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Ask HN: Where did you meet your significant other?
57 points by qalagm on May 8, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 68 comments
My learning from past experiences is that the more women I meet and get to know, the less likely I am to stay single for long. I guess it's a basic case of supply and demand.

The problem is that ever since I graduated from college and started working at a big tech company, I've come to realize that the number of new people I'm meeting has dramatically reduced. But what concerns me is when it comes to women: I haven't even made any new girl friend (as a friend being a girl :) in the past year.

What is odd is that people around me (at work, and more generally in the Tech industry) don't seem to be more single than anywhere else.

It's getting me to my question: where did you meet your partner? Was it in college?? Do you have any advices as to where I could meet more people (I've attended a language Meetup group, but everybody was 30 years older than me)?

I met my girlfriend at a coffee shop. Previous relationship was through OkCupid, and before that, I met at 6 AM in an airport.

Where do you live? Might be easier in an urban area. I used to live in Dallas, TX, and that sucked pretty hard - meeting _anyone_ was pretty difficult. As a fairly shy/lonely person in high school, I remember my dad suggesting that I go walk the dog around the block... I'd take the dog out for a couple hours and never see a single soul, aside from people pulling straight into their garages.

I now live in Washington, DC, and it's nearly impossible to _not_ meet someone. I'll start conversations running into people on nights out, chat people up at bars/coffee shops, elevators, the gym, whatever.

I'd suggest a few things:

1) Talk to everyone. I mean _EVERYONE_. If you're used to striking up conversations impulsively, it makes it that much easier to meet someone you find attractive/interesting. If you don't, you'll likely over think things when it matters. 2) Live somewhere social, somewhere urban. Suburbia and rural places attract a certain type of people, the kind that like to pull straight into their garage and chill in their backyard, preferably oblivious of their neighbors. That certainly doesn't help your odds.

Good luck!

> Talk to everyone. I mean _EVERYONE_.


You must get good at "small talk." You must learn to actually enjoy small talk. There is no other way.

Almost everyone I know who has a hard time meeting people hates small talk. That's a problem.

If you're desperate, get a job running a cash register part time. It's the best place to practice small talk, and you'll learn to enjoy it because it makes the day go by faster.

And if you're a terribly shy person (and I know a number of geeks who are), start with something as simple as talking to the person at a checkout register or the waitperson. When they ask how you are, give a short summary, then ask them how they are doing. Try to see it as a real question rather than a greeting. Do this regularly and it will get easier and more natural.

This. Not only for meeting life partners, but also friends, business contacts, and investors.

I met my fiancee at an event in San Francisco called Nerd Nite (sf.nerdnite.com). I was waiting in line with a coworker (D) to get in, and my coworker's friend (P) showed up, and then this cute girl joins P, and we make our introductions. I thought she was dating P, but she was really into me for the rest of the night, and so the next day I FB stalked her and asked her out. It took awhile to get a response, but she finally responded and we set up a date at East Bay Nerd Nite (eastbay.nerdnite.com), and the rest is history.

My advice is generally to just go do things you think are fun. Don't go with the mindset of "maybe I'll meet someone," but instead just go with the mindset of "I'm gonna go have a good time and talk to people and generally step out of my comfort zone." And the odds are great that if you make one new friend, you'll get to meet all their friends eventually, and if you become friends with any of those people, you'll meet all those friends, and so on. It's a viral effect, basically, and eventually you'll meet some women, and eventually, one of those women will be interested in you.

And my second piece of advice is that if you decide you like a woman romantically, ask her out as soon as you make that realization. If she's a relatively new acquaintance, then if she rejects you, it's no big loss, and there's a greater chance you'll both get over it and move on. If it's an older friend, then you're risking your entire friendship (and potentially the entire group). Anyway. I digress.

TL;DR: Go do fun things, talk to everyone, even if they aren't your age.

