relatively close.
- Keep an open mind to finding someone from a different background. Just because you’ve never dated outside your type doesn’t mean you can’t start. Who knows, they may be your perfect match, and you would never have known unless you took a chance.
6). Say “Hello” to Strangers
Always look for golden opportunities to strike up a conversation. Places like a grocery store line or while waiting in line at the movie theater are perfect opportunities to showcase your friendliness.
You don’t have to conduct a twenty-question interview. Instead, simply introduce yourself and ask how their day’s going. If they’re interested, they’ll continue the conversation. If not, they’ll likely be polite and move on. Either way, no big deal.
When you initiate a conversation, you open yourself up to possible new friends and acquaintances, and that’s an excellent way to network. If, by chance, you hit it off with someone, consider asking them out, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee at the local cafe.
Tip: Starting a conversation with someone you don’t know may initially seem nerve-wracking. Don’t worry! Start with light conversation topics like the weather, then see where it goes.
7). Take Time to Get To Know One Another
Unfortunately, smaller towns don’t offer a variety of date night options. So, instead of looking for activities to do in town, spend quiet time together to get to know more about each other. Sit in the park and talk for a few hours. You can bring a few snacks and just enjoy each other’s company.
Another casual option is to have an afternoon picnic. Pack some of your favorite foods and sit in a beautiful park while getting to know each other. Again, it’s relaxing, and there’s no pressure.
You’ll likely have to travel further if you decide on the traditional movie and dinner date. So, while in the car, use this time to connect. By the time you get to the city, you might even want to skip the movie and dinner and continue talking instead.
8). Make Small Goals for Yourself
Sometimes, we complain about not meeting new people but then don’t take action. To help push yourself to meet new people:
1. Set a basic goal to network with a certain amount of people every week.
2. For instance, set a goal to talk to one new person every other day.
3. Try to stick to this goal, even if it initially seems tough. You may find a meaningful connection from your efforts.
9). Don’t Settle
Just because it may be more challenging to find a connection in a small town doesn’t mean you have to settle on the first thing that comes along. If you have standards, keep them. Just be sure not to have impossibly high standards because you might lose out.
This also goes for when your family and friends set you up. They may have a specific person in mind, but you may not be interested. Don’t be afraid to tell them you’re not interested. However, let them know you appreciate their help but that you can take it from here.
If they insist on trying to set you up again, give them another chance. But apply the three-strike rule. If, after the third time and they get it wrong, consider it a wrap because they obviously have no idea what you’re looking for.
Dating can be difficult, especially in a small town, but options exist. You may need to step outside your comfort zone and date someone you usually wouldn’t consider. But that’s a good thing. So keep that in mind as you continue your search for your perfect match.