What Is Dating Like In San Francisco: SF Dating Scene, Is Dating in the San Francisco As A Man/Woman Hard? Is Dating In San Francisco Hard?


In the city where people love to complain about everything from scooters, to Uber/UPS blocking bike lanes, incorrect DoorDash orders, vests, nudists, delayed MUNI lines, price of avocado toast, lack of late night cafe culture, tourists to high rents, it’s no wonder that dating is at or near the top of people’s lists of gripes.

Guys would rather blame apps and gender ratios than work on themselves. Women overly invest themselves in time wasters and fail to ignore red flags in profiles, messaging and date ideas.

The people that complain the most are the ones inflicting the most self-sabotage, lack self-awareness, unwilling to work on themselves or lack the patience needed to address their lifestyle choices, hobbies, interests, first impressions, biases, effort and technique.


Dating In San Francisco, Dating Scene, Culture San Francisco

I have seen it all. Matchmakers hire me to take photos for clients. Therapists hire me to help their clients with apps and modern dating culture. Stylists hire me to help their clients with their dating woes. Mothers hire me to help their sons become less socially awkward. Read more about me here.

Be sure to check out my weekly newsletter below for curated one-off events, pop-ups and date ideas each week. Similarly, check out the local Facebook group dedicated to help women ID players, liars, abusers and more (bottom of the page).


For those seeking help with their dating woes, check out my dating services for men & women here. Services span on where to live, places to meet singles, grooming, styling, lifestyle choices, hobbies, interests, conversation skills, help with dating apps, photos, app choice, screening people & identifying blind spots.

My specialty is working with introverted men, engineers, people of color, successful women and those seeking relationships.

Related read: Where To Meet Singles In The San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Painted Ladies Skyline View, Sunset, Alamo Square

Where To Meet Single Men, Women In San Francisco

Demanding work schedules, long commutes, San Francisco men who suffer from Peter Pan syndrome, guys who don’t approach women offline, and a shortage of women are some of the most commonly referenced reasons for such frustration among single folks in San Francisco.

Although different from New York, Seattle and Los Angeles, San Francisco has a few overlapping similarities that frustrated single people experience on a regular basis.

Dating in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s starts to become similar yet harder over time. Some people evolve, and better themselves yet do not know how to be vulnerable, dress well, be present, flirt nor plan a fun date. In contrast, others lean on their achievements and profiles but are dull, uninteresting, and socially awkward.

Even if you are in a relationship, meeting other couples in San Francisco can be tough.

Your job title, wealth, the company where you work, and the number of Instagram followers are poor indicators for dating success. Relying on social circles for confirmation bias is a poor strategy.

Just because you are physically attractive doesn’t mean you have the personality, character and moral fiber to attract people of quality.

Many folks here in San Francisco have stunted emotional IQ’s and thus don’t know how to identify red flags and keep attracting the wrong people in their lives.

There are a number of trends that make dating in San Francisco harder than in other places beyond just gender ratios (scroll down to view some male-to-female gender ratios by different regions in the Bay Area).

I am not here to repeat those familiar reasons, but rather explain some driving forces behind those factors, as well as introduce some additional reasons specifically related to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley that contribute to this current ecosystem of frustration.

Read: Where To Meet Singles In SF (Bars & More)


Dating In SF: On-Demand App Culture, Tech/Engineers

No other city in the world is quite like San Francisco. It is not unheard of to commute for 2-3 hours a day to/from work; couple that with the technology hotbed of Silicon Valley, you get the perfect melting pot for on-demand culture.

Whether it is 2-3 hour commutes in private buses vs public transportation, need to be constantly on call or adhering to the work hard, play hard culture, employees are not only burning out more quickly, but they are having fewer opportunities for organic, spontaneous interactions with strangers.

There are on-demand apps for meals, lunch, dog-sitters, babysitters, snacks, coffee orders, hook-ups, cabs, restaurants, beauty services and more. If you are relying on apps for everything, that will severely stunt your social skills over time.

No more lunches outside the office, no more coffee breaks down the street, no more walking to the grocery store to meet that cute girl in the produce section, no more waiting at the bus stop.

Instead, you have people on their phones constantly, employees trapped in the office for longer periods, and more folks with AirPods permanently lodged in their ears.

These subtle conveniences of on-site cafeterias, gyms, daycare and happy hours have greatly reduced interaction with casual strangers outside your office.

Employees at these large companies are pressured to work longer days and delay lifestyle decisions such as having kids (as evident in offering freezing eggs as a perk) or take reduced salaries in exchange for better work-life balance.

In San Francisco, free time is a luxury and people turn to apps to streamline their needs regularly, and it’s not just for necessities.

The ‘Have It Your Way’ options embedded in these apps enable people to feel that anything is available with just a few clicks and that definitely led to poor experiences and expectations on dating apps. 

Read: Online Dating Apps San Francisco

Where To Meet Singles In The Bay Area

Best places to meet singles, popular bars to meet men & women, activities, hobbies, and venues to meet single women and men in the Bay Area.


San Francisco Bay Area Dating Scene, Culture

Unlike other parts of the country where the weather can expedite the cuffing season during the cold months, the Bay Area has no shortage of climates, weekend trips, and activities to keep people busy.

Ski trips to Tahoe, waterfall hikes to Alamere Falls, wine-tasting in Sonoma, camping in Yosemite, oyster binges at Hog Island – you start to get the idea.

There is plenty to do and no shortage of people to do these things with to keep you busy as a single person.

If you log onto a dating app, there is no shortage of travelers on said dating apps – everyone has been to Iceland and Machu Picchu. Be it for work or pleasure, many folks in San Francisco are constantly traveling across the country or across the globe.

Fewer people actually live here full-time, and companies like Airbnb have made it easier for folks to rent out their place on weekends and live elsewhere.


Is San Francisco Good For Singles? Is Dating In San Francisco Hard?

Even if you manage to stay in the city, there are endless activities to indulge a never grow up mindset from SantaCon, Folsom Street Fair, food trucks, weekend flip cup games, Frisbee Golf, Bay to Breakers, video game arcade bars and more.

There is always something going on every day in San Francisco that FOMO is evident in those unable to commit to plans beyond this weekend which makes planning dates impossible.

Who wants to give up a weekend away to go on a bad date? Who wants to be spotted on an awkward date by co-workers? Those who work in demanding tech and start-up jobs either don’t have the time to go on dates during the week after work or don’t want to give up their weekend of relaxing and getting caught up on chores, friends etc.

The other characteristic of San Francisco and the Bay Area that has hindered dating is geography, transportation, and climate.

Cities like NYC and other major cities have greatly expanded dating diameters to cross rivers, boroughs and neighborhoods. It’s not uncommon for individuals to be overly selective and not date someone on the other side of Van Ness or Market streets.

Similarly, daily drop in temperature, tall hills and relaxed work cultures have led to people dressing too casually or heading home early because it is too cold or windy. A vest or pullover is considered dressing up in San Francisco these days (sigh).

When was the last time you saw a guy in a suit that was not a bank teller or real estate agent? Women in dresses and heels – forget about it. You would be surprised how many heads you can turn if you dressed up as you did in NYC.


How To Stand Out In San Francisco

Vests, flip-flops, company t-shirts, cargo pants, northface fleece, uncombed hair – these are stereotypes about men in SF but it is observed every day in SF. Dressed up in SF consists of Bonobos, Allbirds, StitchFix, Banana Republic and Trunk Club.

When guys want to dress up, it often means dressing loudly and not elegantly and with sophistication and purpose but rather look at this person craving attention.

This goes for women as well. Lack of heels, sundresses, makeup and confidence that women who are used to receiving attention like in NYC are evident in San Francisco.

Weather, professions, hills – blame what you will but it’s hard for either gender to dress up for the other leading to the vicious downward cycle of entries in Midtown Uniform Hall of Fame.

To stand out in San Francisco, one has to get out of their comfort zone and be unique. First impressions are everything and dressing up like a post from Midtown Uniform will not get you noticed in San Francisco. Your body is a billboard, you can choose how or if to market who you are on a daily basis.

Read: Silicon Valley Image – Tech Bro Stereotypes


Dating As A Straight Woman/Man SF vs NYC

There is a lot more eye candy in New York City. Better dressed men in suits, and more attractive women in heels and summer dresses. This is partly due to density, and population but also industries (finance, law, fashion, advertising, media, real estate – mostly people-facing industries).

It’s easy to meet people in NYC – everyone is out and about, later bar hours, much more extroverts in NYC, small apartments lead to more time in public, and you are never alone in the city. Some male clients of mine often decide to relocate to NYC (from the Bay Area) in their 20s specifically for dating.

With that said, even though it’s easier to meet people, it’s harder to date and stay in relationships in NYC because of temptation, fluidity of people coming and going as well as hustle mentality.

No one is dilly-dallying in NYC – if you snooze you lose (passed on the streets, missed subway trains, ignored bar orders etc.). People are fighting for space at the intersections of every street so they don’t get stuck behind others. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in New York.

Is it easier to date in SF or NYC? That really depends on your lifestyle, what you seek, what you are willing to prioritize, how you dress and present yourself and how you take what you want. It’s all about evolving your skills to optimize for the environment and opportunities in front of you.

Related read: Dating In Silicon Valley | Seattle | Austin  | Los Angeles  | NYC  |  Chicago


Dating In Your 30s In San Francisco – Dating In The Bay Area

Dating in your 30s can be brutal in SF. So many questions arise that you can’t put off any longer. Am I moving back home? Do I want kids? Should I end this relationship I am in that is not going anywhere but I feel comfortable in?

Most people can plan for job promotions, buying a home, etc but can’t plan for love, relationships and marriage the same way. Those things are more qualitative and can’t be rushed.

Most people want to date for a while and have fun before settling down rather than get hitched asap. If you treat dating like an interview or try to get someone to commit, it can come off as abrasive.

If you are serious about marriage and kids you should start dating with intent earlier in life to avoid stress, timing later on in life.

Sure there are examples of your friend getting married in their late 30s / early 40s after dating someone for 6 months but that is rare and they are likely really attractive, emotionally available, prioritize dating, settle for their partner or know how to screen profiles and read people well – these are rare exemptions, not the norm.

Even if you find the right person, things can change. Divorce happens. Moving to the burbs, having kids, becoming a single income family, and spending more time with in-laws can add stress to relationships that didn’t exist before.

These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when deciding if this person is the one? People do not get married in a bubble – things change and those items change the relationship.

Full List Of My Dating Services: Read This.


Hookup Culture in San Francisco: Hookup Bars

Not everyone in San Francisco is looking to date, get into a relationship (or at least with you). Many people are bad at communication or commitment. They will take what they can get, and categorize people as hookup material vs relationship material.


Married Men On Dating Apps & ENM Lifestyles San Francisco

Just because someone has seeking relationship on Hinge, Bumble or the League doesn’t mean they don’t have a hookup profile on Tinder or Feeld.

There are lots of married men on apps and at bars. San Francisco is a strong ENM/non-monogamous community. Unless you ask, get to know people, you can’t assume anything.

Others don’t know what they want or deal with anxiety and difficult conversations and situations make it hard for them to move past casual flings.

Similarly, some bars and dating apps cater to hookups rather than something more serious. It helps to know the differences in the apps, what your photos signal, how to screen profiles/read people and not assume anything. 

Read: Is Bumble A Hookup App?


Dating Apps For Professionals, Intellectuals, Educated Singles

The best dating sites for professionals and what you should be aware of when contemplating using any of dating apps marketed for educated singles, wealthy individuals.


Dating As A Woman in San Francisco, Living In SF As A Single Woman

Some difficulties dating as a woman in SF are not so unique/specific to the city. I encourage all women to read this post about dating to see if there are blinders on, red flags being missed or subtle signaling you are not aware of that is is affecting your dating life.

A lot of women are too trusting early or pre-qualify men before spending time with them. It’s important to be optimistic but not assume anything.

Some guys may not have the same intentions as you or are dating because they are lonely or using you as a practice date.

Related Read: He’s Just Not That Into You  |  Best Dating Apps For Women


Dating As A Black Woman In San Francisco, Dating In The Bay Area

Dating can be tough in a place like San Francisco, but it’s especially tough for black women. I worked with a number of black women over the years and many of them made drastic life decisions to move out of the area altogether or move from places like Palo Alto and San Francisco to more diverse cities like Oakland.

If you believe the statistics in studies about attractiveness on dating apps, Asian men and black women have the hardest times on dating apps.

Despite San Francisco being ‘diverse’ and praised for it’s progressiveness, there is some racism and segregation going on along with a displacement of the black middle class.

Deleted OkCupid Attractiveness Study

It’s tough and while I am hesitant to recommend moving out of SF, it would be misleading for me to say that isn’t something people have resorted to.

San Francisco is an island and many folks don’t like to leave the city to date others. If you do, or are willing to, your options will increased but don’t expect others to make the trek.

I have received similar observations from others dating in DC, LA, Seattle as a black woman. Some African-American women are traveling outside the country to places like Italy to find love.

There is a lot of data to sift through but one observation I have noticed is that black men are twice as likely to marry outside their race or ethnicity as black women. Being open to dating is certainly helpful but that doesn’t solve all the problems that exist out there.

Read: Harsh Reality Of Online Dating


How To Date In San Francisco, Is San Francisco Good For Dating

For those that are aware of the challenges of dating in San Francisco as well as the daily trade-offs they make through their job, priorities and lifestyle, there is hope.

Get off your phone, take off your AirPods, go out for lunch, buy your own groceries, talk to a stranger, don’t turn down an invitation to go out with a friend, cancel your Netflix account, take public transportation instead of taking a Lyft – go outside your comfort (and convenience) zone.

