As a born and raised Vancouverite now living in New York, I’ve experienced the best of both worlds – the beautiful, calm and casual city of Vancouver, to the transient, fast-paced rush of the Big Apple. I often hear people complain about Vancouver’s culture – how difficult it is to meet someone, how cliquey and stand-offish people can be, and how grim the dating pool is. I’m not going to deny the truth in some of these complaints, but I’m not going to dwell on them either. Instead, as a proud Vancouverite I’d like to share some tips on how Vancouver can adapt a New York State of mind when it comes to dating.
1. See strangers as humans, not prospects.
In a transient city like New York where your network is your greatest asset, there is an openness, eagerness and even a necessity to meet new people. In Vancouver, you don’t need to network for survival, and it’s easy to stay comfortable in the group of friends you’ve grown up with. When someone new approaches, they are sized up as a prospect, and we react defensively with a mentality of “What does this person want from me?” We need to be more open to meeting strangers, and not assume they any person who speaks to you has a creepy intention. Stop seeing people as potential threats or suitors – interact with them, human to human. You’ll be surprised at some of the great people you will meet along the way.
2. Be a connector
Studies have shown that a commonality that successful people share is their ability and desire to connect others. Surviving in New York is competitive, which automatically filters out a lot of people from being able to live here. You end up with a large population of successful, ambitious, go-getting individuals who all participate in a culture of connecting others and sharing and expanding their networks. There is also no time to just talk the talk, when a New Yorker says they are going to provide an intro, expect a follow up within 24 hours. It’s impressive. Vancouverites can learn from this mentality. Be generous with your networks, connect people, and find out what people need help with and whom they want to meet. Then make a sincere effort to make an introduction. You end up growing your own community and contribute to the overall collective.
3. Bring people together
Instead of complaining that there is nothing to do or that there are no fun events to attend, create your own. Gather people for dinners, salons, and activities instead of only being the passive receiver of invites. Be proactive in creating an environment that is conducive for like-minded individuals to get together. Also, if you want to meet new types of people, then stop going to the same places you frequent every weekend.
4. Stop being lazy
It is so easy to avoid events and scenarios where you’ll have to engage in small talk. And since small talk is awkward, avoiding it at all costs beats any reward. But this is pure laziness. Learning how to navigate small talk and turn that initial conversation into an opportunity to build rapport is a skill – it’s a muscle you need to work on to build. “I hate small talk” is just a cop out because you’re too lazy to try.
5. Change your attitude
As cliché as this may sound, it all boils down to attitude and your willingness to be open. Be open to saying hi to strangers, learn the questions that spark conversation and connection, say yes when you’re invited… be open to people, to places, to adventures. This energy of being open-minded is contagious and it starts with you. If we can all adjust our mentality to get out of our comfort zone, and start being more welcoming and inviting to the possibility of new people and experiences, we will change the stereotypes of Vancouverites. Our city will grow up and really represent the metropolitan city that it has evolved to be.
Photo by www.canahtham.com