If you’re still on the front lines of the search for your OTP, there’s probably a lot of information that you wish was readily available to you about the pool of potential love interests. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we can learn and research pretty much any topic imaginable (even how to make unicorn macarons)… so does it really still need to be this difficult to navigate the dating world? Sadly, we still don’t have the tools to read minds or put an end to shady ghosting everywhere, but there are experts out there working to make it easier for us to understand what we’re up against where romance (can we call it romance?) is concerned. For the seventh year running, Match.com has facilitated an incredibly detailed study of America’s single population, and its findings may come in handy — or, at least, be of interest.
More than 5,500 unattached Americans (not just Match users) participated in the most recent Singles in America study, which captured information about singles’ experiences and opinions of dating on the verge of 2017. People involved in the study represented a range of ages, income, employment, previous marital history, sexual orientation, and race, though there was an extra focus on millennials.
Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and Chief Scientific Advisor to Match, notes a few of the most interesting patterns in this year’s data. “The… study has once again demonstrated new emerging trends, including men’s overwhelmingly positive view of feminism and feminists in the boardroom and the bedroom,” she says. “Millennials are diligently using technology to find love — and building new dating rules and taboos along the way.”
Keep reading to learn more about some of the trends found in the results of this year’s Singles in America research.
FEMINISM + DATING
Among the participants in Match’s study, opinions of feminists and feminism were consistently favorable (good for you, America!). Nearly 60 percent of single men think that feminism has “changed the dating rules for the better,” and 54 percent of them said that girl power has made dating more enjoyable. What’s even better to hear is that the vast majority of all singles are aware and actively concerned about important issues of gender equality today, including violence against women, pay equality, and workplace harassment.
Interestingly, what study participants agreed on less was the extent to which women should be asserting themselves in new relationships. While 95 percent of men said they were in favor of their female date initiating a first kiss, only 29 percent of women said they had actually done so. The pattern is similar for other “first moves” — sex, exchanging phone numbers, and picking up the phone after a great date. Men are anxious to see their crushes be proactive, while women seem happy to stick to more traditional, gender-based dating norms.
The good news for all of the enterprising bosses out there is that entrepreneurialism was named as singles’ number-one modern-day turn-on (this was true for both men and women). “What’s an entrepreneur if not someone who is creative, dashing, daring, conscientious, a go-getter, and a do-er?” Dr. Fisher says. We’re happy to hear that those qualities are finally getting the positive attention they deserve.
THE DOS AND DON’TS (BUT MOSTLY THE DON’TS) OF DATING
A surprising number of the “new rules of dating” that emerged from the study were related to phone use. “If you want to spur a budding relationship forward, skip the flowers,” Dr. Fisher says. “Leave your cell phone in your pocket.” Based on the data, if you want to impress a potential bae, you should totally ignore your phone. Check out these stats:
- 75 percent of singles were turned off by a date answering their phone.
- 66 percent were upset by their date sending a text.
- 58 percent were offended by their date leaving their phone face-up on the table during a meal.
- 57 percent were displeased with a date who occasionally read a text.
In general, if you want to maximize your chances of hitting it off with someone, it’s best to avoid making them feel like they are competing with your phone for your attention.
Other helpful hints from the study? Take good care of your phone and mute those audible key clicks. Cracked screens and excessive clicking sounds were both named as turn-offs. And if you’re really trying to win a crush over, stop checking your social media apps — the second biggest turn-on (right behind entrepreneurialism) was “people who don’t use or like social media.”
WHERE SINGLES ARE LOOKING FOR LOVE
Unsurprisingly, singles who participated in the survey agreed that the best place to seek a new relationship is at the bar. According to the study, another promising location is the gym. “A gym is a very logical place for people to successfully meet somebody,” Dr. Fisher says. “By the time you’re in a gym, you’re going to be around people who have your same view of health and exercise and how you want to spend your spare time.”
Rounding out the list of the top-three places that singles had met potential dates was the laundromat. “It’s a time-out place,” Dr. Fisher says. “You’re doing something constructive. A lot of people get very bored and they’re looking for something to do or someone to talk to. You’ve got a captive audience.” Who knew fabric softener could be so romantic?
Of course, in addition to gathering this info about promising places to look for love IRL, Match’s study touched on the prevalence of dating apps and sites. In 2016, people who dated online were four times more likely to go on a first date, and 40 percent of singles actively pursuing their last first date had met that person through an app. Dr. Fisher, who predicts that online dating will only continue to become more of a central part of our culture, says, “It really is becoming the best way to find love.”
Do any of these stats from Match’s survey surprise you? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)