Good luck. :)

I quite literally met my wife on a street. I was a volunteer in a strange city and she was driving by and needed directions. I had absolutely no idea how to give her directions to our donation center so she said we could stop by her apartment to pick up her donation and give her directions for future reference.

She and I started talking. I ended up coming back again to take another donation (she sure did donate a lot of stuff...). A few weeks later she was needing some help moving out of her place and I said I wouldn't mind helping. That led to even more chatting, which led to late night chatting, which led to eating together, which led to dates.

Probably far more detail than you were wanting. We've been married for just about 13 years and have numerous kids together. It wasn't really a conscious decision at first to "be together", it was more like the most natural and wonderful friendship ever.

Yours will come my friend. Be patient :) there it time.

My 10th was just over (1993) and my best friend (now deceased, 2002) took me to one of his school friend, who happened to have a huge family of sisters, cousins - who lived in a typical big large Indian Family setting.

I was introduced to quite a bunch of the siblings, cousins, etc. including my would-be partner, who was the younger sister of my friend's friend. She was studying Mathematics and was in some troubles understanding few concepts (or something like that). My friend jokingly told them that I was good with Math. Her bother and my new-found friend told me to impart some Math idea and help her out a bit. Nothing substantial happened, taught her few mathematical stuffs and how I usually approach problems.

Going forward, we all became close friends. Visits to her place became frequent - birthday parties, casual visits, et al happened. Well, that chapter closed when I moved out of my sleepy town and to one of the fastest metropolitan city in India - Bombay (1999). Everything was lost - no connections, no phones, no nothing, no news - everyone went their ways.

Forward to 2006, my small team servicing clients was approached and acqui-hired by a Valley Startup and I became one of the founding team of our first Startup. We move to a city next to Bombay. Due to some odd circumstances, that brother/friend called up and we got talking. Her sister had just graduated from engineering college and was looking for an internship. He asked me if she can intern with our company. So, she fly down to the city and worked with us.

We got married the next year - Jun 7, 2007. We, now, have a 6 year old daughter.

I think I forgot to mention that my would-be wife was once a cupid for my girlfriend who left me. I used to bribe her with ice-cream. We had no mobile phones (1997-1999).

wow thanks for sharing, that is awesome!

For me, it was in college.

By the way you've been talking about your life progression, I assume you live in the Bay Area. I also assume, from the way you've been talking, that you're interested in cis women. If so, I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you: the ratios are not in your favor there. IIRC Sunnyvale was one of the worst disparities in the country.

If this is in fact the case, the easiest (though not best) way to change your situation is to move. Since that is probably impractical, my next piece of advice is to stop looking in places that are just duplicates of where you work. I can't imagine a worse place than a language meetup group. Get some interests outside of the tech industry. Like, ideally, get something completely unrelated. This actually helps you out in several ways: not only are you going to meet more women, but you're going to meet more people in general that you wouldn't normally meet because you live in a tech bubble.

My wife is not a tech person; she worked as a supermarket clerk when I lived in the Bay Area. I don't say this because there's something special about supermarket clerks, but to point out that there are great people out there that have nothing to do with tech and if you live inside of a tech bubble the only person you're depriving is yourself.

>I can't imagine a worse place than a language meetup group.

I interpreted language meetups to mean spoken languages, particularly given the clue that everyone was 30 years older than him. Learning a foreign language is a popular retirement hobby around the world.

>I can't imagine a worse place than a language meetup group.

I used to attend such meetups in the US, and now attend them abroad, and they're pretty good for meeting more people in general (in their 20s and 30s). Not sure the reason for the dislike (did you go to a Klingon meetup?).

edit: nothing against Klingon but might not be the most female-rich environment. The fact that you might have meant computer language slipped by me, for some reason. My bad.

I think he means programming languages.

Thx. I've been to so many foreign language meetups that that's all that entered my mind upon writing my comment. Also, I met my girlfriend because I was curious about her language.

