Are first dates going extinct?
We’ve swapped date night for Netflix and chill, but it could be leaving us in ‘love limbo’
Considering there are millions of single people in Australia , you’d think every cool date spot from Sydney to Perth would be packed with twosomes meeting for the first time. Shockingly, not so. In fact, only 44 per cent of singles went on an official first date last year *
That raises the question: When did the first date begin to die off? In the past several years, as it started to take on a more serious meaning, says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist. ‘The first date is now seen as an expenditure of time, money and energy,’ she explains. ‘Instead, couples are starting out as friends or friends with benefits and getting to know each other or having sex before actually going out to dinner.’
Keeping things lowkey (‘hey, you should come to this party...’) doesn’t take much commitment, which, for many, seems ideal in an appheavy and flaky dating culture.
But here’s the truth: If you’re looking for a love that will last longterm, going on a real first date – as in, meeting oneonone in a public place at a certain time with an actual agenda – is still one of the best ways to find it. Allow the experts to explain why.
THERE ARE NO MIXED MESSAGES
Unlike an agreement to chill (which can be seen as a friendzoning or hookup move), making an official plan with someone screams, This is a date! ‘It sets expectations that you’re both looking for something more than a fling,’ says Justin Garcia, a sex researcher. And research shows that couples who make intentional decisions about romantic transitions early on end up having more successful marriages than those who take a more vague approach. So if you’re unsure whether an invite to grab a burger is an askout, respond, ‘Is this a date?’ to establish that it, indeed, is.
THE ANTICIPATION IS EXCITING
The buildup to that first big rendezvous – when you pick out an outfit and make your way to the agreedupon spot – is like foreplay, says Keren Eldad, a certified life coach. Let this solo time be filled with hope and optimism. ‘People who approach dating positively come off as fun and excited, and that’s attractive,’ says Eldad. Try listening to upbeat music or meditating to into a happy mindset.
YOU CAN CONFIRM YOUR ATTRACTION
By showing up, you and your date are insinuating that you want to pursue your initial interest and see if there’s a romantic spark, says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash, author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing). Obviously, meeting in real life doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll vibe, but it’s much more promising than staying in texting purgatory, trust us!
THERE’S STILL VERY LITTLE PRESSURE
When you approach a date realistically and are able to appreciate it as just an hour or two spent getting to know someone, you realise there’s no need to stress about the outcome. In letting yourself enjoy the moment, ‘you start to see dating for what it is: a process,’ explains Eldad. If you’re not feeling it, you don’t have to see them again. But if you do like them, then the fun may just be getting started...
IT’S BEEN SO LONG... IS HE GETTING THE BILL?!