guy with roses

Online Daters’ First-Date Expectations Are Surprisingly Traditional, Poll Shows

In an age when dating is more synonymous with eggplant emojis than candle-lit eggplant parmesan, one might expect singles’ first-date expectations to be equally contemporary. It’s no surprise, then, that 52% of surveyed CMB singles said they Google their match before a first date. But beyond digging up a date’s digital footprint, our polled singles revealed that much of their IRL first-date expectations were remarkably traditional — just take a look at what some CMB singles said in our 2019 poll.

First Date Statistics

1. Who Should Pay on the First Date? 52% Say ‘Men’

who should pay on first date
While going Dutch is expected from about 31% of polled CMB singles, 52% of daters said men should foot the bill.

We heard similar feedback when we posted first date advice on Instagram, which included a controversial tip: Split the bill. Over 400 people responded on IG, many who argued that splitting the bill was poor advice. (Side note: “Don’t blame your farts on your date,” however, seemed to be agreed upon by all.)

Seventeen percent polled said that whoever asked the other person out should pay. And, less than 1% of those polled said women should pay on the first date.

2. 43% of Singles Talk on the Phone Before a First Date

call before first date

If you’re a smooth talker, but your text messages read like text-to-speech from the 90s, we have good news for you: chatting on the phone before a first date is more common than you think. In fact, 43% call before a first date.

If you’re an introvert, you’re probably thinking, “WHY?” Joanna Coles, former Cosmo editor and author of “Love Rules,” told Marie Claire:

“The advantage is you get to hear someone else’s voice. You find out whether or not you can have a fluid conversation or if it’s stilted and peculiar. You can tell if someone is smart, if they’re dozy. Whether or not they’re a show-off. It’s important to know those things before you go and meet someone in the flesh because ultimately your time is at stake here.”

3. 89% of Singles Follow Up After a Good First Date

follow up after first date

The term “ghosting” popped up around 2011, but the concept is as old as time. While around 56% of singles said they’ve never ghosted anyone after a first date, about 44% say they have — and only about 20% of ghosts feel any remorse for it.

But while ghosting is real (and really hurts), there’s still a bright side: after a good first date, 89% of singles follow up by the next day, whether by texting after a first date or calling. Some surveyed still expect men to be the ones to reach out, but a majority say it’s fine for either party to follow up.

4. 54% Would Go on a First Date on Valentine’s Day

valentines day
With hashtags like #GalentinesDay and #Treatyourself trending last Valentine’s Day, many brands are shying away from the traditional cliches of romance. Instead, they’re using February 14th to promote self-love.

We l-o-v-e this, but even still, having a plus-one on Valentine’s Day is at the top of most singles’ lists. In fact, 54% of CMB singles reported they’d be down for a first date on V-Day. (Bagels, that means it’s perfect time to ask your match out!)

Our poll also showed that conversation, timeliness, and thoughtful date planning (e.g. made a reservation) were the most important factors for making a good first impression on a first date. “Receiving a gift (i.e. flowers or chocolates)” got only 11% of the vote, so it’s OK if you forget the Forget Me Nots. 

5. 37% Polled Agree Men Should Ask Women Out

ask out

When asked who should ask who out on a first date, 37% percent said men should do the talking, while 58% replied a cool, “Either.” And while dating apps like Bumble say women should make the first move, our first date statistics showed that only 5% of pollers agreed women should be the first to ask. As for Coffee Meets Bagel? We’re just pro-Bagels-asking-Bagels-out.

If you’re looking to hit it off with your match (and land a date), Co-Founder and -CEO of CMB Dawoon Kang advised telling a joke or commenting on a specific part of someone’s profile. See her full answer in Dawoon’s Reddit AMA round-up.

Like oat milk lattes and iPhones without home buttons, online dating is the new normal. But, our CMB first date statistics show that many singles still have traditional values. What do you think about first dates? Should you split the bill? Should men ask women out? Let us know in the comments.


Whether your first-date expectations are modern or more traditional, you can meet people who spark your heart on Coffee Meets Bagel.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *