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Romantic couple | © freestocks.org / Pexels
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A Single’s Guide to Dating in Delhi, India

Picture of Mridu Rai
Updated: 10 December 2017

There are over 18 million people in Delhi, yet finding love here isn’t as easy as one would imagine. Delhites have the unfortunate reputation of being a bit snobbish and uncongenial at times. But once you break that tough exterior, you’ll realise that they are all heart. That’s why patience, persistence and perseverance are key when it comes to dating in Delhi. There are many eligible single men and women in the city, and they’re all looking for ‘the one’. So, why not let this guide play the perfect matchmaker?

A helpful tip to start with

According to a Tinder survey, released just before Valentine’s Day 2017, men and women in India have different priorities when it comes to choosing their partner. While humour is a top draw for women, appearance comes first for men. For Indian women, the desired qualities include a sense of humour (24.5%), shared values and interests (24%), intelligence (22.9%) and finally, good looks (20.9%). When it comes to their male counterparts, good looks (30.6%) comes above all else, followed by a sense of humour (25.2%) and then shared values and interests (24.1%).

Be as social as you can

A tried-and-tested formula for finding love in Delhi is through common friends. Talking to strangers, let alone smiling at them, isn’t a common practice in Delhi. If you go up to someone and start chatting them up, the person will most likely be alarmed and instantly keep their guard up. But it’s a whole different story when you’re introduced to a stranger through a friend or even an acquaintance. So while binging on Netflix in your cosy pyjamas on a Friday night sounds tempting, if you want to find that special someone, you need to get out and socialise more often. Make plans for dinner, drinks, movies, or any activity that interests you, and tell your friends, relatives or colleagues to invite their other single pals. It does take a touch more work to find a soulmate, but when you do come across one, it will be worth the effort.

Upstage Cinema at Roseate House | © Roseate House

Volunteer for a cause

Delhi has a lot of places where you can volunteer during your free hours. Not only will you be giving back to society but you also might find someone who is genuinely passionate about the same causes that you are. Plus, any person who’s taking time out to volunteer is one who has a good heart. It’s a positive way to start a relationship. Whether it’s an animal shelter such as Friendicoes and Umeed for Animals Foundation or NGOs who work with underprivileged children, including Katha and Salaam Balak, working with your local community is one of the best ways to socialise with like-minded individuals.

Animals at Friendicoes shelter | © Friendicoes

Join a meet-up group

For any relationship to work out, it’s always important that partners share similar interests. Meet-up groups help you find like-minded people with whom you can enjoy your hobbies. Travel, food, photography, fitness, films, book clubs – name an interest and Delhi will offer a number of active groups that you can join.

Backpackers Club of Delhi is a popular group that regularly organises hiking, camping and climbing expeditions. For those who love biking, you might fancy signing up for the Delhi Cycling Club. If you’re an adventurous and outdoorsy kind of a person, these groups are perfect for you. There’s also a Science Fiction & Fantasy meet-up group for anyone into the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien and Neil Gaiman. The options are plentiful. Check out all the groups you might be interested in on Meetup.

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Hiking in Himachal Pradesh | © solarisgirl / Flickr

Attend singles events

Companies such as Floh and A World Alike organise regular curated events for single people in the city. These mixers are exclusive and invitation-only. From masquerade balls to cocktail-making classes and vintage car tours, the concept events allow a unique shared experience. But these upscale singles events don’t come easy or cheap. In order to become a member of these groups, you need to go through a rigorous screening process, which includes a background check and interview. As for membership fees, they can easily go up to Rs. 50,000 (£580). But they’ve become quite popular with young and affluent professionals in the capital. So, in the end, it could be worth shelling out the cash.

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Cocktails | © Burst / Pexels

Dating apps are always at hand

Although still in its nascent stages, dating apps seem to be all the rage now. While it’s easy to connect with plenty of singles through apps such as Tinder, these come with their own set of drawbacks. After all, it’s hard to judge a person by appearance alone. A stunning photograph can make a great first impression, but after meeting them in person, all the excitement can come crashing down. But scepticism aside, there are, no doubt, some success stories in the world of Tinder. The important thing here is to manage expectations and be a bit more open-minded. Other sought-after dating apps in Delhi are TrulyMadly, OkCupid, Woo and Happn.

Final words of advice

It’s important to understand that dating scenes vary from country to country. When in Delhi, it would be good to remember to respect cultural sentiments before you approach anyone. Being too brazen too soon can quickly ruin your chances. Also, remember to be patient and don’t give up too fast. All good things do take time. If it doesn’t work out with one, just follow this guide all over again.