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Here's what it's like to date in Vancouver, according to locals

Have you experienced any of these red flags?
Vancouverites have some complaints about dating in the city.

Is it universal that people hate dating in Vancouver?

Social media certainly seems to give that impression. Vancouver is frequently accused of being a cold difficult city to make friends and from the looks of it, that reputation extends to romantic partners too.

What are Vancouver dating red flags?

According to local singles, red flags include ghosting, being flaky with plans, texting without ever going on a date, and being overall commitment-phobic. Oh, and Cactus or Earls on the first date.

Some share stories of potential dates cancelling at the last minute or people who aren't willing to commute outside of their immediate area to the rest of the Lower Mainland. Although they will commute for a hike.

One weirdly-specific red flag is when someone asks you to go on a hiking or camping trip on the first date, which apparently happens a lot in Vancouver.

Are red flags real or are people overreacting?

Vancouver-based relationship expert Amy Chan says that these internet gripes are actually very founded. She has worked with clients that also experience red flags.

"Generally, people are very casual and relaxed about dating in Vancouver in comparison to other parts of the world," she shares. "The culture prioritizes comfort, being laid back, and letting things ‘flow.' This contrasts significantly to cities such as New York or London, where there’s more of a go-getter, make it happen vibe. In Vancouver, it’s the norm to show up in athlesiure and flip flops, grab a beer and call it a day. All which can scream—low effort."

She says that Vancouver's stand-off reputation comes from the roots locals plant early on in their life. Compared to cities that are more transient, there isn't a lot of pressure to meet new people or take initiative in Vancouver because everyone is comfortable in their own social circles.

The last red flag Chan has noticed in Vancouver is inconsistency. "If you’ve gone on a few dates and have been communicating and seeing each other in a regular cadence and suddenly they disappear only to reappear by watching your IG stories two weeks later—this is a bad sign," she says. "Inconsistency is usually a sign of lack of interest, someone juggling different relationships or something is going on in their life which makes them not have space or capacity for someone."

How to get around red flags

The bad date complaints don't appear to be specific to men or women, with all genders expressing disappointment equally and placing the blame on dating apps. Vancouver residents have taken to sharing their tips for weeding out red flags on dating sites and they range from FaceTiming to getting on a plane to literally anywhere else.

One TikToker says that her dating bio lets people know that she doesn't have Snapchat or give out her phone number or Instagram handle but that people can ask her on a date. She explains that it's to make sure that people can't track her down online if the date goes badly but it also helps sort through people who aren't really looking for a relationship.

Chan recommends practicing being friendly and approachable to build up the skill. She gets her clients to practice making eye contact and smiling at strangers, even striking up causal conversation. "With apps at our fingertips, our muscles for speaking to strangers have atrophied," she says.

She believes that a lot of the dating issues aren't specific to romance but largely revolve around people skills. She encourages people to take risks and if they find themselves drawn to someone, they should ask them out. And not in a "We should go for coffee sometime" text. 

That's too passive according to Chan and leaves the ball in their court to plan. "If you’re going to shoot your shot, ask directly. Stop beating around the bush," she says. Pick a date and time and ask if they're free.

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