I did mean "foreign language".

I met my now fiancè in an adult social sports league which I highly recommend for social activity in general, not just romantic purposes. The league was/is adult kickball, but there are several out there that encourage solo signups and will place you on a team.

I'm inherently more inclined to not be social and prefer it that way, however, I do enjoy sports a lot which was the catalyst for joining some leagues. It doesn't have to be just for the sport and you don't have to be good at it, but it definitely encourages social interaction, plus some exercise. I won't name any leagues, but google around and you can easily find local leagues for kickball/dodgeball/volleyball/football (I recommend kickball as it really doesn't matter what your skill level is).

Feel free to drop me a line if you want more info

I'm 27, so I don't really have any life advice, but I don't appear to be far off in age than you so I think I can at least provide some anecdotal evidence.

Where you can go to meet more people?

My suggestion is to just attend events with as many of your close friends as possible. Although it won't be "dating" it will get your name/personality/face out there.

I met my soon-to-be fiancé at a happy hour from the university that we both attended in Texas. I only went to the happy hour bc my good buddies were going and I didn't have anything else planned.

We actually didn't date right from then and only kept up via random FB comments. Then one day she posted about how the only Valentine's Day card she got was from another girl and so I asked her for her address and she actually sent it to me. This led to me sending her a platonic Valentine's Day card (which is INSANELY hard to find) and she liked it so much that she reached out to me again. We have been together ever since!

One of my main tenants for living is to a.) always keep an active social circle of b.) people that I do non-tech things with. For my life, such goals provide a very positive counterbalance to the intense focus I give to my career and tech, during all of my other waking hours.

So, with this group of friends, we went on an outing to a weekend music festival. My friend got word of a shared AirBnb for the weekend, through another of his friend circles. We both joined in on the AirBnb, and it's there that I met my SO. They ended up being my friends's friend's roommate's girlfriend's friend.

Meeting people is tough and, in a way, its own full-time job. It's another job to actively date. My top suggestions are: * look to see if your college has an active alumni group, locally. if so, attend events with them (sports tailgates, cookouts, etc). * go to Meetups that interest you. go to many, and go often. * join a kickball, dodgeball, rock climbing, soccer, or any other group sport.

Continue to put forth a significant effort towards these things for 1-2 years and I promise you'll develop a solid friend circle. It's a hard process and you'll have to learn to constantly meet and interact with scores of people you simply don't mesh with, until you find the rare few people that you click really well with. Stay optimistic. As a general rule, don't say 'no' to any invitation you're given.

If you're single, I'd encourage you to meet other single friends that you can go 'be single' with (i.e. go to bars, clubs, dating and other social events to, with the intent of meeting people who may turn into an SO).

After that, it's usually a matter of time and lots of fun with your friends, until you meet an SO. For me, this whole process took about 4-5 years.

Not totally an answer to your question, but a nice section from Isaacson's biography about Jobs about how he met Paulene:

In October 1989, Jobs had agreed to give one of the "View from the Top" lectures at Stanford Business School one Thursday evening. Lauren Powell was a new graduate at business school. She arrived late and all the seats were taken, so they sat in the aisle. When an usher told them they had to move, Powell took her friend down to the front row and commandered two of the reserved seats there. Jobs was led to to the one next to her when he arrived. "I looked to my right, and there, so we started chatting while I was waiting to be introduced", Jobs recalled. They bantered a bit, and Lauren joked that she was sitting there because she had won a raffle, and the prize was that she he got to take her to dinner. "He was so adorable", she later said.

