One in five Canadians reports being lonely and research suggests that loneliness plagues Torontonians and folks in big cities across the nation. Loneliness not only affects our quality of life, but is associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety which are tied to physical health issues including heart disease and high blood pressure.
If you’re looking to spark new relationships — intimate or platonic — in Toronto, there is no better time to get started than the present. Jess joined Jennifer Valentyne on Global News Morning Toronto to share five ways to find love and friendship in the city.
Check out the summary and video below and make a commitment to trying one of these approaches today:
Why is it so hard to meet new people in big cities?
The density of our living conditions leads to anonymity as the norm. We don’t take the time to get to know people because we’re surrounded by so many folks that we’re never ever alone. Think about the folks you interact with every day and how little you know about them? Do you know your mail carrier’s name or do you know anything about the folks working at your local coffee shop with whom you make small talk almost every morning?
Consider getting to know some of these people by opening up about yourself first because your daily interactions with acquaintances can add up to have as much impact on your health and life satisfaction as your closest relationships.
Big cities also bring high costs of living, which means that we work longer hours and spend less time socializing. We also allow judgment to play gatekeeper and inhibit new relationships by only hanging out with people who look, act, dress and work like we do. We need to be more open to having friends of different ages, styles, interests and incomes so that we aren’t simply surrounding ourselves with folks who reinforce our own life choices.
What else can we do to make new connections?
Get creative with Mundo Lingo Toronto and attend one of their MultiLingual Exchange Meetups.
This is a meetup — not a pickup. But if you want to increase your odds of meeting a potential partner, expand your offline social network to include other singles and couples of all genders. Don’t attend with the goal of meeting a partner, but consider attending to learn something new and expand your friend circle. Thirty-nine percent of couples met their current partner through friends, so the more you diversify your friend pool, the more likely you may be to meet someone with whom you hit it off.
Go to a coffee shop, put your phone on airplane mode and tuck it in the bottom of your bag. Try spending 20-30 minutes in public without using your digital devices. It’s amazing how human connection flourishes when we simply unplug.
Be friendly with people you don’t want to date. Don’t just say hello to people you find attractive. Talk to strangers (if they’re interested) and watch your social network expand and your happiness levels rise.
Use Facebook to connect. If you click on the “Events” button on your FB app, a local map with events in your area will load. You can select events by type, date or location, so look for something that interests you and show up. I looked this morning and I found so many cool events:
- Tonight, there is an architecture event called “When Gothic was Modern”, which is a lecture and discussion with snacks and beverages in downtown Toronto.
- In Mississauga, The Riverwood Conservancy is hosting Astronomy Night at the Chappell House Lawn with telescopes so you can look at the moon, the planets and stars.
- The Regent Park Film Festival is airing movies under the stars for free tomorrow. They’re playing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Join a team or a club. Toronto Sport and Social offers organized leagues and one-off events or you can join a sailing, canoeing, or kayaking group on the water. Other options include boxing, rock climbing, quilting, dancing, scrapbooking, community gardening and floral arrangement. The world is your oyster, so don’t make excuses — take action.