Are first dates go­ing ex­tinct?

We’ve swapped date night for Net­flix and chill, but it could be leav­ing us in ‘love limbo’

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

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.


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 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.


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!


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...


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