After the speech Jobs hung around on the edge of the stage chatting with students. He watched Powell leave, then come back and stand at the edge of crowd, then leave again. He bolted out after her, brushing past the Dean, who was trying to grab him for a conversation. After catching up with her in the parking lot, he said, "Excuse me, wasn't there something about a raffle you won, that I'm supposed to take you to dinner?" She laughed. "How about Saturday?" he asked. She agreed and wrote down her number. Jobs headed to his car to drive up to the Thomas Fogarty winery in the Santa Cruz mountains above Woodside, where the NeXT education sales group was holding a dinner. But he suddenly stopped and and turned around. "I thought wow, I'd rather have dinner with her than the education group, so I ran back to her car and said 'How about dinner tonight?" She said yes. It was a beautiful fall evening, and they walked into Palo Alto to a funky vegetarian restaurant, St. Micheal' s alley, and ended up staying there for 4 hours. "We've been together ever since," he said.

Met my wife in college. I was the college radio GM and she was a promoter at a local music venue. She contacted me about doing promotions and that's how it got started.

Quite frankly I would be terrified to be dating in 2015. With all of the social apps and things out there now the field is just so wide for platforms to connect.

I think the key to finding a date as a man is to just be open to it 100% of your life. There are millions of beautiful, smart capable women everywhere - all you need to do is approach them and say hello and that's it. The more things you do (sports, events, meetups etc...) the better because your exposure frequency will be higher.

In the end, if you see someone you think would be worth talking to, just go say hi, no harm there. If they don't respond then move on.

My parents and her parents set up a meeting in a temple and we said yes after 15 minutes. We are now happily married since five years. (I'm serious, arranged marriage is still popular in India).

..let me just get back on my chair. Just unbelievable. Happy that it worked out for you two.

I met my wife at church.

I wouldn't recommend going to church solely to meet someone (although some do), but if you want to meet more people going places is the first step. Church, park, gym, library, farmers market, meetups, coffee shops, sporting events, etc.

The second step, as others have said, is you have to put yourself out there and talk to people. Not in the sense of hitting on someone or asking for a date. Just talk to people and create some new relationships. It can be hard for some people (it was for me), but you'll find it really enriches your life.

Keep it simple to start. Choose a treadmill next to someone at the gym and say "hello". Ask the person buying the fava beans at the farmers market stand how they cook them. You get the idea ...

I also met my wife at church.

But, you know, don't go there just to pick up women. For that matter, don't go to the gym just to pick up women. Don't go to the farmer's market just to pick up women. That's creepy, and women don't like creeps. (At least, most women with decent judgment don't, and you don't really want to wind up with the ones who have bad judgment.)

Instead, just go do stuff. You're going to the gym? Great. Talk to the person on the next treadmill (if they're willing, not buried in their earbuds). If that person is the wrong gender, talk to them anyway - at least say hello. Learn to talk to people, not just to potential partners. Ironically, this is a useful step in finding partners...

I met my husband at a coffee shop in 1999. He is a software architect. I was reading a book at the time called "Introduction to Theoretical Quantum Computing Concepts" for fun. He saw the title of my book when I walked away from the table and wanted to meet me. He approached me and after a few hours of talking asked for my email. He ended up inviting me to take a Calculus 3 class with him at the local community college for fun. We got together a week later, were engaged within a few weeks, and married a few months after that. Moral of the story: read real books in public so people can see the cover! No kindle :-)

Coffee shops.

Nearly every single one of my girlfriends over the last 20 years I met at a coffee shop. In general, almost all of my friends I met at coffee shops.

Coffee shops are like, the perfect mix of: bar, bookstore, school lunchroom. The best place to meet people, imo.

How do you meet people in cafes?

When I go, regardless of where, almost everyone is there to be non-social while in public (ie, they get the social aspect w/o having to be social), and most are buried in their phones/laptops/textbooks, unless they're there to meet a specific person (friend or business partner).

Yeah, wifi has definitely put a damper on the traditional coffee shop vibe. Some shops are worse than others, though.

