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The Best Settings for Finding Love

Motivation matters, but so does lighting.

Key points

  • Couples who share similar traits likely share similar personal goals.
  • Special interest groups are great places to meet like-minded enthusiasts, but authenticity is key.
  • Smaller spaces may facilitate conversation, just not too small.
  • Research indicates quality relationships are more likely with others who share religious values.
Alex Sun/Shutterstock
Source: Alex Sun/Shutterstock

One of the most common questions happy couples are asked is: “How did you two meet?” Some people inquire during the course of polite conversation; others are enamored by the plainly observable chemistry coupled with the desire to find love themselves. The answer, according to many satisfied partners, reveals that they met doing something they both liked to do, in a setting that was conducive to rapid relational rapport.

Let There Be Light

As I describe in a previous post,[i] love at first sight requires the ability to see. Scene selection conducive to building chemistry requires a setting where you can see each other clearly. Dimly lit bars are not conducive to eye contact, which enhances self-disclosure,[ii] and the resulting sense of underexposure can thwart building trust and rapport. Outdoor activities such as sporting events or flea markets are dynamite venues to meet people in a natural setting, who likely already share common interests given the scene selection.

Craving Common Ground

Research indicates that couples who share similar traits are likely to share similar personal goals.[iii] Even the perception of shared relationship goals has been linked with quality relationships.[iv] Meetup groups and other clubs that are designed to bring together like-minded enthusiasts are always good ideas, but authenticity is key. Feigning an interest in sports to meet an athletic partner is not as satisfying in the long run as signing up for an activity, such as learning a new language, that interests you, too.

Venues That Reflect Values

Research indicates you are more likely to enjoy a quality relationship with someone who shares your religious values, both in terms of commitment and relationship quality.[v] Faith-based events include religious services as well as also other types of events such as an opening night for an inspirational new Christian movie or book tour, designed to bring together attendees who already share a common interest and values, making conversation easy.

Finessing Friendly Space

As long as you are not trapped with a space invader in a dangerous setting, smaller areas spark conversation. Sometimes it is done to decrease awkwardness, such as in an elevator (“How about this weather we are having?”); other venues encourage polite conversation when traveling together, such as sharing a ride in an Uber pool or an armrest in an airplane.

Sure, some couples meet online, others through friends, and some meet fortuitously by chance during the course of daily life. But proactivity is a powerful way to produce purposeful results. When you are looking for a lasting, quality relationship, it is worth considering where to meet someone who is likely to share your interests, vision, and values.

Facebook image: antoniodiaz/Shutterstock


[i] Where-go-first-date-why-scene-selection-matters

[ii] The-romantic-power-eye-contact.

[iii] Gray, Jacob S., and Jennifer V. Coons. 2017. “Trait and Goal Similarity and Discrepancy in Romantic Couples.” Personality and Individual Differences 107 (March): 1–5. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.11.024.

[iv] Y.E. Avivi, J.P. Laurenceau, C.S. Carver, Linking relationship quality to perceived mutuality of relationship goals and perceived goal progress Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 28 (2) (2009), pp. 137-164.

[v] Aragoni, Hannah Koch, Scott M. Stanley, Shelly Smith-Acuña, and Galena K. Rhoades. 2021. “Religiosity and Relationship Quality in Dating Relationships.” Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, June.

More from Wendy L. Patrick, J.D., Ph.D.
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