London is one of the most metropolitan cities on the planet. In an ideal world, the great mixture of cultures should make the city the perfect place to mix and socialise, but in truth it is a very lonely place for many and has gained the nickname The Lonely City.
A poll commissioned by BBC London in 2012 found that more than a quarter of Londoners feel lonely often or all of the time. 28% of the people who were polled also said that there was little or no sense of a community in their part of the city.
As a result, many are turning to online dating, but the general feeling is that applications such as Tinder are mostly used for short-term flings.
But do apps really work and is logging on the solution to ridding London of its (rather depressing!) title? I spoke to chartered psychologist Rachel MacLynn and founder of the Vida Consultancy about her thoughts on the subject.
“There are now so many dating sites and apps available that people are becoming overwhelmed with the volume of platforms through which to advertise themselves, never mind the number of single people available. Psychologists have found that having too much choice can lead to a feeling of worry that the selection will be wrong. Like a kid in a sweet shop, there is a tendency to want to keep looking, even when we have found someone amazing to meet.
It becomes a vicious cycle, of looking through vast quantities of profiles, finally finding someone who interests you and vice versa, but the encounter doesn’t develop beyond a few dates because you suddenly find yourself window shopping again, just in case something ‘better’ might be out there. As a result, people find themselves being almost hooked to using dating sites/Apps and struggle to transition into a relationship. This, coupled with all the usual complaints about online dating – people not looking like their photos etc, means that internet dating is a lacking in efficiency. As a result, those looking for commitment find themselves feeling increasingly lonely and frustrated.
“Matchmaking is at the opposite end of the dating industry spectrum. I find that many single people in london don’t know how to recognise the ideal match, when it crosses their path, so opportunities for lasting love, passes them by. Finding a life partner is arguably one of the biggest life goals we set for ourselves, but few people define this goal before setting about achieving it.
At Vida, our matchmakers place a lot of emphasis on helping our clients to define their ideal partner, particularly in terms of shared values and aspirations. This ensures they are looking in the right direction and ultimately increases our chances of matchmaking with success. Our service is delivered with the use of simple coaching techniques – helping our clients to think, reflect and focus on each introduction.“
Rachel adds “London is a great place to explore but only if you have someone to do it with. If you analyse the types of people who populate the city, it is obvious that many will have very modest social circles. London is full of successful business people who have progressed due to hard work, but often at the expense of their personal lives”
Interesting observations on a capital brimming with people, but so often lacking in genuine connections and interaction. And, where I do think that matchmaking and online dating both have their place, one thing I do know for sure, is that we should all spend less time staring down at our phones and more time getting to know our proverbial neighbour!
Lonely city? It is only ever what you make it …