#HanMeetsLondon: broke in the city and dating.
London is a fast-paced city. Work moves fast, life moves fast, and dating is - you guessed it - also fast. People tend to fall into two very general categories, the date and ditch or serious and (we would hope) committed. There doesn't tend to be a comfortable in between when it comes to a love life in the Big Smoke. People are here for a purpose, and love does not tend to be high up on that list of purposes. It's not negative, it's just fact. You're in London now, it's a whole new planet! However just because it is different doesn't mean it has to be difficult. Even on a budget, dating in London is one of the most exciting places to be. Cocktails and fine dining on rooftops are not everyone's cup of tea after all.
- Know your budget. Know your worth. Just because there is someone else sharing your life does not mean you have to break the bank. Sure, London is bloody expensive, but what makes it special is the amount of alternatives. As long as I can sit/cosy up to my date, I am just as happy in Block (Shoreditch street food) as I could be in Sushi Samba (rooftop high-end restaurant in Bishopsgate).
- Get creative. I hate first date dinner dates. It's like interviewing someone. I prefer adventures and experiences. I used Instagram to find out about a small gig/EP launch in a yoga studio in Richmond for one of my dates. It was a hit and miss that could have potentially been a big flop, but it turned out to be precisely what was needed. Again, it depends what you are looking for in a date. But if you are like me and want to build something experience do just that. They build memories that you can begin to share with someone. Instagram is my main source but I am also signed up to a couple of other newsletters such as BoxPark (which regularly host free events) and Design My Night. Other good sources are Time Out and Eventbrite (search London and any other search term such as 'music').
- Know what you want from your dating life. Like I said before, London dating is fast and so it is important to know what you want. And then stick by it! One of the most common things that happen is someone meets someone in a bar, they have a passionate night and then one is left heartbroken because the other doesn't want anything serious. Remember, both wants are valid! But I highly recommend staying strong to what you want as this will get you the person who you are (hopefully) looking for. On the other hand, if you are still unsure, London also makes for the perfect place for you to find out what it is you are looking for. Living in a big and varied city, pretty much anything goes.
So you see, while you may think dating is not possible with a London lifestyle, it most certainly is if it's what you really want in your life. It requires an honest conversation with yourself about what what you are really looking for, but every person and every relationship is different. So be bold and be brave.
I am happily dating someone right now and if I had listened to convention or given into the 'no money conversation' I would be in a very different place - and probably beating myself up that I let money get in the way like that.
You deserve the love life you want, and money does not need to get in the way of that.
My final piece of advice for people living in London and dating is: to have the conversation. Communication is key, but as you will repeatedly hear, people come to London to move forward their life/career goals and it is important that both parties respect that. But also that you don't loose sight of those too. That was one thing I'd say I was worried about, because I have always been a goals-driven woman. Some honest communication solves that however and life goes on.
What is your favourite thing to do on date night?