April 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM ET
Do you Google your dates before going out? Do you chat on the phone after the first date instead of trading emails? Have you ditched the "three day rule" of waiting 72 hours before reaching out to a date? You're not alone! Dating website Match.com conducted its third annual survey of singles this year, polling 5,000 men and women about everything from how they stalk potential dates to whether or not to kiss on the first date. Match shared the results of this year's "Singles In America" poll exclusively with TODAY.com, and the data reveals a dating landscape with a lot more communication (and fewer rules) than ever before. Here's what they uncovered:
78 percent of guys reach out to a woman less than three days after a first date
So much for that old “wait three days to call” rule! Thanks to the ease of modern communication, men are more likely to text, email, or IM a woman soon after a first date ends. “I really do love to know how our phones are influencing our dating!” Match.com dating expert Whitney Casey told TODAY.com, noting that even if we don’t use our phones to contact people we’re dating, we will use the phone to get advice from friends — the old “let me pull up his picture on Facebook and you guys can tell me if you think he’s cute” approach.
48 percent of women research their dates before they go out
Thanks to the Internet, stalking — er, “research” — has never been easier. Almost half of the women surveyed by Match said they used Facebook or Google to scope out their dates ahead of time. “The amount of information you can find out about somebody before your date can be really nice because you can see that you have some mutual friends,” Casey said.
Only 7 percent of people meet their boyfriend/girlfriend at a bar
“You feel like it’s such a meat market, but no one’s actually meeting,” Casey said of the atmosphere at bars and clubs. The majority of people polled said they met their partners through friends or online, where they could learn a lot about each other before even going out on a first date, thus upping the odds of having more in common.
47 percent of women want to know a guy’s employment status on the first date
Casey says that this stat is all about the misconception that work is a good, neutral topic for a first date. “People always ask about work because it’s safe,” she said, “but when men hear 'what do you do?' they hear 'how much do you make?' no matter what your intention was.” To avoid this possible miscommunication, Casey advises keeping work-related talk to only 10% of the total first-date conversation, and suggests coming up with a few interesting-yet-inoffensive evergreen questions that can help you get to know someone better, like “what’s the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled?” or “what’s the best meal you've ever eaten?”
61 percent of daters prefer to talk on the phone after the first date
Despite everything you’ve probably heard about the decline of the phone call and the rise of texting and Gchatting, dating is a place where the phone call still reigns supreme. Why? When people are still getting to know each other, it’s easier to get a sense of someone’s emotional state over the phone, Casey says. While Facebook is great for learning about a person’s interests before a first date, it’s not the best way to connect post-real life meeting. “We don’t use social media to date — no one says ‘I am going to like his picture on Instagram so he’ll like me,’” she said. Daters also revealed they don’t want to use FaceTime or Skype until they’re further along in a relationship, because who wants to show off a messy apartment or bad hair day online?
While there’s no “best city” to date in, some are better than others
Though Casey is married, she spends enough time studying dating behavior that she knows where she’d go if she had to start the relationship process all over again. According to the data, the best cities for singles aren’t necessarily the most populous ones — rather, they’re areas that have a dense population of young singles and a lot of vibrant industries to keep people busy. Two of her favorites are Austin (killer music scene, nice weather, busy startup community) and Denver (college town that retains young grads, and lots of athletic people who join hobbyist groups). In the end, though, relocating is a lot like dating — you should follow your heart.
Dying for more data? Match.com has even more details about how we’re dating these days on their website.