You might have heard that dating in Hong Kong is akin to dating in New York. Full of pitfalls, hurdles, tears with the odd triumph thrown in just often enough so as not to make you lose hope. Hong Kong’s fast-paced and transient nature often means that after the work parties have finished, more and more people are staggering home to an empty bed. The very style of the city breeds loneliness and this is reflected in the often brutal dating scene that many expats fall victim to.
Hong Kong is unique in that it not only embraces modern technology but it also keeps a toe dipped in the past, evidenced by the growing proliferation of bespoke luxury matchmakers that jostle for business alongside dating apps.
The biggest complaint about dating in Hong Kong is that people simply don’t stick around long enough to get to know someone well. This leads to a vicious cycle of one night stands and casual encounters that may be brimming with passion but lack somewhat in the romantic stakes. People simply don’t have time to nurture intimacy anymore and human relationships lack closeness in a city that is characterised by its temporary nature.
Many complain that Hong Kong is a place to find a bed partner for the night, but not a life partner. Love has simply been tossed out of the equation. On average, nearly two million Facebook users located in Hong Kong have their relationship status set to ‘single’. Dating apps regularly report that their users residing in Hong Kong are among the most active in the world.
What does this mean for dating in Hong Kong? One of the obvious setbacks is that there is simply so much on offer that daters may toss over a perfectly acceptable match simply for the hope of finding something or someone better. If your date doesn’t work out, you can be back online within minutes to find your next fix. The field is much wider than ever before and there’s no real hard work put into swiping left or right. At the press of a few buttons, you could be setting up your next encounter.
The workaholic environment of Hong Kong doesn’t help matters much. People are now accustomed to working and living alone. In a cut-throat business world, family and love fall far down the scale of priorities. Expressing vulnerability in any sense of the word is just not the done thing, less and less so with our ceaseless competition to have the best life on Facebook.
Hong Kong also never stops. There is simply no space for downtime here, unless you count an hour in one of the day spas that dot the city. Even when the working day is officially finished, it never really ends. There are afterwork drinks, networking events, training courses, conferences, business trips and meetings. Lack of time is not the biggest enemy. It’s a lack of presence. Hong Kong residents are often accused of lacking presence, that even making time for another person doesn’t always mean being there, even when you are both in the same room.
Hyper ambition often means that interpersonal relationships simply do not happen outside of the office. Again, this leaves little time for anything else but it also means exacerbates the ‘can I do better?’ question. Upgrading doesn’t mean a bigger house or a promotion anymore. Partners can also be trophies and being second-rate just doesn’t cut the mustard. Sadly. Accepting and enjoying what we have becomes near impossible when we fall into this mindset.
However, all hope is not dead. For every nightmare dating story you hear, you can also find a romantic dream come true if you look hard enough. If nothing else, dating in Hong Kong can be immensely fun and you are exposed to meeting a huge amount of people. This can be great for networking, if nothing else. And remember, that everyone else is in the same boat.