Fanciable or ‘friend zone’? First impressions count on first dates

Most singles make a decision on their date within an hour of meeting  


Key stats:

  • Over half (53 per cent) of daters admit to having friend-zoned a potential partner
  • Most common reason for friend-zoning a date is a lack of physical attraction (71 per cent)
  • But, over three quarters (77 per cent) believe it is possible to change your mind about someone in the friendzone
  • Match dating expert Kate Taylor offers her top tips to stay out of the friendzone


29 July 2016, LONDON – It’s the place every singleton fears: the dreaded ‘friend zone’. But new research has found you could end up there within just an hour of first meeting someone.

A study by Match has found that most singles (51 per cent) decide whether their date will be a love interest or ’just a friend’ within the first hour of meeting them. Over half (53 per cent) of daters admitted to having friend-zoned a potential partner, with women far more likely to be the instigators. Almost two thirds of single females said they had friend-zoned someone (62 per cent), compared to just 40 per cent of men.

It would appear that playing the long game is now out of the question, as only one in ten singles said it would take them longer than three dates to decide whether someone is a potential partner or not. Nonetheless, nearly half of all men (46 per cent) said they would accept another date even if they considered them ‘just a friend’, in comparison to just a quarter of women (27 per cent).

However, all is not lost if you do find yourself in the friend zone – over three quarters (77 per cent) believe it is possible for you to change your mind about someone. And if romance truly isn’t on the cards, it would seem there’s still plenty to enjoy; more than three quarters of singles (including 70 per cent of males) believe that it is possible for men and women to simply have a truly platonic friendship.

The most common reason for friend-zoning a date was a lack of physical attraction (71 per cent), while a third (32 per cent) said they would put someone in the friend zone if conversation didn’t flow freely, and a quarter (27 per cent) because of bad manners. A partner’s sense of humour also factored highly for single females with 28 per cent factoring this in to their decision. Contrary to popular opinion, only six per cent of singles said they would be put off by a potential partner because they still lived with their parents.

Dating expert for Match, Kate Taylor gives advice on what to do and not to do when it comes to the dating game and how to avoid being friendzoned.

“With so many ways to meet new people today, we all have more chances to meet The One, and the Nearly-One. Being friend-zoned by your dream date is always a bash to the ego, but there are plus points too: you could end up building a friendship that lasts a lifetime. However, if you keep getting friend-zone, it’s worth asking a friend to tell you why. A few tiny tweaks to your dating style, or your personal style, could move you from friend zone to fanciable.”


Our top tips: 


1) Learn to spot when you’ve been slung in the friend zone. Key signs include:


  1. They ask you for dating advice about other people. (Anyone who wants to date you would never risk bringing up anyone else.)


  1. They actively encourage you to go on dates with other people.



2) Continue seeing your friend zone mates, but NEVER stop actively looking for other people to date. The worst part of being friend-zoned is all the time you can waste on someone who’s not interested.


3) If you have a friend who you suspect might want more, make sure you’re very clear with them about your intentions. It can be tempting to keep them safely holding on, but don’t. A true friendship will survive the friend zone. So be honest.


4) Don’t selfishly hog your friend-zoned friends. Introduce them to your single friends, and actively socialise with them. You might not click physically, but friends often have similar personalities, so they’ll probably click with someone you know.


5) If you really fall for someone and they friend zone you, back away for a while until you can see them without pain. Going no-contact is the best and quickest way to break your emotional attachment.




Notes to Editors

Methodology: Research conducted by Onepoll of 1,000 single adults between 1st July – 6th July 2016.

Media Contacts


For any more information or interview requests with Kate Taylor contact

Brands2Life – 020 7592 1200 and


About #LoveYourImperfections:

#LoveYourImperfections is Match’s campaign to give singles the confidence to express their true selves. Having first launched in January 2015, the campaign aims to highlight the imperfections and quirks which Brits normally hide, but which potential partners could find endearing or attractive.

About Match: 

As the most successful dating service in the UK, 1 in 2 online daters* have used Match and 1 in 5 singles who met their partner online, met on Match*.   As the number 1 dating for young online daters**, Match continues to empower singles to meet exciting and interesting people that you would not otherwise have met.

Match offers members more ways to meet, including singles events located in 32 cities, one of the reasons it’s been voted as the under 35’s number 1 choice for great singles night out**.  It’s also available on all mobile platforms making it the perfect dating companion for busy singles on-the-go.

As a founding member of the Online Dating Association (ODA), Match is committed to providing a safe and confidential community for its members.

*Survey conducted by Opinium from December 22nd to 29th 2015 among a representative sample of 2001 persons aged 18+ in the UK.



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