Want to grab a coffee? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
When we say ‘date’, you probably think of dinner and drinks.
How about coffee instead?
And how about, instead of sipping cocktails over candlelight, you chat as the sun rises?
This is dawn dating – going on a date in the morning, basically – and apparently it’s the hot new trend in finding love.
A survey of 1,000 dating app users by Badoo found that 51% had been on a date pre-10am recently, and 71% said they’d be impressed if someone asked them out in the morning.
Your initial reaction to this trend might be something along the lines of ‘ew, no’, or ‘but I could be sleeping?’, but experts see some genuine benefits to the concept of dawn dating.
The benefits of dawn dating
Morning dates are more practical
For one, it’s a practical solution for time-starved singles whose evenings are already packed with workouts, seeing friends, or catching up on sleep.
‘There’s no denying that our lives are busy,’ Michelle Begy, founder of Ignite Dating, tells Metro.co.uk. ‘It’s no surprise then that single people are turning to the latest trend of dawn dating – while it may not seem the most romantic time of the day to meet a potential love interest, it does have its perks.
‘One of the biggest benefits lies in the fact that you don’t have to sacrifice your social life.
‘When making plans with friends and family, we tend to opt for evening or weekend activities and if you’re working full-time those can easily fill up weeks in advance. Rather than trying to book a date a few weeks in advance or changing plans that have been in the diary for a while, it makes sense to look at alternative options to get together.’
Don’t be too scared by this. Dating without the haze of tipsiness can be quite nice, promise.
It unites early birds
If you’re an early riser, you’ll likely be unenthused about dating someone who prefers to roll out of bed mid-morning.
‘Dating in the morning – whether it’s a drink, or breakfast before work or perhaps you’ve gone to a morning class together, or for a run or swim, already demonstrates that you are both comfortable with a morning routine,’ notes psychologist Dr Audrey Tang. ‘This can offer huge benefits later on down the line if your lives intertwine a lot more as it can be a lot easier to plan things together.’
You’re more refreshed
When you think about it, post-work drinks really aren’t when you’re at your best.
If you’ve had a sh*t day, you’re likely to be tired, grumpy, and ready to just rest. In the morning, though, possibility lies ahead and the day is still what you make it.
‘There are fewer distractions, fewer stresses and strains to impact your focus,’ says Audrey. ‘Dating in the evening can sometimes begin to feel like a chore when you have to go home, get changed, go out again following a taxing day at work, and that doesn’t necessarily start the date off on the best foot… especially if the events of the day continue to play on your mind causing you to be distracted.’
There’s a time limit
Going back to that practicality aspect, morning dates are going to be quicker by requirement – you’ve got to run off to work at some point.
That can protect you from a dull date that drags on, keep things short and sweet, and allow you to quickly suss out a potential match on a ‘zero date’ before you commit to something in the evening.
A good date could set you up for a good day
Imagine the spring in your step you’ll have when you rock up for work still glowing from a great date.
Fitting in dates before work can be more practical (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The downsides of dawn dating
A bad date could wreck the rest of your day
On that note, imagine what a shadow a bad date will cast over the rest of your day.
‘For a large portion of people, one negative moment can have the ability to affect our mood for the rest of the day,’ notes Michelle. ‘If you met a potential love interest and they weren’t quite what you expected or the date didn’t go as planned, it is easy to find yourself feeling negative about the effort that you made for the date and those negative feelings could then impact the remainder of your day.’
It’s not so practical for everyone
Some people have more time in the mornings, others don’t. If your mornings tend to be manic, dawn dating probably isn’t going to work.
It can lack romance
There’s something about a pre-work meeting that feels, well, work-y. It can be tricky to take off your morning self hat and switch on date mode.
The time limit could pile on stress
If you know you’re the type of person who can’t relax and enjoy a chat when you know you’ve got to leave at 8am on the dot, trying to fit in a date before work isn’t a good shout.
Make sure that if you’re doing dawn dating, you’re not going to be distracted by worrying about your commute.
Why not try getting active? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
How to nail dawn dating
Okay, so you want to give morning dates a go. Here’s what you need to know to ensure success.
Don’t force it
If you’re not a morning person or the thought of a date without drinks and dim lighting brings you out in hives, don’t make yourself fit into a dawn dating box. That’s doomed from the get-go.
Audrey says: ‘As with most trends, there are downsides if you are pretending to be something you are not. If you really want to date that person you met at a gym while you were there as a one-off, and they go every day – this can result in you forming an inauthentic persona you become trapped in – especially if you really like them.’
Make sure you’re clear that this is a date
If you ask someone for a morning coffee, they might assume this is just a friendly meetup or even a professional chat. Use the word ‘date’ to avoid any confusion.
And make sure you’re in date mode
‘Despite the early hours, don’t treat the date in the same way that you would a work meeting,’ Michelle tells us. ‘Opting to meet in the morning shouldn’t mean any less effort goes into arranging the date than one in an evening or on a weekend.
‘There are things that you can do to keep the romance alive when meeting early, to differentiate it from the rest of your day.
‘Why not arrange to meet somewhere with picturesque surroundings, like a local nature park or the beach? Watching the sunrise as you tuck into breakfast pastries and enlightening conversation can add a spark of romance and set you up for a positive day.’
Preparation is key
You’ll need to have your timings down pat, if only to avoid feeling rushed and anxious.
It’s wise to decide exactly what you’ll do on your date – whether that’s going to a specific coffee spot that you know always has seats, or booking in a yoga class together – to ensure you’re not caught up in the commuter rush or losing precious time due to dithering.
‘There are so many factors to take into consideration to make regular dawn dating work, so it is important to plan ahead and arrange a date that is relatively close by to where you need to be or at least allow plenty of travel time in between,’ Michelle recommends. ‘The last thing you want is to be late for work because you were on a date, unless of course you have the luxury of setting your own hours.’
Let it be a ‘zero date’
Feel free to use a morning date as a kind of pre-date date – the one where you can figure out if this is someone you want to see in a more traditionally romantic setting.
‘Given that we “thin slice” people (ie. make a mental snapshot of whether we like them, of their persona, of whether we want to engage) within the first threee to seven seconds of meeting them, a breakfast date enables this, as well as a little longer to convince you on your first impression,’ notes Audrey. ‘And if you aren’t sure, or you’re having a really good time, there is always lunch and dinner!’
Michelle says: ‘Dawn dating isn’t going to work for everyone’s schedule. If you are trying to organise a morning date and it isn’t looking likely that it will be able to be booked in for a couple of weeks, don’t take that as a reason to not go ahead with it at all.
‘Making the time to meet someone when you have other commitments prior to work can be tricky, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
‘If you have to wait a little bit longer before you get that breakfast date booked in then so be it, if that person turns out to be everything you’ve been searching for then those extra weeks were worth it – and you won’t know that until you meet them.’
Relax and enjoy it
Dating is supposed to be fun. Relax, take the pressure off, and see how things go.
‘If the person is right, then the practicality of timings will never be enough to kill off the romance,’ notes Michelle.
‘Meeting before work can often bring a relaxed atmosphere to the date as the pressure of a long date with a stranger isn’t there, allowing you to be yourself and enjoy the moment.
‘We’ve all heard the phrase; absence makes the heart grow fonder and these fleeting moments could be just what we need to get that romance started.
‘If you only have an hour to meet someone, it is unlikely that you will find out everything about that person and often that mystery can lead us to feeling excited about seeing them again – regardless of the time that will happen.’
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