The dating game in the 21st century has fast rewired to become an art form entirely on its own, as dating apps such as Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, Hinge and others have overturned the traditional process of courtship into a fast-tracked digital wooing. Despite the beliefs of many that those on dating apps are only into the “hook-up” culture, a recent survey done by Lunch Actually, Asia’s first and leading lunch dating company shows that more than 91% of Malaysians are still keen in going through the stages of falling in love and getting married in future to come.

According to the Annual Singles Dating Survey 2019 by Lunch Actually, this goal is also commonly shared with more than 94% of our Asian neighbours such as those in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand aged between 21 – 50 years old and above.

“With the huge rise of the internet, connecting and communicating with someone has never been easier regardless of their location. There is a change in the dating scene where we observed that singles are now more courageous to explore new ways of meeting someone new, be it through a dating app, matchmaking service or singles events other than through mutual introductions,” added Violet Lim, CEO and Co-Founder of Lunch Actually.

“Based on our observation, we’ve seen a shift in trend with many jumping on the dating app bandwagon as they are keen on the various options and convenience offered by a dating app,” explained Violet.

While there may be a vast selection at your fingertips, the importance of making a good first impression on a date as many singles place importance on meeting and connecting offline.

According to Violet, a lunch date at a restaurant or cafe are good options as the setting is relaxed, informal and convenient as you are meeting them on a neutral ground, and busy professionals can meet during lunch or grab brunch or coffee during the weekends. Apart from that, activities-based dates are also recommended as you can bond over those activities.

That said, here are a couple of interesting places and activities recommended for a first date:

  1. A chilled and relaxed get-to-know-each other session over lunch

With the many cafés available in Kuala Lumpur, you will always be spoilt for choice! Places such as Common Man Coffee Roasters or The Mechanic Café are both hipsterly décor with a calm environment where you can talk to each other freely while getting to know one another.

  1. Art Jamming

If you and your date is feeling artistic, try Art Jamming, where you and your date can work together on a painting in a fun and relaxed manner. On top of spending time together, you get to explore and have fun with each other’s creative side through new experiences such as this.

  1. Creative Workshops

Similarly, to Art Jamming, places like Fab Space KL also offers various creative workshops such as terrarium-making or calligraphy painting which would be a unique choice for a first date as not only is the setting perfect for a first date, but you get to take home new experiences whilst getting to know each other.

  1. Nature date

For nature lovers, a less conventional first date idea that may work out well are places such as an aquarium or bird park. Not only can you interact about the various interesting animals around, but also admire the glorious nature view should there be any awkward silences. Plus, if your date is up for such activity, you’ll know that he/she is likely to be more adventurous and willing to try something new.

  1. Thrilling escape room

For adventure seekers and thrill chasers, an exciting first date idea can also be attempting to breakout of an escape room as a duo at places such as Breakout Malaysia. This is a good way to see if your potential partner and you can work well as a team. Plus, as the activity is time-limited and is monitored by staffs, one does not need to worry about the safety.

All in all, regardless of the activity or location, remember to be polite and present as 69% of Malaysian men and 80% women finds such unpleasant personality a complete turn-off, followed by annoying habits such as chewing loudly and the constant need to check the phone.

“We foresee that in 2020, there would be a change in the dating trend in Malaysia as people are getting tired of the swiping culture because it takes up a lot of time and effort, but produce minimum results,” said Violet. This sentiment is not only exclusive to Asia; Consumer Reports Survey showed overall satisfaction in online dating has decreased to an all-time low across singles in America, while a recent BBC survey found that dating apps are the least preferred way for 16- to 34-year-old Britons to meet someone new.

“Singles are looking to have less dates, but more quality dates and conversation. Hence, dating services and apps have to step up and offer better and more effective solutions because quality is always more important than quantity,” concluded Violet.


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