A first date can be nerve-wracking, but 90 percent of singles feel more relaxed if that initial face-to-face happens in a familiar place, according to a new national survey of dating preferences and trends conducted by StrategyOne. The survey of singles also reveals that the rise in online dating has made safe, comfortable meeting places with easy "outs" more important than ever, especially for women.
"Coffeehouses are familiar places that feel like a home away from home -- as a result, they have become incredibly popular for first meetings. From there, singles can determine if they want to move on to a second date," says dating and relationship expert Logan Levkoff, M.S. "When singles meet someone there, they have the comfort and confidence that comes from being on their own turf, as well as the safety of being in a public place and the freedom to leave whenever they're ready."
Nearly four in ten single Americans (39%) have gone on a date with someone they met online. Singles at Yahoo! Personals also report that a "coffee date" is the best choice for that all-important first meeting because a casual environment helps calm first date jitters.
As online dating enters the mainstream and Valentines Day draws near, Starbucks and Yahoo! Personals have joined forces to help singles take online dating offline with the "Espresso Dating Guide" available online exclusively at http://personals.yahoo.com/espressodating.
The "Espresso Dating Guide" offers expert advice from Levkoff on coffeehouse first-dates, including what to wear, how to make small talk and how to end a bad date gracefully. To get things off to a great start, singles will receive a special gift from Starbucks when they subscribe to Yahoo! Personals, the leaders in making online dating connections that lead to great first dates and more.
Casual Digs, a Comfortable Vibe and an Easy Exit
The survey of more than 300 singles revealed:
-- Singles rate a comfortable atmosphere (85%), a casual setting (78%) and a safe environment (75%) as the most important criteria when selecting a venue for a first date.
-- Many (42%) prefer to keep the encounter brief, and almost one-third (32%) look for a place that makes it easy to end the date quickly.
-- Singles find that coffeehouses meet all these criteria. In fact, more than half (52%) agree that "a coffeehouse like Starbucks" is an ideal meeting location for a first date.
Coffeehouses are a first-date meeting place of choice for thousands of online daters all over the country. Troy and Sandra from San Antonio met on Yahoo! Personals in the fall of 2004. Their first date was a coffee-date in Sandra's neighborhood Starbucks. "We had some coffee and talked and before we knew it, two hours had passed," said Sandra. While they took some time getting there, they say that the next day they "just knew" and were married in April of 2005.
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