The formula for a perfect first date is going for drinks, says science

A biological anthropologist says the data shared over a couple of cocktails is the perfect situation for sparks to fly

Dating, First Date, cocktails, biological anthropologist,

[Flickr/Don Slaght]

If – and get over yourself – you’ve somehow managed to convince someone to go on a first date with you without applying to appear in a reality TV show on RTÉ2, there are lots of online tips on how to succeed in striking the right tone. Digital content platforms have weighed in on every facet of finding love, from what to wear, what to order, how to break the ice, and the frosty stalemate of who pays for what. But if one US biological anthropologist is to be believed, a couple of drinks is the perfect first step on the way to walking down the aisle.

Helen Fisher, one of the US’s most prolific scholars on the natural instincts and processes surrounding falling – and making – love, recently weighed in on what to do on the first meet up. Her suggestion, which perhaps won’t come as much of a surprise to Irish daters, is to ignore the menu and focus on the drinks list instead.

Fisher, the author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why we Stray, recently told the Washington Post that a drink, or maybe two, is the way to go. “You’re going to end up being more social, more talkative, and showing more of who you are,” she said.

According to the anthropologist, whose famous TED Talk on what happens to the brain when we fall in love is one of the most widely shared in the series, strongly believes that the goal of meeting up for the first time should be to talk and properly communicate with the person on the opposite side of the table from you.

“The first date should really be just for cocktails, because you really shouldn’t invest a lot of money or time. It’s a look-see,” Fisher said, adding that she believes that in the time it takes to politely sip your way through a Long Island Ice Tea, the average dater has the time and wherewithal to gather the essential information about a possible love connection. Does he or she live up to the images in their dating profile? How does their treatment of the waiting staff reflect their personality? Are they giving off any indicators that they share the same lifestyle values as you do? Ordering a couple of drinks, Fisher says, “is extremely well built to assemble data about a potential partner,” with extra observational time added in while waiting for your pint of Guinness to settle.

The other advantage of going for a casual drink is that it also offers a handy escape route if, regrettably, the date does not go to plan. The important thing to remember is that the medium might well be the message, with relationship psychologist Peter Pearson telling Tech Insider that practice makes perfect. “I think it’s for people to date as much as they can manage or tolerate, because that experience helps you get clearer on what you’re attracted to and what you’re not attracted to,” the founder of the Couples Institute said.

And the price of a couple of pints could well be the best investment you ever make in long-term happiness.

[Science of Us]

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