A splendid thing happened for me on Saturday afternoon, friends. I met Patti Stanger (better known to some as the Millionaire Matchmaker), one of my lifestyle idols. Patti, along with a panel of relationship and sex experts, presented the findings of Match.com’s 2014 Singles in America study.
Although the survey was completed by daters of all ages, I feel the results and Saturday’s panel discussion broached topics that really hit home for millennials who are out there dating.
One of the biggest gripes I hear from my friends is how hard it is to meet people in the “real world.” One of my colleagues summed up the sentiment nicely during lunch the other day: “I keep telling my little sister to find a guy before she graduates because it’s so tough after college.”
It is tough, but there are still a lot of people out there with partners they didn’t meet in high school or college (according to my Facebook newsfeed). So where are they finding them?
Online. That’s where 31% of singles in America met their last date, according to Match.com. “All your asses need to be online,” Patti said. “(It’s) the best kept secret.”
Where are singles choosing not to meet significant others? The bar (6% met their last date there) and the workplace (8%).
Once they decide to go out, most of those surveyed felt that first dates should be planned together. Patti explained that dinner is the best route as going out for drinks seems more like an audition; having lunch on the first date manifests itself as somewhat of an interview; and meeting for coffee screams “cheap.”
I have to disagree, and I think my peers would be on board here. (I should note that while I love Patti, I feel much of her advice is more applicable to Gen X’ers and, well, millionaires.) I can recognize that the time constraints of a lunch date can make it feel like an interview and that coffee or tea can feel … frugal, but dinner is a commitment of sorts. Perhaps this is me speaking as a noncommittal single millennial (which was also briefly addressed by the panel), but can you imagine having to sit through an entire meal while having a lawyer you just met explain his weakness for cocaine in detail … and then proceed to offer you some? I can, and it’s brutal. That said—drinks, please! If it’s not going well, both parties say their goodbyes after one round and head on home.
As for following up after the date, the consensus is that most people expect to hear from the other person the next day, however, less than half—only 35% of women and 46% of men—reach out then. With texting and Gchat as vehicles for communication, there’s zero excuse to abide by the antiquated three-day rule.
I think it’s widely accepted among millennials that if someone takes a seemingly long amount of time to reply to a message, they’re trying to make themselves seem important or carrying out what is known as the “slow fade.” (For those who don’t know, the slow fade is when steady communication turns into sporadic messaging, which then turns into silence. It’s all to avoid being “mean”—by that, I mean “honest”—and just saying, “I’m not interested.” A cowardly move, but so it goes.) There’s no such thing as being too busy that it takes days to reach out when you are interested in someone. It takes one minute to send a message, and even less to reply. Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who was also on the panel, made a great point that it takes him no longer than 12 hours to reply to a text, and even that’s pushing it.
And last, but never least: social media. Do people want to be added on social networking sites before a first date, or even after? Not really. “A little bit of mystery is a good thing,” Patti said. And who can disagree with that?