The Best Names to Date in the U.S.

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Who are you most likely to have a good and bad date with? Our latest survey finds out.
featured image for the best names to date report

Have you ever wondered what’s in a name? Well, you’re not alone. The question has been etched into our collective psyche for centuries (ever since 1597 when Shakespeare first popped it into Romeo and Juliet).

But can specific names affect your chances of having a good date (or a bad one)? We wanted to find out, so in our latest study, we surveyed people from every U.S. state and asked them the first names behind their three best and worst romantic encounters.

If you’re wondering whether your name made the list (and how it skews) or just looking for fresh insight into the dating pool, we’ve got you covered! So, let’s dive in and find out which names are most likely to lead to a happily-ever-after and which ones might make you wish you’d swiped left.

The Best & Worst Initials to Date in Every State

graphic showing the best and worst initials in every state

Names are like the first line of a book — they can either draw you in or make you want to toss the whole thing out the window. As you can see from our map, this is especially true in the dating world, but not everything is cut and dried!

For example, J names are like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get! On the one hand, 20 states reported having the best romantic encounters with J names. On the other hand, 21 states had their worst experiences with J names.

Nationally speaking, J names were associated with the best romantic encounters more than any other letter, while M names were associated with less-than-favorable experiences more often.

When it comes to heterosexual females, your best bet for a successful romantic encounter is with a guy named John, Chris, or Michael. Heterosexual males, on the other hand, should be on the lookout for ladies named Jessica, Sarah, or Michelle.

If you’re a gay man, the name John reigns supreme as the top name for a successful romantic encounter, followed by Jason and James. And for lesbian women, Sarah is the queen of the dating world, followed by Rachel and Taylor.

If you’re an R-named person, you might want to consider a move to the West Coast or the Granite State. According to our survey, California and New Hampshire had the best romantic encounters with R names, but it’s also worth noting zero states reported negative experiences with R-named people, so no matter where you go, you can’t go wrong with R names.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. According to our survey, one in four Gen Z females believe certain letters can be “toxic.” That’s right — toxic letters! But not to worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Only 9% of the overall population shares this sentiment. For those who do believe in toxic letters, “J” was the most commonly cited offender, with 49% of respondents viewing it as such.

Closing Thoughts

Who knew the dating world could be so…alphabetical? Of course, we recognize that there’s a playful side to these findings, so remember to take these results with a grain of salt and a wink. After all, love is full of surprises, and the idea that a name could dictate the success of a romantic encounter adds an amusing twist to the quest for love.

But the perfect match isn’t spelled out in the alphabet; it’s written in the heart. At the end of the day, it’s the chemistry, connection, and understanding between two people that truly define a successful romance.

After all, true love is less about spelling and more about the story you create together. And when the time comes to celebrate your love story, Shane Co. will be here to help you find a timeless symbol of your affection regardless of how your names align!


To identify which names line up with best and worst romantic encounters, we conducted a nationwide survey of over 2,100 Americans in March of 2023. We asked individuals to tell us three names of the people they’ve had the best and worst romantic encounters with. From there, we analyzed the data to identify which names and initials were most common for good and bad dates. If a given letter or name was identified as both good and bad, we defaulted to the highest percentage of people who answered that letter or name to break the tie.

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