Not getting what you want from dates? It may be time to introduce the zero date

If you're tired of going on one inconclusive date after another, then the "zero date" approach could be for you, helping you save time and energy.

The “zero date” is the one that precedes the first date, should you choose to schedule one. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t count as a date at all. Rather, it’s a preliminary meeting that lets you find out whether there’s any spark, if there’s chemistry between you. It serves to determine as soon as possible whether the two people who have just met want to go on to get to know each other further. In short, it avoids the forced talking stage of the first date to help you cut to the chase and decide whether you want to get further acquainted with a prospective partner. 

ALSO READ: Dating? Here’s what you need to know about ‘ghostlighting’

How did the zero date originate?

The concept is the brainchild of the podcaster and entrepreneur Christina Wallace. In a TED Talk, this MBA graduate explains that she used her professional skills when she coined the term “zero date”.

She explains that the “zero date” is just one drink, one hour of your time spent with the aim of answering one simple question: would I like to go to dinner with this person?

But the idea of a date before the first date is, in fact, not so new. “Zero dates aren’t really a new occurrence, it’s been happening throughout society in one format or another over time,” clinical sexologist and relationship coach, Ness Cooper, told Metro UK.

The specialist takes the example of speed dating, which effectively works on the same principle. But with “zero dating”, this time the individual alone determines when it’s time to end the encounter.

Research suggests that just a few moments spent face-to-face are all it takes to know if a date could prove successful. According to a British study carried out by the Britannia Rescue assistance service last February, people know within 25 minutes, on average, whether there’s a spark between them.

Alex Mellor-Brook, a dating expert interviewed by Glamour UK, agrees that “zero dates” can be an excellent way to “filter out the people who are time wasters, fakes and mistakes”.

These non-dates could also be a good way to “call someone out, and get them to communicate with you on a visual basis. Anyone catfishing [ed. using a fake identity] can be eliminated immediately. Do they look like their image? Do things add up based on what they have said about themselves on their profile? You’re able to find out a little more about them and then decide, would you want to leave your house to meet them?”

The “zero date” is the latest in a string of tactics designed to make the dating process more efficient. Earlier this year, the “stack dating” concept emerged, involving lining up a series of short dates between two other activities.

ALSO SEE: Have you ever gone on a date during work hours? – What to know about ‘stack dating’

Read more on these topics

dating relationships sex

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits