Funny, I've always found it really easy to meet people in Columbus. Almost too easy. A lot does have to do with one's mindset, and what kind of energy you're projecting. When I haven't met the type of people that I wanted I've usually found it's me that's the problem.
True, the singles scene for those in their 30s and 40s is weak, but it's more of a family town, a place to settle down, so that makes sense, but it's still easy to navigate.
Honestly though, I rarely even think about age. I don't understand why people fixate on that in this day and age. Act as old as you feel. I just go and circulate where interesting people (to me) congregate in any city, and that seems to work. I'll be 40 years old this year. Most of my Columbus friends are in their 20s, early 30s, and a significant portion are on the other end of the spectrum, 50plus.
Why miss out?
Like yourself, I've lived in a lot of cities, and if one thing is for it's this - people are always gonna bitch about their city. It's what a lot of people do, bitch about the city they're living in.
The biggest problem in relationship to this discussion is a cultural one.
There is a huge sensitivity to criticism of the city of Columbus in Columbus. If you're an outsider criticizing something forget about it. You're done. It's reflected all over this board, in the the obligatory chorus of "if you don't like it, leave" cliches. You don't find that attitude as much in bigger cities. You find it in small towns.
Obviously that attitude though, isn't entirely unique to Columbus - the like it or leave it attitude, but I find that attitude and everything that goes with it to be a big problem.
You're basically chasing talent out of the city.
It could be a scientist who has the cure for cancer, an immigrant who creates a startup that becomes the next Google, a bus driver, a teacher that makes a massive difference in your child's life or a Wendy's line cook.
It doesn't matter, you need people of all stripes and skills and that attitude chases away talent.
Lastly, it's amazing to me that more people haven't woken up to the fact that the entire world is in a battle for brilliant brains. World class cities, and countries for that matter, which are a magnets for talent are the cities that will win, not towns built on a foundation of group think and lack of brutal, intellectual honesty that chases talent away.
I have lived in Columbus and major cities out west, and east coast. I found Columbus to be a much harder place in which to meet people. People in Columbus aren't as welcoming. A girl from Atlanta I met when I first moved here said she and her husband found the same thing. Her saying was that they found people were "filled up with friends" and weren't interested in adding new friends. Perhaps easier for people in their 20s straight out of college, but not singles in their 30s or 40s.