Americans’ First Date Habits & Preferences

Header image for a survey on Americans’ first date habits and preferences

First dates can be awkward, there’s no arguing that! But they can also be the start of something new and exciting. How far into a date do you know there will be a second? Do you prefer a dinner date or just grabbing drinks? Do you order more conservatively or get exactly what you want on the menu? These are just some of the questions we asked in our survey to discover what American first date habits and preferences were. Read on to learn more!


We surveyed 1,617 Americans over a week in March 2022 to get their thoughts on everything related to first dates. We asked about the best locations and times, how they feel leading up to them, how they typically act on them, and what makes a bad first date. 

Setting the Perfect First Date Scene

A series of charts displaying first date scenes

The first step of a first date is getting asked out, right? Well, there are a few ways to go about this, such as asking through a text message, in person, and even over the phone. You may not be surprised to learn that these preferences differ with every generation. For example, the Gen Z and millennial generations, who grew up with SMS communication being the norm, are more okay setting up a first date via text messaging (38% and 41%) than the older Gen X and baby boomer generations (21% and 8%). While communication preferences shift over time, your best bet for asking someone out is still to do it in person, as 60% of our respondents agree it’s how they would prefer to set up a first date.

When it comes to choosing a first date location, 30% of Americans prefer to go to a restaurant for dinner and 24% prefer a coffee shop. There is also a preference on the day of the week to go on a first date. Almost 75% of Americans would prefer a first date to be on a weekend rather than a weekday. This is probably to take into account the extra time in preparing for a first date, as 86% of Americans said they spend more time getting ready for a first date than they normally would. They say first impressions are everything!

What is your perfect first date scene?

First Date Preferences

A series of charts displaying first date preferences

After choosing the location and getting ready, it’s now time to go on the date! Who pays for what, what do you order, and do you end the date with a kiss? 

According to our results, when it comes to food, 80% of respondents try to eat light and stay away from messy foods. No one wants to end the night with sauce stains on their clothes! A dinner date allows for great conversation in which 20% of Americans said they have pre-set questions and topics they bring up. A great idea in order to avoid any awkward silences! So you’ve ordered and talked while you ate, and now it comes time for the check. Who pays? Well, 34% of Americans believe that whoever initiated the first date should be the one to pay for it. Do you agree?

Lastly, before you part ways, do you end the date with a kiss? Well, the majority of both men and women said it depends! 

When the First Date Goes Wrong

A series of charts depicting first date challenges

While we all want first dates to go well, not all of them do. According to our research, 11% of Americans have walked out on a first date before, and 7% have stood someone up on the first date. If you feel the date isn’t going well, it’s best to be honest. 39% of Americans would rather be told and cut the date short. 

The three biggest reasons Americans would not want a second date are if their date was rude to the waitstaff (89%), if their date was on their phone constantly (87%), and if they talked about past relationships entirely too much (78%). The major takeaways here if you’re looking for a second date? Be kind, and be present!

Closing Thoughts

You may have had a lot of first dates, but it only takes one! If you’ve found that special someone after a great first date and see a future with them, we’ve got you covered! We have a huge selection of engagement rings and other jewelry to gift that special someone in your life.

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