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The dating game

GoHen.com’s UK Dating Survey Results


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First dates, they’re either the story you’ll happily tell your grandchildren about when they ask “How did you and Grandpa meet?” Or the horror story that will have you cringing as you tell your friends.

GoHen polled over 40,000 men and women to find out the truth about first dates.

  • Where should you go?
  • What counts most as a first impression?
  • What exactly should or shouldn’t people say on their internet dating profiles?

Popping The Dating Question

While we might be living in a digital age asking someone on a date is still predominantly done face to face.

  • 54% of our poll stated that they had last asked/been asked out on a first date in person.
  • 16.4% were asked out online (email/social media/dating website).
  • 14.7% via text while 9.1% of dates are arranged by a mutual friend doing the asking.

What Is The Most Important Thing In The First 30 Seconds?

First Dates

First impressions

First Date Dos & Don’ts

Best Things a First Date Should Do

We found that both men and women are hoping for the same thing from their first date, someone who can make them laugh. Secondly singles are looking for someone who is interesting and crucially is interested in them, so when on a first date make sure you take time to ask questions.

  1. Make your date laugh.
  2. Be interesting.
  3. Be interested in him/her.

Top 3 Worst Things a First Date Could Be…

Top 3 Male Turn Offs Top 3 Female Turn Offs
1. Be boring 1. Be boring
2. Smell bad 2. Be overly sexual
3. Be bad tempered 3. Smell bad

Location Location Location

Where To Go On A First Date

Both men and women agree a cinema is a bad idea for a first date. Sitting in the dark, staring at a screen, not talking is far from ideal. Also it gives your date an hour and a half to compare you to Brad Pitt/Keira Knightly.

Best First Date Locations

43.3% Meal 32.7%
17.3% Pub 25.4%
9.5% Activity (ice skating, rock climbing, pottery, etc) 13.3%
8.3% Coffee 12.1%
6.7% Cinema 7%
4% Go to the country/seaside 4.4%
5.4% Zoo 1.9%
4% Gig/concert 2.5%
1.2% Comedy Club 0.7%

Worst First Date Locations

Where to go on a first date

23% Cinema 29.9%
20.3% Activity (ice skating, rock climbing, pottery, etc) 21.2%
12.1% Gig/concert 16.1%
14.8% Zoo 6.5%
8.4% Meal 4.5%
7% Coffee 5.4%
5.8% Pub 3.7%
4.3% Comedy Club 8.5%
4.3% Go to the country/seaside 4.2%

The preferred first date for most couples is a meal, it gives you a chance to get to know each other comfortably and can also reveal a number of more subtle signs; manners, courtesy to others, social skills and whether you have similar tastes. Fast food restaurants featured in a large number of our first date horror stories so it’s probably best to steer clear of anywhere that serves food in a ‘bucket’. While a “happy meal” might get your 7 year old niece smiling, it’s unlikely to have the same effect on your 27 year old date.

However a meal is everyone’s first choice so get a feel from your date as to what might work for them. 21% of women said an activity (ice skating, pottery class, etc) would be their worst idea of a first date while 13% of women felt it was the perfect first date.

Dutch Courage

Our survey also produced plenty of tales of horror dates going downhill fast due to their date having a bit too much dancing juice. No matter how nervous you might be, is being drunk really a good first impression?

Have You Ever Left Halfway Through A First Date?

Getting mints
  • 20% of men & 23% of women have left halfway through a date.
  • 41 – 50 year old men and 31 – 40 year old women being the most likely to do a runner.
  • Of those date ditchers (44%) make an excuse and leave, 18% fake a phone call, 16% at least have the decency to tell the truth before leaving, while a shameless 22% simply do a disappearing act without saying a word.

What Is The Best Way To Bring An End To A First Date?

First dates

43% Peck on the cheek 44%
28% Single kiss on the lips 39%
15% A proper snog 12%
7% Invited in for “coffee” 2%
7% Actually have coffee 3%

Do Old Fashioned Manners Still Count?

We asked should a man open doors, pull out a ladies chair, etc. Or is that wrong between two equals in the modern world? It would appear that men and women are in agreement when it comes to manners in the modern world, 88% of men and 87% of women believe that manners maketh the man. The rest however believe sisters should be doing it for themselves.

Worst Thing To Say On A First Date?

Worst thing to say

The overwhelming no-go areas of first date conversation are sex and the ex, so whatever you do don’t commit the double whammy and talk about sex with your ex.
Another huge conversational clanger is to forget your date’s name, which it would appear happens alarmingly frequently.

“You look like my ex.”

“You look like my mum.”

“How many partners have you had?”

“Would your sister be up for a threesome?”

“I’ve forgotten my wallet.”

“Fancy coming back to mine? My mum won’t mind.”

“We’ll need to be quick.  I’m seeing someone else at 8.”

“How do you feel about administering suppositories?”

“Sorry I’ve forgotten your name.”

“I can’t stay long, my wife is going to be wondering where I am.”

How Soon Should You Make Contact After A First Date?

Having avoided the minefield of first date faux pas, what happens next? According to our poll you shouldn’t wait too long, over 50% of people would prefer contact to be made the first few days after the date.

66.2% Within the first few days 56.5%
24.3% 1 day 18%
6.7% 1 week + 6.7%
1.4% I’d play it cool – 2 weeks + 1.8%
1.4% I’d wait for the other person to get in touch first 17%

More internet dating

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