How to Date in a Small Town

A girl who learned how to date in a small town about to kiss a guy on their first date.

You arrive in a small town and, naturally, you want to know where the single people are. But wait a second—you immediately notice that dating in a small town is a lot different than dating in a big city. For starters, everyone seems to know each other in small towns. While in major cities, there’s a sense of anonymity and serendipity that exists when you’re bumping into strangers during rush hour. Anyone of these people that you pass on the street could be your soulmate! However, in a small town, your options are way more limited. There aren’t as many people to have your random “meet cute” moment with. 

So what do you do when you’re single and you’ve newly arrived to a small town?

Join Everything
If there’s a local gym, sign up for a membership. If there’s a local knitting club that piques your interest, sign up for that too. A local soup kitchen asking for volunteers? Tie an apron on and grab your ladle. The point is, get out of your house and get seen. Small towns are usually very community-oriented, which means there’s bound to be a number of events going on, and events equal people. Even if you don’t lock eyes with a handsome stranger at your knitting club, maybe you befriend a sweet grandmother who has a single grandson. You never know! Expand your network to better your odds.

Let People Know You’re Single
Meeting potential dates within your new social circle is a good place to start because people in small towns talk. A lot. They pretty much know your personal business before you do. Anyway, word spreads fast in a small town, so if you’re single and ready to mingle, don’t hesitate to let people know. Of course you don’t want to open with that. You don’t want to come off as too thirsty, plus you should definitely vet the people with whom you share your personal life. It’s best to establish relationships and connections with people first so you can trust their judgment and know they have the best intentions for you.

Talk to Strangers
Yes, this is probably the most awkward thing to do in the age where we glue ourselves to our phones in efforts to avoid just this very situation from happening. Fortunately for you many people from small towns like to chitchat, especially to people who are new to town. Townies are nosy, and will probably strike up a conversation with you first, wanting to get the downlow on everything, including your love life. You never know where chatting up strangers will get you. It could land you a date with the grocer’s daughter, or at least a discount on cheese.

Travel
Okay, you just moved to the new town, so why would you want to travel? Well, traveling gets you out of your headspace, and if you’ve been striking out where you live, it might be a good idea to leave in order to experience new people and opportunities. Often times when we travel, we open ourselves up in new ways and feel a little less uninhibited than we do when we’re on familiar territory. This new feeling might attract you to a potential partner, or it could even lead you to explore something different that will expand your world even more. This isn’t to say that you should consider packing up and leaving your home; traveling gives you the freedom of options when you might be feeling a little stuck.

Take Things Slow
Life in the big city might be on hyper-speed but taking things slow is a small town’s jam. Try to see your experience dating in a small town as a delicious three-course meal: you want to enjoy every bite, letting things digest and settle, before you move onto the next dish. Take your time establishing connections with new people, investing in friendships, and experiencing new things that bring you joy. Joyful people are usually magnets for love, and besides, love is one of those things that is truly better when you slow it down. Rushing into a full-fledged romance seldom works out.

Finding a some you’re interested in is highly likely in a small town. Most people pretty much marry from birth. But don’t let that take the wind out of your sails! There are some hidden gems waiting to be discovered by a city mouse like you. Dating in a small town might be a different experience than dating in a large city but it’s one that has the potential to be meaningful and long-lasting. After all, like most things in life, quality trumps quantity in love. Because it only takes one.

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.

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