My advice is: find a busy shop with regular customers. Make friends with the baristas, and hang out near the bar when it's busy. Talk to the baristas - most will welcome this (I'm a former barista. Conversation with customers makes the day go by faster. If the baristas don't want to talk, find another shop.) You will inevitably be pulled into conversations with other customers by hanging out at the bar. It's like a conveyor belt of ever changing personalities. Eventually, people will ask you to socialize outside of the coffee shop. Success.

This always works. I've done it a number of times. When I go to a new place and don't know anyone, I find a coffee shop.

also: make sure you go on weekends - people are more willing to relax and talk when it's not during the workweek.

Tell us your ways. :P

I met my now-wife at a privacy conference in Washington, D.C. I was at the conference for work, and she was working for the summer at a non-profit group, which had sent her to the event. Both of us ended up talking at the dinner and sitting next to each other.

As for advice, other posts in this thread have offered good suggestions. In general I would look for ways to expand your potential list of acquaintances who could potentially become romantic partners: you may have been used to coming into constant contact with new people your age in college, but in the real world, that's not the norm. So learn to salsa dance. Learn to sail. Go on group bike rides.

Our ability to help you beyond generic advice is limited because you didn't include key details, like where you live, how old you are, what nationality you are (you don't sound like a native English speaker), what you do for a living, or even what sex you are. If you want better advice, be more forthcoming.

I met my ex-girlfriend (now wife) at a female friends barbecue party while living in a new city and following the rule of "I have to say yes to any invitation by anyone to anything".

My previous girlfriend and I met at a local disco, where a common friend introduced us.

In my personal experience: extended networks of friends is where it's at. YMMV.

ICQ, of all places. But it wasn't like I was not having luck with other methods. This sort of happened. Anyhow, you just have to do three simple things:

- dress nicely and appropriately for wherever you go/decide to go to socialize.

- smile and say hi, even from a distance.

- ask questions , shut up and listen.

That will get you in the door. The rest is up to the other person.

Okcupid. Worked pretty well for me as a 25~ y/o. Definitely made me more comfortable with dating and learning how to quickly recognize if there was mutual interest.

OkCupid. We got married in February.

I'm not getting paid by Match.com to say this... Besides OkCupid was still an independent company back when we met :)

At university, but we didn't start dating until 15 years after graduating. It's worthwhile keeping in touch with people. :)

As for meeting new people, the only option is to say yes to opportunities to socialise outside of your job and it's related topics. You'll only meet the same people over and over again if you don't expand your social group. Find hobbies and interests that aren't tech. To be honest, you should do that regardless. It just makes you a more interesting person.

I met mine on Tinder, 7 months ago. We moved in together last month. Before that I'd done the "normal" chatting up someone in a bar (that's how I met my ex-wife), or meeting through acquaintances.

Online dating can work really well, if you approach it the right way. I still have loads of friends among girls I met through one dating site or another as well, so it can help you find girl friends as well as a girlfriend.

i'm waiting for someone to say they met on HN...

I met my soon-to-be-wife (I say soon because we are getting married later this year) 9 years ago on Myspace believe it or not. She was friends with someone I went to school with, we had never met prior. She added me, we started speaking. We then progressed onto talking regularly over MSN Messenger, we decided to meet after talking for about 1 month and the rest is history.

Broaden your horizons.

If you just go after women in the tech industry circle, you've lowered your chances drastically.

Get a few new hobbies and interest, not just for the sole purpose of meeting new women, but really just to enjoy yourself.

By doing this, you open yourself up to a whole lot more women and they will start approaching you.

I met my girlfriend via OKCupid. We started talking, spent a few weeks messaging back and forth about interests, goals, and just generally getting to know each other than met up for the first time to go to a beer festival, had an awesome time and kept seeing each other.

I met my wife playing Dark Age of Camelot, in Muspelheim. That was about 13 years ago. Back then, it was horrifying to people to hear that we met online! Today that's somewhat normal, but back then it was very unusual.

Through mutual friends in Beijing of all places. Considering I am Australian and she from Panama it seems a very odd place. At the time I was working she she was studying.

