5 Ways To Fix Vancouver’s Dating Problems

Vancouver can adapt a New York State of mind when it comes to dating...

Written by Amy C · 2 min read >
Image of Amy Chan in NYC, used on blog about dating problems

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 dating problems, 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 and go dating!

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 towards dating

As cliché as this may sound, dating 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 

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Written by Amy C
Amy Chan is the Founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart. Marie Claire calls her "A relationship expert whose work is like that of a scientific Carrie Bradshaw" and her company has been featured across national media including Good Morning America, Vogue, Glamour, Nightline along with the front page of The New York Times. Her book, Breakup Bootcamp - The Science of Rewiring Your Heart, published by Harper Collins, will be released Fall 2020. Profile
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21 Replies to “5 Ways To Fix Vancouver’s Dating Problems”

  1. ” it’s easy to stay comfortable in the group of friends you’ve grown up with” – yeah, but if you’re not FROM Vancouver, it’s a very hard place to make new friends at all; like New York, Vancouver is transient. I find it a cool, cliquey city.

  2. Regarding small talk. Some of us hate it because we’re introverts…not lazy. I am great at it, but I genuinely dislike the activity.

    1. Thank you. This was the exact thought flying through my mind when I read the line easily dismissing people who dislike small talk as ‘lazy’. As expected from an extrovert trying to give advice….

      1. Absolutely! I agree. Just because you have a different personality doesn’t mean you should label people who don’t enjoy small talk as a “cop out” for being lazy. That is a very small-minded statement.There are different types of people out there — you can’t just dismiss them because they don’t have the same social behaviours as you.

        1. Come on people… I know generalisation often provokes misunderstanding but instead of being uptight about it, I can appreciate the genuinely witty statements perceived as “unique” and read with an open mind and heart.

  3. I’ve been forced to comment!

    This is the perspective of a young twenty one year old male. Scrounging up my living in Vancouver, which I’ve lived in my entire life. Third Generation and I’m European Canadian.

    I was given your article by a co-worker, which we both read through and laughed. I know that 99% of the problems Vancouver faces now is directly the fault of the older generations. We have moved very far from what the city once was, some progress was stifled by lag, while at the same time technology moved forward. it’s created a tough situation for some of us.

    So first off, the reason why many of us don’t interact with strangers is because Vancouver has a huge share of sketchy people. With the income disparity gap between the West and East side and the obvious drug problem. It has made interacting with people a legitimate risk.

    Second thing is the events. I would love to throw an event, but considering how stingy the laws and the neighbourhoods are about liquor or outdoor events it really ruins doing anything fun in Vancouver. If your a true Vancouverite, you can (gasp) travel outside of Vancouver and go party in other towns where there way more space, freedom and nature around you.

    Third point though is New York. Every party scene in New York has better women than Vancouver. We have a supply of amazing men, but the women here aren’t close to par. Unless you want a creepy thirty + hitting on you at the bar.

    If I want to go find a date I’d rather go back to my multi cultural roots, (Which many Canadians have) then bring them to Vancouver. Why date a Vancouver women, (Where many are spoiled) unless she provides something a little bit more than easy sex?

    1. Vancouver does not have a higher number of sketchy people compared to other big cities. And by events I think she means networking events, industry events, and social events (that don’t include house parties or raves.)

    2. Ok, well this comment has forced ME to comment. I can see that your perspective is that of a 21 year old Vancouver male by the simple fact that you said there is a supply of amazing men and no women on par with that. I can’t even begin to tell you how insulting a line like that can be, after all, you have no appreciation for the amazing women that DO live in Vancouver. Glossing over that fact, since you have not had the opportunity to live anywhere else, I can tell you that as a previous Vancouverite who has lived in other Canadian cities as well as abroad, men in Vancouver are not as stand-up as you might believe. Meeting locals on vacation, and living and breathing the culture are two vastly different things. While there are some truly amazing men in Vancouver, if I had to choose between dating a guy in Vancouver and a guy in Montreal, or Toronto, or even Hong Kong, there would be no question.

      1. “While there are some truly amazing (guys) in Vancouver, if I had to choose between dating a guy in Vancouver and a guy in Montreal, or Toronto, or even Hong Kong, there would be no question.”

        All you need to do is substitute “women” for “guys” in the above statement, and you’d have the exact same opinion of the majority of guys here…..

  4. forget dating problem, how about simply social problem. although not an extrovert, i’m a friendly person who will easily engage in small talk. 98% of the time, it is met with the look of ‘why are you talking to me?’ look. and let me tell you, it comes from BOTH males and females! i just want to smack their hipster-wanna-be toques off their heads and say, “lighten up, douchebag, you’re not that attractive. it’s called small talk!”

    1. That is our fair city. I don’t like small talk in general, but I like being polite, and about half of the people in Vancouver are incredibly full of themselves and rude. There are some nice people out there, but there is also such a large proportion of people trying to seem better than everyone else that it makes Vancouver such an unpleasant place to be in sometimes. It’s like a city overrun with insecure teenagers.

