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Dating in Los Angeles vs. San Francisco

By Emyli LovzSeptember 2, 2019Strategy
dating in los angeles

If you’re wondering what dating is like in California, you must first clear up one thing — where exactly in California? For example, dating in San Francisco can have different pros and cons versus dating in Los Angeles.

That said, if you’re thinking of moving out to the Golden State and want to know how it’ll affect your dating life, I’ve got you covered on both ends. I reached out to some of the best matchmakers in the LA area to get the scoop on dating in Los Angeles, as well as their best advice for newcomers. Likewise, as someone who has gone on over 100 dates in San Francisco and is also a local dating coach in the area, I have added what you need to know about dating in San Francisco.

Hopefully, you’ll come away from this with a better understanding of what your future dating life might look like — wherever you decide to land! So let’s get started with a few questions and answers from my matchmaker friends down in Los Angeles.

Dating in Los Angeles

What Are the Biggest Current Struggles with Dating in Los Angeles for Men? And For Women?

Here’s what Cristina (Conti) Pineda, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers in The City has to say:

“In Los Angeles, often men have Peter Pan syndrome, which means staying single forever.  They struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out), and as a result, they face the paralysis of choice: there are so many beautiful women, so many great date locations, and so many events to attend.  How does he choose? As a result, he stays single.  Women struggle with men who have a fear of commitment, and they end up staying in dead end relationships.” 

Here’s what Katie Chen and May Hui, Founders of Catch Matchmaking has to say:

“The biggest struggle for single men in LA is that there are so many options of women out here. He might find a really great woman and he’s totally digging her, but because he dropped the ball on asking her out on the second date in a timely manner, he just wants to move on. He thinks he can do better so he won’t invest in the second date or try to get to know her better by seeing her again.

What he should do is apologize how he’s been out of touch, because he was busy with work, family, or what ever the issue was, and then tell her he will make it up to her by taking her out again. Oftentimes, he won’t put in the extra effort to pursue her and that is where he is missing out. If he enjoyed the first date, we, as LA matchmakers, always encourage him to see her again. There is nothing more amazing than two people who click on the first date and want to see each other again. Don’t throw it all away so easily.

The biggest struggle for single women in LA is that they are stuck in the rut of being single and won’t discard their long check list. Somewhere along the line, someone told the women to make a checklist and years later, they are single, and still won’t budge from their check list.

If she has been single for over two years, it’s time to throw that check list out the window. Women who are open-minded are more likely to get into a relationship. What that means is, it’s okay to date a man who’s one or two inches shorter than her ideal. And you know what? I’ve never had a woman tell me that her husband is a great husband, because he is tall! Being open-minded means that you are overlooking the unimportant things and focusing on what really matters. So what if he is into science fiction and you are not? Who cares if he lives 10 miles further than she’d like?”

Here’s what Julie Ferman, Legendary Matchmaker & Dating Guru has to say:

“We’ve fallen into the traps that are our hand-held devices. They’re meant to help us connect with each other, when what’s happening in reality is … we’re hiding behind our cell phones and iPads; we’re avoiding real interactions with the people all around us, and as individuals in our complex society, we’re becoming more lonely and more disconnected from each other. Our devices have contributed to what feels like an ever increasing angst in both of California’s biggest cities. Flakiness, ghosting, no shows, last minute cancellations and changes in plans — a general lack of courtesy and respect for others, this has become the norm, and is eroding the social fabric of our culture.”

What Makes Dating in Los Angeles Different (Better or Worse) Than Other Cities?

Here’s what Julie Ferman, Legendary Matchmaker & Dating Guru has to say:

“Anything specific like commute times, expectation differences, etc) Dating in Los Angeles is even more challenging than San Francisco, as we’re in our cars more, which has an insulating, isolating affect on the human experience. In LA there’s less of a community vibe, as we’re in our little bubbles (cars), which distance us from each other.”

Here’s what Cristina (Conti) Pineda, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers in The City has to say:

“A woman dating in LA faces a double edged sword. She has it easier than women in other cities with the nearly perfect weather and the ability to drive/Uber everywhere. She rarely has to walk anywhere for a date, can wear the highest heels that she wants, can stay cool with the low humidity/dry heat (keeping frizzy hair at a minimum), her makeup stays well without the sweating factor in other cities.

However, competition is at an all time high in LA, and women need to go the extra mile in getting ready; this is the city of beautiful people. Men are visual creatures and are seeing unrealistic images of female beauty nearly everywhere. In LA more than other cities, men frequently get judged by women on superficial factors too: what they look like, wear, drive, and where they live hold more importance.”