Honestly just try online dating. You know what you are getting to a degree and anyone legitimately on there is looking for a partner so it saves embarrassing conversations. Failing that I suggest joining your local dance club. Salsa tends to attract a large amount of youngish unattached girls who will be sharing with you an interest. If nothing else you gain confidence and a useful skill while chatting away.

I met my wife at a college dance. You probably don't have much opportunity to attend many of those. More important than where we met, though, is how.

I am not so good nor interested in most "traditional" forms of dancing, but I love poi and staff spinning. I was spinning poi, she saw me, thought it was cool and wanted to learn, and we set up weekly lessons. She happened to see me at a dance, but it could just as well have happened at a park or any other random place with high ceilings. Weekly poi lessons led to dating, etc.

I'm not married, but I take dance lessons at a local community college. There are literally tons of young girls there (especially if you can man-up and do ballet). And, because it's a community college, they're generally in their 20s so there is very little threat of breaking the law on a high schooler. If you can, try to put aside your engineer's "intellectual superiority" for a moment and talk to them as simply another person, the experience can be very fruitful.

How many girls from the ballet class have you been involved with?

OkCupid - anecdotal, but it seemed like an overall more interesting/intellectually stimulating pool on OkC vs. some of the others.

Instead of trivia I would recommend you this link and specially the author's uncommon formula for dating success:


I'm getting married in one week to a girl I met at a Startup Weekend! Totally worth the ticket price.

I met my wife in a nightclub in Argentina. I just cold approached her, introduced myself and started talking about very nerdy intellectual stuff. She was very intelligent and liked the same stuff. We kept in touch after that and it worked out great.

Met the ex on a MUD while in college. Met the wife at a dog show of all places.

I think a book store like Barnes & Noble might be a good idea. Another good idea is a sports event, be it a Crossfit training or a bootcamp where you can go for drinks afterwards. Good luck! :)

At Comdex--back when there was a Comdex--at a press conference, shortly after her boss-Scott McNealy--told me I'd just asked him the dumbest question he'd ever heard.

Long-defunct dating site emode. Two prior relationships were from college and from the Usenet newsgroup soc.singles.moderated, both back in the '90s.

I met both my wife and my girlfriend on OkCupid.

finger and talk (as in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_(software))

There were 500 miles between us. She approached me. It would be a whole summer before we met f2f because she went to nanny in Europe. (Not my current SO.)

Grad school. A graduate program in the humanities is literally the best place in the world to meet interesting women.

Met my fiancee in Hunter's safety class in middle school. We've been together 11.5 years now.

I met my wife at work - we were both product managers at an advertising startup.

Current GF: Tinder Previous GF: OkCupid ... First Girlfriend: IRC

You can see the pattern.

I met her on reddit. We've been living together for a year now.

i met him on twitter :) he was running a local, craft beer twitter account that i was following and i attended one of the "meetups" he hosted. that was 5 years ago.

Met my wife on OkCupid, about 5 years ago.

At the park when I was 16.

Freshman year at a party.



I met my - now ex- - wife when she sent me an email to commend me for publishing my first web page about being manic-depressive.

It wasn't that she fell in love with me over that page, but because we began to correspond regularly, then I worked up the nerve to ask her phone number, then to tell her I was attracted to her then - before we'd even met in person - to tell her that I loved her.

I've met three girlfriends when they were fellow patients in psychiatric hospitals. One of them we started dating after we were discharged, two of them we carried on right there in the ward.

The last girlfriend I had, I asked her for a lift home after we met at a gas station at three in the morning. I really wasn't looking for romance that night, I really was tired and didn't want to walk home.

I meet girls everywhere, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, school, the list goes on.

If one catches my eye and shows me interest, I approach her. I might just make a joke or give her a slight compliment, however the situation presents itself.

Then I ask her name and go from there...

I'll have to charge you for the rest of the game. ;-)

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