Break the dating rules

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Modern dating – what a minefield. If you’re not being ghosted (ignored) or benched (kept hanging) then you’re meeting yet another date who looks nothing like their profile picture. wants to help you find the perfect fit in every aspect of your life, so we talked to two dating experts for advice on how to make the most of every date.

Rethink your rules

“The type of person people say they want to meet and those they fall for often don’t match up,” says Matt Verity. “We often filter out people – both online and in person – for things that aren’t actually deal-breakers. You might say you would never date a smoker then dismiss someone great who quits later. You’re shutting out a whole bunch of potential good dates.”

Only message six times

“Our data suggests that you should exchange no more than six back-and-forth messages online before meeting up,” says Verity. “People can spend so much time messaging that the original spark is dissolved – it leads people to question if there is any genuine interest. Leave the real questions and conversations until you actually meet. Having nothing to talk about because you already know it all doesn’t kick things off well.”

Do something fun

“Fitness followed by brunch is a popular New York date format that’s picking up here,” says Nana Wereko-Brobby. “People work-out together then talk about the class afterwards. Professionals are becoming more intolerant of binge-drinking on dates, so this introduces another element.” Verity agrees: “Sitting in a coffee shop resembles a job interview. Doing something fun, interesting or playful is an easy conversation-starter. So play table tennis or retro video games, go paddleboarding or do a cookery class. There’s a higher possibility of creating attraction than with mundane CV-type exchanges such as, ‘What do you do? How was your day?’”

If you’re on the fence, accept a second date 

“Second dates are key,” Verity explains. “When we don’t know people, we pick up on little things about them – messy hair, lateness, dirty shoes – and make them bigger deals than they are. Once you get to know a person, those things recede in importance. Most of us don’t form a romantic connection from a first impression. It’s as you grow more familiar that attraction grows.”

Be honest if you bail

“It’s polite to spend at least 45 minutes on a date,” Wereko-Brobby says. “It gives you enough time to learn something about them. If it doesn’t work out, be honest when you leave and blame a lack of chemistry. It’s a good way of protecting fragile egos. Say it was great to meet but you didn’t feel a spark.”

Lock in a second date

“Lock in the second date during your first,” advises Wereko-Brobby. “When you’re talking about a bar, activity or restaurant, say you’ll take them there and find out when they’re free.”

Finally… trust your gut

“If you start to rationalise somene’s bad behaviour, it’s likely that you’re more keen than they are,” says Wereko-Brobby. “Trust your gut.”

Meet the experts

  • Nana Wereko-Brobby: Founder of private dating events club Social Concierge

  • Matt Verity: Co-founder of award-winning dating app TrueView

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