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May 2012

The Three-Day Rule Is Outdated

Museum dateThere’s an interesting process that many of us go through when meeting someone for the first time on a date—almost like an internal checklist. Are they physically my type? Do they communicate well? What are they doing with their lives, and if so, are they happy doing it? But then come a laundry list of other attributes we may notice in the course of getting to know someone. How do intangibles fit into the dating equation?

In our latest It’s Just Lunch dating survey, we covered a select number of intangibles out of countless traits that people may possess based on recent trends we’ve noticed. Let’s dive in:


The “Text-Back”

There is an outdated mode of thinking called the “three-day rule” that often prevents men (or women) from calling after the first date for fear of seeming desperate. Our thoughts? If you enjoyed your date and want to see this person again, why not just communicate those thoughts? So, is a text to your date that evening after your first meet up appropriate, or just too soon?

A majority of both men (57%) and women (64%) said a text setting up a second date would be cute and they would gladly text back. In fact, 24% of men would call back if they received a text from a date; 13% of women were also inclined to call. Only 18% of men and 22% of women suggested a same-evening text might be a little “too soon.”

It’s Just Lunch’s take: If you enjoyed your date, why wait? But don’t abuse communication; a slew of texts could be a signal you are desperate. 


If You Don’t Have a Job, At Least Have a Plan

So what if you’re unemployed? In the economy, it’s a common theme—even among professionals. Well, we have good news and bad news:

The bad news first. While about 65% of men surveyed by It’s Just Lunch said they would have no problem going out on a date with a woman who was unemployed, women were far less amenable to the idea, with only 25% saying they would go out on a date with an unemployed man. In fact, 33% of women said they would rule out a date entirely with a guy who is unemployed, compared to only 8% of men.

As we mentioned before, both our male and female respondents suggest we still tend to seek more traditional roles, even when it’s being set up for a first date. Men don’t mind providing to a woman who is out of work, but women seek men who have the ability to do some of the providing—at least an equal share of it. Here’s where the good news comes in. About 42% of women said they would consider a date with an unemployed man, as long as he had a plan for getting back on track.

What’s the key? Unemployment shouldn’t disqualify you from dating, but remember to focus on your own life too. The dating market isn’t as tough as the job market, but for both—having a plan is the difference between finding a successful match and being left out in the cold. 


Does Your Career Have An Effect on Your First Dates?

Arm wrestleWhen we aren’t eating, sleeping, playing, or working out, the vast majority of us are working. In fact, nowadays Americans work on average almost 8.6 hours per day, according to a 2010 survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even though we spend well over half of our waking lives at work, do we allow our careers to define who we are? More importantly, do we bring up our careers on a first date?


Employment Benefits

 According to the majority of our respondents, the question of one’s career on the first date is an inevitable topic of discussion, with 53% of both men and women saying they feel comfortable about bringing up the subject. However, 32% of men and 26% of women said they would only mention their careers in passing, but avoid the details, at least on a first date.

So, do you bring up your career on a first date? Why not? Your career path is certainly a valuable insight in to who you are as a person. However, don’t let it dominate the entirety of the conversation. On the other hand, acting completely aloof about your career will make you seem a bit cagey.


Traditional Ideals or 21st Century Living?

Interestingly enough, men and women end up diverging when it comes to ideas about career paths, money, and unemployment or underemployment. Our survey uncovered a mix of attitudes between the sexes that suggested longstanding traditional thoughts about who should provide in a relationship, yet also demonstrate modern ideas about the “career-oriented couple.”

Consider this: do we want to date someone with similar professional aspirations in mind? For men, the concept split fairly evenly, with 49% saying they would like to date a woman on a similar track, and with 51% saying similarities in careers do not matter as much. For women, however, the stakes were slightly different. A clear majority of women (68%) said they prefer to date a man with similar career aspirations.

It’s even more interesting when it comes to the question of money. Women have a more egalitarian approach to the question of who earns what. While the majority of men, over 71%, wouldn’t care if they deduced their date made far less money than them, women were more split on the issue. About 22% said they wouldn’t care if they made more money than their date. Yet, 47% of women surveyed said it would be a bit of a concern to them and a further 24% said it presented a big concern.

In summary, when it comes to earning money in the 21st century world, there’s something to be said about being on equal footing. After all, we’re well past Mad Men and Downtown Abbey-era thoughts on employment.