It’s just the way that things have worked out, but I’ve always been a long-distance dater and I’ve never really thought it was time to try local dating. Moving around the country so much has meant that I’ve made connections in all kinds of places, and I’ve often preferred to turn friendships into romantic connections instead of starting from scratch.
But with a PhD in progress long-distance dating is becoming harder. It consumes more time than I really have spare and I no longer have the money to go on three-hour drives just for coffee. Instead, I’ve increasingly found myself looking online to find new connections in my local area.
Changing the way that you look at dating can be tough, so here are my top tips for making the switch from long-distance dating to something more local.
Keep your safety in mind
Look, I’m not saying that everyone in the dating scene is an axe-murderer, but it can be good to take precautions in order to stay safe. Either drive or get public transport to your date location (and if you drive, pick a car park across town so it would be strange for your date to follow you back there).
I usually walk from my home into town, so I always schedule something to do after a date, even if it’s just grocery shopping. That way I know I’m unlikely to be followed home by my date. Don’t forget to also let a friend know what you’re doing, and make sure you check in with them after the date so that they don’t worry.
My number one tip is always meet for coffee, not beers. And don’t give out any information to your date that you’re not comfortable with!
Try a local dating site
I never knew that these existed until quite recently, but there are dating sites that just focus on your local area! That’s much better than chatting to someone for days and then finding out that they’re at the other end of the country (a dealbreaker for me, certainly).
If you’re looking for a Suffolk dating site you might find that Love Suffolk Singles works for you. Equally, if you’re up in Scotland and looking for Fife dating, you’d probably have more luck on the site Love Fife Singles than a general site.
These local dating sites can provide the kind of love and companionship that is harder to find on some of the bigger national or even global dating sites. If people are looking local they’re almost certainly going to be looking to spend more quality time with the people that they meet for romance!
Join a club or evening class
If the idea of online dating doesn’t sit quite right, then perhaps consider taking up a new hobby instead. Even my local town is full of classes and clubs – everything from beginners squash at the local sports centre to a book club at my favourite breakfast spot.
The good thing about joining a club to meet new people is that you already know you’ll have something in common with them, and this can be a great icebreaker when you finally get them out for coffee!
A word to the wise though – don’t start eyeing people up as potential dates immediately. Give it a while. Otherwise, you’ll just be that weird, creepy person that nobody wants to hang out with.
Take it slow… or don’t
Whatever you decide is best, take things at your own speed and don’t let other people or society dictate what should work for you. You do you and make yourself happy.
Explore the local dating scene, meet people online, and most of all just go out and have fun. You never know who you might meet and fall for. And the best thing about dating locally is that they’re on your doorstep whenever you fancy seeing them. I’m already dreaming of all that quality time I can spend with a person that I would otherwise have spent sitting in my car on the motorway…