Extremely Offline? Apparently You've Ruined Your Chances Of A First Date
Are you someone who doesn’t use social media that often? Be it because you cannot be bothered, or just don’t know how to keep up with it?
Well, you might have some problems getting someone to go on a date with you because according to a study conducted by TGI Fridays, 50% of Brits refuse to go on a date with someone unless they’ve seen and/or liked their social media profile.
This number jumps to 63% in the 16 to 24 year old bracket, while it drops down to 32% for the over 55s. The research revealed that social media profiles have replaced authentic first impressions granted by meeting in real life.
Gen Z often sees social media as a legitimacy test of sorts. So knowing what their date’s social presence is like before meeting them provides a sense of understanding into who they’re about to meet.
We asked people out on the frontline of modern day dating to tell us what they think – and as it turns out, social media really is quite important.
“I know it shouldn’t be, really, but it’s sort of a red flag if someone my age has no presence. For me, it’s sort of safe as I want to know they are real and seeing their social media can veto that sometimes. It also gives me a better idea of what they’re like,” says Gigi El-Halabi.
Urjasvi Gandhi agrees: “I think it’s important because seeing their social media gives an insight into what they’re into, what they like and so on.
And while many people don’t believe social media presence is a prerequisite to getting a date, they understand that it can be used to check whether their date is truthful.
For Emma Starrs, social media doesn’t matter as not many of us show our ‘true selves’ on the platforms: “Many people present a false image on socials, so it’s not that accurate for getting to know who they really are. Linking to an Instagram page is off putting. That said, it’s good for checking that their relationship status is as described.”
By why is it so important to so many of us? Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings explains that it’s no shock that 18-24 year olds want to see social media profiles before a first date.
“For a generation who hasn’t known a time without social media, profiles, images, and posts, it can be highly revealing in terms of working out whether someone is likely to be their type. We all like to have some reassurance before we begin a relationship, in order not to waste our precious time on potential partners who might not suit us at all,” she says.
However, she warns that not everyone’s social media profile is an accurate reflection of who they are.
But despite all of this, there is still a desire for more authentic, real life encounters — especially among Gen Z, who grew up online.
“I have noticed that Gen Z, who have literally spent their whole lives online, are now looking for ‘newer’ ways to meet people, and there’s a yearning for IRL encounters. Even though these new ways are actually the traditional, pre-dating app ways to meet someone, there clearly is a desire to live some of their most personal aspects of their lives, offline and in person,” says Jo.
The key difference between dating today and the habits of previous generations is that today, there are a lot of options to choose from. And while online dating has a lot of advantages, Jo believes that meeting someone in real life is important to gauge chemistry.
“While online dating is amazing in many ways – all those potential dates you would never meet under any other circumstances – there is something equally, if not more valuable, in meeting people in person. It’s the 3D effect – you get to take in character and humour as well as looks, rather than the one dimensional social media version. These are the ingredients of chemistry – no social media platform or dating app can create that magic for you,” she says.