The path to love has always encountered bumps in the road but with things like 'ghosting' and 'catfishing' getting in the way nowadays, how can those who wish to find true love increase their chances of making a good impression on a first date?
After more than a year and a half living with on and off again lockdown restrictions in place and in some cases, people spending weeks at a time with no one to talk to in person, have we lost the art of positive social interaction?
TV personality CiCi Coleman, who takes on the role of a waitress on Channel 4's reality series 'First Dates', spoke to Amy Casey, broadcaster for BFBS, the Forces Station, about some do's and don'ts for successful dating.
More than three fifths (63%) of British people plan to return to the dating scene this summer, according to data commissioned by Urban Jungle - who describe themselves as an insurance provider for a new generation of customers.
Brits aged 18-30 have said that bad table manners (35%), being on their phone too much (44%) and talking about exes (28%) are some of the rudest things they find on dates.
Bad Table Manners
More than a year after the country was put into its first COVID-19 lockdown, life is starting to return to normal bit by bit and for some, that means going to a restaurant for a meal. It is a common go-to venue for a first date but be warned, CiCi says that bad manners can be a real turn-off, saying:
"If you lick your knife or you eat using your fingers or talk with your mouth full then that is a big no-no.
"Bad table etiquette is unforgivable I think. I think you've got to step it up a little bit."
What About Messy Eating?
What advice does CiCi give for those who want to order something you would eat with your fingers like chicken wings or ribs? Should we avoid ordering food like that on a first date?
The First Dates star encourages people to order what they like but to remember you are out on a date in public and not stuck at home with no one watching you eat. CiCi said:
"I just say get in there with stuff like that. If you want the ribs, get the ribs.
"There are little side dishes with lemon in. There are ways of getting around it.
"It's just bearing in mind that someone else is there."
Being Rude To The Waiting Staff
Something CiCi thinks of as being worse than bad table etiquette and therefore a dating no-no is being rude to the waiting staff.
This comes from personal experience as she has been a waitress for many years, on and off the Channel 4 dating show.
"I've definitely had moments when people have been so rude and you just think, it's just so unnecessary.
"You're giving them some lovely food and it just seems weird that someone would be rude to them."
What Is Ghosting?
If the person you have been dating suddenly cuts off all communication with you without warning or an explanation, you have been 'ghosted'.
According to research, this has been experienced by more than two thirds (68%) of British people.
What Is Catfishing?
Being catfished happens when, after chatting to someone via dating apps or social media, you finally meet up with them they look different to their photos.
This leaves 72% of people in their 20s feeling anxious about going on a date so uploading accurate photos of yourself to dating apps is essential.
CiCi admits to having been the victim of this deception herself, saying:
"I got catfished recently, that wasn't the most fun.
"It was the first date out of lockdown and so I was just a bit disappointed.
"I still stayed for three hours. You know, you're just desperate to chat so I thought, 'you know what, I'll make a friend out of it'."
Show An Interest In Your Date
Research shows that 39% of people are worried about dating someone boring. If you turn up and show an interest in the other person, you will have a much better chance of having a successful date. CiCi said:
"If someone's not interested or they're just not present with you it makes you feel like you're not good enough because, why would they be interested in everyone else and not you?"
Splitting The Bill?
Do you split the final bill evenly or expect your date to pay it all? CiCi has some simple advice for paying for the bill at the end of the meal, saying:
"I think you have to assess it for what it is.
"Every single date is going to be different and everyone's got a different view on it.
"You've got to roll with how that pans out because you can't really pre-plan."
Top Tips For A Great Date?
CiCi says there are three basic tips to start the date on a positive note. Simply turn up on time, be your unique self and make sure you turn up smelling fresh.
"Make sure you're clean, you're tidy, you've washed.
"If you've had a long day at work, get some chewing gum and make sure the hygiene side of things is up there."
Do you have any bulletproof tips on how to date in the military?
We want to know your tried and tested go-to dating rules for a successful date while serving in the armed forces or from those who like their love interest in uniform.
Email [email protected] with your tips and stories of dates that went well or hilariously wrong.