How Are Dating Apps Impacting the LA Dating Scene?

Here’s what Cristina (Conti) Pineda, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers in The City has to say:

“I have heard of people finding love on the dating apps, but usually when they are very specific about how important their faith is to them. Other than that, I am a personal Matchmaker for a reason! When I was single, I had a visceral hatred of dating apps/dating online; it felt so awkward. My sister, one of the Matchmakers at Matchmakers In The City, introduced me to my husband, so I’m a walking banner for personal Matchmaking! There are exceptions, but I think that, generally, the apps increase the “hot or not” culture that tends to objectify people. Come to think of it, I should probably write an article about this!” 

Here’s what Julie Ferman, Legendary Matchmaker & Dating Guru has to say:

With each “advance” in technology comes a greater reliance upon our devices, which creates more and more disconnect among the real, live humans who are using these devices. We’re so focused on our silly devices that we miss the chance to talk with the person right next to us, in line at the coffee shop, sitting next to us at the gate, waiting for a plane.

Along with this noise (the beeps, buzzes, rings, notifications) comes a desensitization to it all. We are overloaded and overwhelmed with the barrage of messages, and so we are blowing off these very messages that once seemed to be important. In checking our dating accounts for new activity, we’re missing the chance to connect with the person right in front of us at the DMV. I say, when you’re out and about, in public, put the darned phone down and practice the fine art of social engagement, with the real, live human beings in your very real community.

That sense of yearning that drives us to check our inboxes can only be satisfied by real, live human connection. We are wise to practice connecting with the real, live human beings in our immediate environment; developing our ability to be be loving, caring, and fully human with THESE folks, rather than chasing after some inaccessible fantasy person online — where the real opportunities lie? All around us in our neighborhoods, every day.

What Tips Would You Give Someone Who is Thinking of Moving to LA to Date or Find Love?

Here’s what Julie Ferman, Legendary Matchmaker & Dating Guru has to say:

“OWN your ‘hood. In such a densely populated city, focus in on your immediate surroundings. Frequent your local coffee shops, sushi bars, boutiques, farmers markets and gyms. Get to know your local shop owners, know the names of the dogs on your block and their owners too. Make your neighborhood your own, by extending a warm Good Morning to your fellow city dwellers, by smiling, holding doors, helping an elderly lady with her groceries. It’s your “Mayberry” — you bring the congeniality, the humanity, the love to your block.”

Here’s what Cristina (Conti) Pineda, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers in The City has to say:

“Be prepared to take it up a notch, which may sound like an annoying stormy cloud, but it has a silver lining! When I moved here nearly 8 years ago, it was a culture shock. I had lived in Oxford where women rarely ever wore makeup and paid only minor attention to fashion. LA is the exact opposite to most other cities! Both NYC and SF tend to have a little more focus on looks than Oxford, but still they don’t come close to LA.” 

Dating in San Francisco

What Are the Biggest Current Struggles with Dating in San Francisco for Men?

So, here’s the bad news about SF: There are more men than women — 51% compared to 49%, to be exact. Compare that to LA, where gender is split 50/50, and you can already see that the numbers aren’t exactly in your favor. This could have a lot to do with the amount of people attracted to SF because of tech jobs, which are still mainly dominated by men. Not only that, but 52% of SF men are single — and of that 52%, almost 20% are in their 30s and work a full-time job.

Since there are so many high-quality men in the SF dating scene, that means women tend to be especially flaky. You might get ghosted, stood up, dropped, or straight up ignored way more than you’re used to, even if you’ve been dating in Los Angeles. So, either you need to work harder to find a girlfriend … or move down to LA, where Catch Matchmaking notes the abundance of options for men!

What Makes Dating in San Francisco Different (Better or Worse) Than Other Cities?

If you’re committed to meeting women in real life, rather than just apps, you’ll probably notice one thing in SF: Smartphones and AirPods dominate the outdoors. Actually, I would argue that SF has an even bigger tech epidemic than LA. As a local, it’s likely you won’t even get a smile or hello as you’re walking down any major (or even super local) street in SF … unless it’s a tourist from Boise passing you by. So if you want to approach someone, chances are it’ll take some effort to even get their attention. But I say, do it anyway. Put your phone away on your walk to Starbucks, make eye contact with your neighbor, say hi, and strike up a conversation. You never know where it might lead.

Once you do meet someone who interests you in SF, I’d suggest you also find out why they moved there. Sounds random, but SF tends to attract a lot of people who have a “startup first, dating second” mentality. They came to Silicon Valley for a big job, and while they may be a little lonely, they actually don’t have time to date. Better to find this out sooner than later.

Which leads me to my next point — SF is also crazy expensive. So you don’t want to invest too much of your time in someone who’s not serious. That being said, my blueprint for the first three dates can make dating in SF much easier on the wallet. Plus, it’ll bring you better results! Here it is in a nutshell:

  • First date: Spend no more than $10. This means either a free activity, or one quick drink or coffee.
  • Second date: Make it an active date (hiking, bike riding, etc.) so you can escalate sexual tension while spending NO money whatsoever.
  • Third date: Take her out to a nice dinner (it’s okay to splurge a little at this point).

Finally, in case you were wondering about the positives, SF has a much shorter commuting time compared to LA. Even in traffic, you can get from the Marina to the Mission in under 30 minutes. With no traffic, you’re looking at 15 minutes. This can be very helpful when planning fun date activities. You don’t need to constrain yourself to one neighborhood or block off hours of time to get from one date to the next, the way you might when dating in Los Angeles.

How Are Dating Apps Impacting the SF Dating Scene?

In tech-obsessed SF, you have complete saturation of typical, meaningless messages on dating apps — and a zero in-person approach. The majority of men use apps without self-study, sending H-Factor messages like “Hey,” “How are you,” “Hi cutie,” “Hola,” “How was your weekend,” and so forth. Sadly, women are so inundated with messages that they can hardly keep track of one man to the next.

Bottom line, nearly everyone has become afraid of actually speaking to another human. Maybe more than anywhere else, we live in a virtual “text message” world, where commitments are effortless to break, and no one really owes anyone anything. Instead, text messaging becomes everyone’s comfort zone. Problem is, by never putting themselves out there, many men (and women, for that matter) lose the social skills they need in order to take chances in love. Everyone becomes so afraid of rejection that they hide behind texting, and don’t develop the skills of approach, conversation, and human connection. This leads to superficial connections that fizzle out, often before they even meet in real life.

Smart guys in SF will try to stand out from the competition by honing their in-person communication skills, or at least writing more compelling messages. But the majority of them don’t have enough time to put in this much effort, what with the high prices of rents in SF and the ever-extending workday. So instead, they continue to take the approach of “throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.” They may see some success — but it’s rarely with the quality of woman that they really want.

These men, who are constrained by their limited free time and astronomical rent payments, now must make a tough choice. On one hand, they can settle for less than what they deserve. On the other hand, they can stay single, hoping that the perfect woman will cross their path one day — and on that day, they’ll find some other-worldly internal confidence to approach her and say something meaningful.

Sadly, that seems less and less realistic, once the truth of their overworked lives and atrophied social skills comes further into view. They’re really on a hamster wheel that will never lead them to the true love they desire. However, some seek out expert advice and resources to help them improve, which increases their chances of finding love.

What Tips Would You Give to Someone Who is Thinking of Moving to San Francisco to Date or Find Love?

Don’t lose your social skills! Immediately sign up for a weekly social event, like SF Social, or a class of some kind. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of the computer only to find yourself lonely and bored on a Saturday, when you could have been out at Dolores Park playing a game of cornhole with a close group of friends.

Yet, keep in mind that the people you surround yourself with in San Francisco are also very likely to be workaholics, as the city caters to the success-determined worker bee. This can make it hard to align your schedules for social activities. If that happens, then playing a competitive sport can help you stay committed to your in-person “human” time. And the great part is, the people in this town are here to win — so the people you meet in a sports league probably won’t flake out as much! That said, everyone has their niche … and every niche exists in San Francisco. Just safeguard yourself against the vortex of work, work, work. Remember that you’re a human being and that love is more important than all of that.

Again, having a solid group of friends will help you stay grounded. But you can also use dating apps as a supplement to help keep your calendar full. (Truth be told: Dating apps work well if you know how to use them. They suck if you don’t.)

Dating in Los Angeles versus San Francisco, In Conclusion:

I want to thank all of my LA matchmaker friends for contributing to this article. If you’re a local to LA and prefer to use a matchmaker to find love — don’t hesitate to reach out to Julie, Cristina, May, or Katie to help you get setup.

Or, if you’re considering hiring a coach to master your dating approach — don’t hesitate to book a new client Skype session with me. After studying dating for nearly eight years, I know what it takes to make you stand out from the competition and capture the attention of gorgeous women. And before you go, don’t forget to check out my lists of epic ideas for dating in Los Angeles and San Francisco.