  5. It always seems to be easier said than done. Oh Vancouver how did you become so cold? The change can be done, starting with each individual. I have overheard many men and women being smug to one another. Instead, I dare you to say “hello” to a stranger once a day. Try to be approachable, ya know, smile! Existing in the moment, I may the very few women on the skytrain without a phone in her hands or listening to music, its a start though.

  6. Hi everyone! English is not my native language, so be patient. It is difficult to set a point of start here. Everything has been accumulating for a really long time. Merely wanted to spit it out. For some, this confession will open their eyes, some may find it humiliating.
    Here we go. I came to Canada a little over 2 years ago from an east European country after I finished my university. I’m a white skinny/athletic, almost 5″11′ feet tall, blond, decent-looking person with confidence. (don’t confuse it with arrogance).
    Here is the setting that I had back home: very soft and feminine friendly women who can be easily approached and talked to (don’t confuse with whores/prostitutes/low-fallen women with no self-respect). I also had a lot of attention from them back.
    What do i have here: an average North America-raised girl in mid of her 20s has had numerous penises going through her). She doesn’t want a relationship, she is focused on her career (most likely just making it seem so), has a dog, acts like a slut, sleeps around, and on a constant lookout for a jackpot which is happened to be 6 feet tall hot jacked billionaire with horse-length dick and lambo. The worst thing is that she thinks she is 11/10, whereas she is nowhere near that point (trust me, I know how beautiful women can look). There are thousands of beautiful women (but not goddess-like) seeking for a jackpot guy here in Vancity but the thing is there are very few of them. And here comes the question: why the heck a jackpot guy would need them? He has money and everything. How would he treat you? For how long will he keep you before he finds another replacement of a meatsuit?
    You cant naively think that you, as one of those Canada-raised sluts, are special. I mean we all are human beings we all special at some point but it seems that only here, in Canada, people still believe their moms’ words that the are so special and precious.
    I remember once I asked a white Canadian guy: why Canadian guys marry Asian women. The answer was they didn’t want to have a second-hand women( he said that naming them second-hand should be accepted as compliment whereas in fact things are way worse with average white Canadian girls). They went for feminine, family-oriented descent Asian women. And an average Canadian unmarried couple in their 50s has no kids, but 2 dogs instead. Great!
    This chain of thoughts is general. I mean not all the girls like that, but most, for sure. And guys are not better either…
    I will answer beforehand: yes, things are way better back home. Yes, I will get the hell out of here in a year, as i have no choice to leave earlier. I have to suffer here for one more year…

    1. These women aren’t giving you the cold shoulder because you’re not the “jackpot” they’re looking for. We can just smell raging misogynists a mile off, and we’re not exactly going to drop everything to flutter our eyelashes for the opportunity to play broodmare for one.

    2. Eastern European with non-native English, with a college degree(bachelor?) that mostly likely not get recognized here. How do you survive here? Were you able to find a white collar job or retail? Anything stable at all?

      Cause I know the rent is getting up all the time, and the rich kids of Vancouver driving sports cars around are definitely not helping. The local whites have a hard time finding dates even, not to mention ageing able to afford a house and family and stuff, so they date down, usually snatch up the female new comers. First gen immigrant males tend to then import another wife from their home country to meet the discrepancy.

      So, yeah, dating two step up won’t help. It has nothing to do with your looks or anything. Sociologically speaking, that’s how it works since the first import of Chinese immigrant workers. I heard in the US, historically, because they don’t want their male workers to procreate, leaving Chinese descent in their country. they even curtailed the immigration of female workers, so the male which by law cannot date white women, will turn gay and die childless.

      We are a poor city in disguise.

  7. As a person who half grew up in vancouve (born in HK). I would say Vancouver is fine but the dating is very colour centric. Which creates a lot of imbalance and thus we have lots of frustration for both men and women.

  8. I am a local Vancouverite born and raised here I don’t think the pretentious nature of some folks (on both sides of the gender coin) is particularly helping. To the author of this article I would like to remind you that assumptions about each other go both ways. You’re tips described here will only get you negative stares and cold shoulders and guarantee you rejections each time. If we have assumptions, ridiculously high standards and insane expectations. Then how are we supposed to socialize, meet and date each other? Despite the beauty of my city and its location there is something seriously wrong with this picture. This city is one of the worst cities to find people here for any kind of friendship or relationship. It has became allot tougher to find people and next to impossible to find that special some one. It is best to give up any possibility in meeting that special some one in this city. To Vancouverite’s who are in my situation, It is simply best to look else where. Good luck.

  9. I am a white male who was born and raised in the Vancouver area in the early 60’s. The dating scene here was abysmal when I started dating in the late 1970’s and by what I hear from the 20 somethings, it seems to be the same today. My advise to any young person who wants to meet someone decent is get out of Vancouver. Vancouver has become a boring city with no substance. It has simply become a dumping ground for big money and artificial rich people who drive around in their fancy cars showing off to each other, acting like there is nobody else here. Other than the natural scenery, there is nothing I like about Vancouver and hope to leave soon.

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