Take a new class, find a new route to take home, sit at the communal table, volunteer at a non-profit that resonates with your passions, sit alone at the bar, explore that new exhibit at the museum, don’t wait for friends in order to make plans and instead learn to do things on your own.

Be vulnerable, take a chance to say hello to someone new, or just smile – you might be surprised who you might meet next time you are out and about.

It’s hard to engage in conversation if you don’t have much to talk about or if you don’t leave your home outside of work. Common experiences, unique life choices, positivity and curiosity fuel conversations – don’t expect someone to lift you from your rut.

Don’t let your past interaction or relationship hinder your ability to give the next person you meet a chance to wow you.

Read: How To Meet People In San Francisco

More on dating in Silicon Valley here.

Best Places, Bars & Events To Meet Singles In SFWhere To Meet Men/Women In San Francisco


Is SF Awful For Single Straight Men? San Francisco Stereotypes

Yes, it can be if you are socially awkward, lack basic communication skills, have no sense of style, are not that interesting, or have unrealistic expectations i.e. you think you deserve to date models because you are a founder/CEO.

Just because companies kiss your butt as an engineer, doesn’t mean women owe you anything. Women are outpacing men with advanced degrees, they are less likely to put up with bad behavior and boys suffering from Peter Pan syndrome.

It’s harder for single guys who have bad photos, are short, are people of color, don’t know how to have a conversation, have no interesting hobbies and interests, are recent immigrants or treat dating like ordering food on Doordash.

There is always room for improvement offline and online, but few men seek it out. If you spend all your life in your job, career and friend circles, you may struggle with dating. Dating takes practice, focus and effort. Just like people hire financial planners, career coaches, tutors etc. guys are hiring people like me to help them with their dating woes. See the full list of services here.

Related read: Are You Ready To Date? 


Are We Dating The Same Guy San Francisco & Bay Area 


The idea here is to compare notes, call out players and liars and prevent harassment, stalking and the like. Use at your own risk.

Related read: How To Do Your Own Background Check


Dating In San Francisco: 666 Is Now The 678

Best Dating Sites In SF, Best Dating Apps In San Jose, Bay Area

Intent is more varied than ever. Some apps are viewed as more casual and hookup oriented, while others claim to be relationship focused but don’t do a good job of screening folks.

Unfortunately, apps and technology companies like UberEats and Amazon have altered the mindset of all consumers thinking they can get exactly what they want with a few swipes and clicks. However, dating apps are not like food-ordering or other shopping apps, they are merely introduction apps.

Dating apps should not be expected to screen users, filter out creeps nor weed out hook-up focused individuals – nothing will nor should replace the due diligence and social skills needed to analyze people and profiles, ask questions, be patient and meet in person.

No dating app is perfect but there are some great dating apps out there if you know how to approach them, know which photos are effective, know how to write a bio and have realistic expectations based on your own looks, education, height, age and location.

For those that like to meet people the old fashioned way, check out this post on meeting people in San Francisco.

Tinder vs Bumble vs Hinge: Dating App Comparison

Online Dating In The Bay Area, Best Dating Apps San Francisco

For a custom recommendation on which apps to use (if any), let’s talk. Best apps depend on age, location, gender, orientation, lifestyle, hobbies, politics, religion and other variables.

Dating In SF (TL;DR), Dating In San Francisco

If you didn’t read above, that is part of the reason why you may be struggling with dating. Too many people are looking for hacks/shortcuts. It takes time to meet quality people.

  • Don’t rely on apps for all or even most of your dating efforts.
  • Be approachable (grooming, hygiene, wardrobe, posture, wardrobe)
  • Expand hobbies/interests beyond gender-dominated, solo and homebody activities.
  • Build good friendships/community. Having no friends will make it nearly impossible to date.
  • Do things on your own (check out events, dine at bar seats of restaurants, volunteer, take classes)
  • Learn to read people (not just the way they make you feel but how they treat you, prioritize you, how they act in times of adversity)
  • Straight men: stop blaming gender ratios (that is not the only thing holding you back; see above); some women do like to be approached in public but not all the time, not by creepy men – learn to read people!
  • Straight women: stop blaming men; cut them off sooner, be more selective, cut off time wasters sooner, learn to respect/love yourself as it’s hard to expect others to do so more than you do for yourself).

These bullet points are overly simplified tips to for improving your dating life. For a deep dive of your life including social circles, hobbies, first impressions, wardrobe, social skills, availability, local hangouts, body language, screening process and more, get in touch today.

Related read: Date Nights Ideas SF, Romantic Restaurants San Francisco


New Blog - Modern Dating By Eddie

This blog is for those that are new to dating, have little experience dating, are confused by ‘the rules’, keep making the same mistakes or are frustrated with dating in today’s culture.

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). He helps w/ profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & offline efforts.