Is It Harder To Stand Out On First Dates In Big Cities? Here's The Scoop

by Ginny Hogan
Originally Published: 

First dates are tricky everywhere. You have to meet someone new and show them your personality, all in one evening? Not to mention you have to be outside your apartment when you could be in it, watching Grey's Anatomy? I've only ever lived in big cities (San Francisco, NYC, and L.A.) and the thing I find most challenging about dating is wondering if my date is meeting tons of people in this huge city we share, so I often wonder: Is it harder to stand out on first dates in big cities? To get the scoop for you, I spoke to some experts.

People in bigger cities can have more options on how to spend their time, which can make first dates challenging. "Big cities offer more stimuli than small towns," sex and relationship expert Caroline Giuliani tells Elite Daily. "People are more likely to flake and reschedule in big cities because of the simple fact that there is more going on." You may have to work harder on a first date to make sure your date wants to hang out again, since there's more they could be doing. "When we have too many options, we often get overwhelmed and tend to make choices contrary to our true goals," licensed marriage and family therapist, Nicole Richardson, tells Elite Daily. "In a bigger city/area there are simply more options than in a more rural setting and it can mean that attention spans are far more limited." Because of the increased options for how to spend your time, you may find first dates in a big city to be more challenging.

Melanie DeFazio/Stocksy

People's standards might differ slightly by location, but a connection is more important than a specific locale. "A genuine connection and spark will supersede those differing expectations if the relationship is worth pursuing," Giuliani says. Ultimately, it's not about where you live, it's about who you are — but you may choose to adjust your expectations based on where you live. "If you are liberal, and you're living in a small town that's conservative, you may be willing to date other conservatives," Stef Safran, matchmaking and dating expert, tells Elite Daily. That's not because you've changed as a person, though, but rather that you've always been flexible, and now your flexibility makes more sense. Your opinions on who you can date vary by location, but a connection still matters, and you're you no matter where you are.

Dating in a big city can feel more anonymous than in a small town, so beware that it might be easier for your date to ghost you afterward. While this doesn't mean it's harder to stand out, it could mean that you're less likely to get a second date in a big city. "In a small town/community, people are far more likely to overlap social circles which can discourage bad behavior on a date because word will often get back to your social group," Richardson says. "In a city or metropolitan area, it is possible to move around very different social circles anonymously."

Of course, having people on their best behavior is a good thing, so even if you live in a big city, it's useful to adhere to those same standards. People in small towns might also be looking for something more serious, which could change the dynamic of a first date. "In a small town, people may marry their high school sweethearts and have kids earlier," Safran says. The first date could be more serious in a small town, which doesn't necessarily mean you have a better chance of standing out; it just means your first date could be looking for something different.

Samantha Estrada/Stocksy

To make sure your personality can shine through on a first date, big city or not, choose a date that lets you show who you are. "Any activity that has more variables than chairs and drinks offers the opportunity to watch each other interact with other people and do things rather than just talk about doing things," Giuliani says. "Whether it's an arcade, bowling, an interactive museum, just taking a walk, or renting scooters and knocking over pedestrians together, doing something physical is always a good idea! It can spur fun and unexpected conversations." Richardson echoes her sentiment. "Do something active (i.e. not a movie, coffee, drinks, or dinner) that requires that you interact and that reduces the opportunity for phone use." If you're participating in an activity and off your phone, you have a better chance of standing out on a first date.

All experiences are different depending on where you live. In big cities, you might take the subway to a museum for fun, while in small towns, you might participate in a hike or spend time in nature. While dating can be different, the most important thing is that you let your personality shine through. If you do that, and the date doesn't work out, then it's absolutely their loss, regardless of location. And no matter where you live, you will find someone or something amazing for you!

This article was originally published on