Are Multiple Dates a Night the Future of Dating?
Editor's note: Some of the sources for this report requested their full names be withheld.
Back in the mid-1990s, there was an episode of the hit TV show "Friends" where Phoebe—gasp—dated two guys on the same day.
At the time, it must be said, the concept was a little shocking. These days, however, two dates in one day have become the norm for busy singles who can't spare two nights for two potential partners when they can get the job done in one.
In fact, in one recent viral video, a woman in Brooklyn, New York, documented a night consisting of three dates in a row. In the video, the woman meets three different men for drinks. By date number three, she realizes she has forgotten to eat.
"Let's test this man and see if he'll buy me dinner," she said. She also realizes she has started to get the three guys "confused" with each other, which is not an ideal part of the process.
Who's the best match?
Other singles have found themselves falling into the trend of scheduling multiple dates on one evening.
"I find it's the only way to fit in my list of Tinder matches," said Riley, a 24-year-old in California. "There's no other way to, like, weed people out because it's so hard to actually tell if you're a good match with someone just from talking on an app."
For Leia, a 30-year-old in London, it's a matter of being efficient.
"I could schedule two or three first dates a week, but then I'd be giving up much-needed quiet evenings in," she said. "I'd honestly rather pack them all into one night and get it over with."
Is three dates in one night the hectic future of dating in the ultra-busy dating app age? Or is three dates in one night too much?
According to Bill McKenna, a relationship expert in San Diego and the founder of Cognomovement, a cognitive movement exercise system, three dates in one night might seem like a great way to speed up the dating process, but it does come with potential downsides.
"The idea of scheduling three first dates in one night, each lasting for one hour, may seem like a quick and efficient way to get to know multiple people at once," he said. "However, one downside is that it can be difficult to give each person the attention and focus they deserve in such a short amount of time."
Just like the woman in the viral video, you may find yourself forgetting important details about each individual you meet.
You've got 60 minutes, impress me!
Ultimately, this means the date might be getting off to a poor start.
"It may also be difficult to establish a connection with someone in such a short period, and it can be challenging to make a good impression in such a short amount of time," McKenna said. "Some people may be put off by the idea of being one of several dates in one night and may not want to participate."
Relationship expert Callisto Adams, Ph.D., founder of HeTexted, a dating advice platform based in New York City, agreed that overscheduling could lead to problems.
"The potential downsides of doing these are giving 'uninterested' or 'disrespectful' vibes," she said. "Plus, if your dates are scheduled one after another, you will keep thinking about the next date and not enjoy the present."
Nevertheless, for some people, loading up a lineup can actually make the dating process better.
"On the upside, scheduling multiple dates in one night can be a great way to save time and energy, especially for people who are busy or have a lot of options to choose from," McKenna said. "It can also be a good way to screen potential partners and narrow down your options more quickly.
"Think of it as a live Tinder, where you can introduce yourself and check the vibe if it works or not, without wasting too much additional time," he suggested.
How to make three dates a night work
How can we actually make this modern speed dating work? Well, according to the experts, it's all about good planning and realistic expectations.
Adams suggested you schedule short, time-limited dates of around 30 minutes to get a taste of each potential partner. And remember to eat first and maybe hold off on the alcohol.
"Someone who chooses to have a three-date evening and wants to be successful should avoid heavy drinking and let their dates know about another schedule," she added. "You need to let them know first that you have something scheduled after 30 minutes."
"It's important to approach the evening with a clear plan and a positive attitude," McKenna explained. "To increase the chances of success, try to find common ground with each person you meet and make an effort to establish a connection. Be honest, open and authentic in your interactions and be sure to follow up with each person after the date, even if you don't think they're the right fit."
Let's face it, first dates can be hit or miss. And there's nothing quite so disappointing as giving up your one free night for a bad date. Maybe multiple dates in one evening are the answer—just make sure you come prepared.