Using dating apps and the endless stream of first dates that follows can be exhausting – and everyone has their own ways of getting through the hell of it all. But having lived in London and New York, I’ve seen there are some big differences in the way they use dating apps across the pond. And some of it is actually really useful. I spoke to some proper New Yorkers to get their take on the dating scene and see what international daters can learn. (Don’t worry, there’s definitely a thing or two out-of-town daters can teach them as well!)
1. Just meet up
You'll know within three seconds of meeting them if you're interested... and sometimes immediately regret that month you spent messaging every day. Plus, one third of people on online dating never meet up with anyone they meet online. Don't be that guy. “Honestly, it’s not unusual to ask for drinks in literally the first message,” Leslie*, 30, from New York, tells Cosmo. ”Swiping is showing you’re interested, messaging is just, like, logistics.” Get to IRL interactions faster.
2. Chat to (and date) more people at once
It'll help cushion the blow when you realise you've invested a lot of time in someone you're not interested in. In fact, when you're chatting to someone else, you won't give that dud of a date a second thought. Most of my American friends have two or three people that they’re seeing at once, until they decide to get more serious with someone. It’s a good strategy but it makes me feel exhausted just thinking about it. When do they Netflix?
3. Don't stay on a date you're not enjoying out of politeness
We've all stayed out until midnight on a date we're not enjoying out of pure politeness. . And had 65 cocktails to get through it. You don't have to live this way. “I never plan on a first dating being longer than a hour,” Kelsey,* 28, says. “If we’re having a [great] time, sure I’ll stay out, but I don’t plan on that. I often will do two dates in the same night, they’re like meet-and-greets.” It definitely sounds effective.
4. Watch the drinks
See the 65 cocktails above. Everyone likes a few drinks to relax on a date, but when I moved to London first dates all were about [going to far]. On a Tuesday. And spending Wednesday feeling like I was dying inside and my mouth was a loofah.
“If I get too [wild] with someone, I just end up staying out even if I don’t like them. Then the next day I wonder WTF I was thinking,” Leslie says.
5. Be direct
Sure, ghosting, haunting, breadcrumbing- all of these horrible dating trends happen everywhere. But sometimes that no-nonsense New Yorker attitude makes it easier to be honest than British politeness does.
“It’s totally cool to just say, ‘It was nice to meet you, but I don’t see this going anywhere,’” Kelsey says. ”I say it to people and I’m down with them saying it to me. You know where you stand.” You’re allowed to not like someone, I know it’s hard to say it to that person, but it’s so much better than just flaking out.
But they can learn too
There’s a lot we can learn from New York dating, but it’s not like they’ve got it all figured out. Spending a little time getting to know someone is a good thing, and they could take a leaf out of the British book with that one. “Yeah, there were definitely dates I just shouldn’t have gone on,” was a sentiment a lot of my New Yorker friends had. Just a little bit of messaging back and forth can reveal that you had nothing in common and make you feel more sure that they’re not a serial killer. Important things.
And there’s also something to be said for giving people another chance. Being polite and not saying ‘no’ right away gives you time to get over awkward first impressions. These normally come from nerves and aren’t always representative of who the person actually is.
So there’s a lot to borrow from the New York dating scene, but there’s some essential Britishness that shouldn’t be lost. Not everyone has to fall in love in a New York minute, after all.
Originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk