Dawn Dating? Yes or yawn fest?
Updated: Jul 25, 2022
I was recently interviewed by The Metro for my thoughts on Dawn Dating. I don't date anymore, but if I did, I have to say - it's tempting!!
AT: When I was dating there used to be an “unspoken rule”:
- “Coffee” meant a quick chat so you could size each other up (unless it was after an evening date!!)
- “Lunch” gave you a longer time to get to know each other
- “Dinner” was a lot more serious – often saved for later
- “Going to the cinema” was NOT so much about holding hands in the back row but having something you could both talk about later!!
As such, when it comes to any “trend”, there are practical reasons why we might enjoy – or prefer – it within the psychological ones.
METRO: What are the benefits of dating in the morning vs the evening?
AT: You both have the same body clock
While the “early bird” can often stay up late when needed, the “night owl” may struggle to get out of bed, and even find the chirpiness of its counter-part a little too much! 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. 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.
(related to the above) You may share similar interests
If that dawn date is at a class or doing a form of exercise or engaging with a hobby such as painting, or maybe you’re both walking your dogs, again you already have something in common. This makes conversation much more comfortable, and connecting on something which means a lot to you as individuals is conducive to the longer term prospects.
You are refreshed
(Especially if you are “morning people”) in the morning you are ready to start your day. There are fewer distractions, fewer stresses and strains to impact your focus. 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 are fewer options for places to go
You are not overwhelmed by choice in the morning – compared to the evening where you have a huge selection of restaurants, bars, activities and so on… As such the decision of where to meet can become a lot easier giving the organiser a little more confidence in a positive response. Another practical point is that you are likely to live near each other.
It might be safer
Again, related to the above point, the number of options of places, as well as (often) the potential dating poo, reduces in the morning. Of course you still need to be wary, but you are less likely to experience unwanted attention or advances.
The most practical reason of all, and probably most significant in a world where we could have otherwise simply swiped, is that if it’s not working out, a morning date can be as short as a chat over which coffee to have! You also have a timeframe built in with the start of work…and if you were “staking” your options, you have lunch and dinner free to entertain other suits.
METRO: Are there any downsides?
AT: 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. In her book “Queen Bees and Wannabees” Rosalind Wiseman gives the example of the “Fruit cup girls” who, to “impress” a boy pretend to not be able to open their fruit cups, so that the boy could play into his “act like a man stereotype”…which then trapped a bright, erudite young lady into feigning incompetence just to be liked.
Another possible downside is whether two practical people who decide to go jogging together for example will be able to encourage each other to relax when they need to in other aspects of their lives, there can be a risk that organisation permeates through the relationship, which if it suits you both is absolutely fine, but you may miss out on the fun of spontaneity.
A further downside is an upside if you like each other – you are likely to live near each other if you are engaging in an activity together, or you are both close enough to your place of work…which can mean it’s harder to avoid each other if you don’t enjoy yourselves, but then again…at least you generally know each other’s times and because a morning date may be less significant than an evening or longer done, there’s less pressure on it likely leaving you more able to nod hello in passing if it doesn’t work out.
However, you may need to be clear on whether it’s a date or a coffee!! Make sure that you are both on the same page with the meaning of the meeting, or that can become quite awkward quite fast – BUT, saying that, open lines of communication will help through the relationship if they are established early anyway.
METRO: Is there a risk that the romance might be killed off by the practicality of it or the timing, eg having to fit in a pre-work window?
AT: Sometimes the practicality of dating can take a lot of the fear out of it. Knowing you have a set time, being aware there are only a few places to go before work, the fact that work can stop you having to ask a friend to be your “emergency call” if things aren’t going well, can make for a much smoother and more enjoyable experience!
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 3-7 seconds of meeting them, a breakfast date enables this, as well as a little longer to convince you on your first impression, and if you aren’t sure, or you’re having a really good time, there is always lunch and dinner!
METRO: What are some tips you could give for making morning dating work?
AT: 1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
It’s a coffee/a jog/a breakfast…and if you’re both clear on that, enjoy the time, and decide if you’d like to meet for longer next time.
2. Don’t pretend to be anything you’re not
Even if you do like the yoga instructor, don’t pretend to be a fitness fanatic if you’re not, respect yourself and the person you would like to get to know better, enough to be authentic, and that way if it works out at least you both know who you’re getting involved with!
3. If you don’t want to date at dawn, DON’T!!
Related to the point about authenticity, be honest with what you want from a date, because if you are simply “going along with it because you like them” when you are, for example, more old fashioned, and you really don’t enjoy it, then say so…explaining you don’t enjoy morning dating is not the same as saying you don’t enjoy their company…and arrange a further date (assuming you like them and they like you) at a time and place you prefer. Again it is about knowing your values and preferences and if you cannot connect at the start, it’s not necessarily going to get easier through that relationship.
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author with a specialty in the "how to take action", rather than just giving explanation and advice. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience. For self development tools based within positive psychology: click Her YouTube Channel . Twitter/IG @draudreyt