“MICHAEL..IT’S EASY FOR YOU TO DATE…YOU LIVE NEAR ONE OF THE BIGGEST CITIES IN THE WORLD….WHAT ABOUT ME OUT HERE IN PODUNK, insert state name?”
When I first speak to potential coaching clients, one of the objections that often gets thrown my way is how can I make my program work for guys who don’t live in or near big cities, and have limited opportunities to meet people.
It’s true….living near a big city is the shit!
You get access to more people, there’s an endless variety of venues and activities, and in the unfortunate case where a date goes south, you likely won’t ever have to see that person again.
Cities are awesome…. But so are suburban and rural areas. You need to learn what the advantages are and leverage them.
Did you know that before I came to New York, I lived in rural Connecticut, in what was termed a dating “dead zone?”
When I transferred there for my new job, I immediately wanted to quit…not because the job sucked, but because I did not think I was going to have any kind of social life whatsoever.
All I saw around me were boomers, married couples, and children. Great people to hang out with, but not exactly the best romantic prospects for me (no offense to any boomers).
Single women in my preferred age range were nowhere to be found…..or so it seemed.
On the surface…it didn’t look like I was going to go on a lot of dates.
But soon after, I decided to stop the defeatist thinking and figure out a way to make dating work.
I was able to come up with a strategy that actually got me more dates than at any other place I’ve lived in.
(And no, it won’t require you to travel 100+ miles to the nearest big city.)
So how did it work? Three things you want to focus on:
#1: Focus on Online Dating
This is a big one. In places far away from cities, there is going to be less foot traffic and less people readily available to approach out of the blue. Especially if you have just moved and have not yet set up a social circle, online dating becomes doubly critical.
Don’t just throw up a few photos on Tinder and call it a day, either. Since you have less people to work with, you’ll want to join and use multiple apps to get access to the most people possible. A good rule of thumb is to sign up for around 5 apps. You could use a combination of free and paid apps (personally, I used 3 free and 2 paid apps when I was living in CT.) This should give you a good chance to meet people, without having to sacrifice a boatload of time doing so.
#2: While Online, Expand Your Search Radius
In NYC, oftentimes singles won’t date anyone more than 5 miles away. In many ways, this makes sense, as nobody wants to sit through a painful subway ride or slog their way through traffic just to go a handful of miles just to meet some stranger they found online for a date that may or may not be worthwhile.
But if you’re living in a small town, that attitude needs to change if you’re going to be successful. Again, because there are fewer potential singles around you, you are going to want to look a bit further than you normally would have. For me, I set my search radius as far as 2 hours away (about 120 miles assuming I drive 60 mph on the highway).
Now I actually didn’t want to drive 2 hours. When a date and I first met, I would find place in between me and her that we cold both get to in about an hour. So in actuality, I would only be driving an hour away (about the same amount of time I would be spending on public transport to go 7 miles or so in NYC on certain days). You may be putting a few miles on the odometer, but less traffic and congestion means that you won’t be wasting as much gas as you would sitting in traffic in a large city, especially if you have a car with good gas mileage (which I feel is a necessity when you’re living so far from everywhere.)
#3: Build Up a Social Circle
We should be doing this no matter where we live….but it becomes more and more important to have this kind of support around you when there a fewer of you.
One might think that using the Internet to search Meetup groups may be key here, but in fact, I never found much success with this…as many small towns are so small that they don’t even have meetup groups.
Instead, I did the opposite, I got out more and met people face to face. I became a regular at many places downtown. I talked to people about the weather, sports, etc, and slowly gained their trust. There’s a stereotype about small town people being cliquish and standoffish to new arrivals. This can be true. It can take a lot of time to build up trust with people in anew community. You will have to do your best to chip away at them until they come around.
When they do, you will find that even if the people you are talking to are not necessarily great romantic prospects, in many cases they know other people who are, and they can introduce you to them. This is where having a social circle becomes an advantage. You can use the people you’ve made friends with almost as a vetting tool, giving you instant social proof for the people they introduce you to.
Another great advantage of developing a social circle is that in a small town, your reputation travels quickly. For example, if you’re a man who tries to run “pickup” techniques on the local women like you would in a big city like NYC or London, people are going to catch on to that really quickly, and that reputation will stick with them as long as you’re there. This is not necessarily a good thing. Having people in your friend group who can vouch for the awesome person you are definitely makes a huge difference.
Bonus Tip: Develop PATIENCE
In today’s fast paced, instant gratification society, we expect things to happen for us immediately, and when they don’t, we’re disappointed. Living in big, fast paced cities, we tend to be able to get what we want faster.
Living in a small town or rural area in many ways runs counter to this idea. The pace of life is slower, and while people are more likely to stop what they’re doing to talk to you as a result of this, it may ultimately take them a while longer for them to really develop that sense of trust and appreciation. You may also need to take more time building a social circle and interacting with more people in a non-romantic way in order to lead to more romantic prospects. You may need to drive farther to meet people from online. You will need to be patient with this. If you can avoid panicking from the whole experience if things don’t work out quickly, you will stand a much better chance of being successful dating in a smaller town.
Good luck, and happy dating!