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I Tried A Toronto Therapist's Online Dating Tips IRL & Here's What I Learned (VIDEO)

I had my dates review me afterwards and here's the tea.

Toronto Staff Writer
Brooke Houghton holding a mug. Right: Two people holding drinks.

Brooke Houghton holding a mug. Right: Two people holding drinks.

First dates are basically just an hour of editing your personality to its peak state while eating and trying to look pretty.

I'm a novice dater in Toronto, and before I went on seven Hinge dates in seven days, I had been out of the game for almost five years. Therefore, while I'd like to think flirting is like riding a bike, I could use some new air in my tires.

This past week I decided to chat with Kira Hurley, a relationship therapist from Couple Therapy Toronto, about how to have a great first online date, and I wanted to put her tips to the test.

I booked two first Hinge dates, followed all the therapist's rules on one of the dates, and acted like my usual flawed self on the other. I then asked both guys to review the date afterwards and send me their feedback.

How to have a great first date & secure a second

It can be hard to know how to present yourself when you go on a date.

Do you go straight into your family's weird dynamic and your own odd hang-ups right off the bat? Or do you keep it casual and rely on the tried and true line of conversation of "how many siblings do you have?"

I personally fall into the chronic oversharer column, which is only amplified by how into a person I am. So if I've ever used an Oliver Twist accent on you on a first date or told you about my childhood, I probably just really liked you.

Hurley says while you want to be yourself and be open, you do want to steer away from controversial topics like politics on a first date and leave those to be discussed later.

Her main rules for a first date are as follows:

  1. Start with a handshake and a smile.
  2. Put your phone away.
  3. Ask open-ended questions
  4. Keep the date between one and two hours long.
  5. Avoid monologuing.
  6. Stay away from controversial topics.
  7. Communicate if you want to see them again.

Date 1: Breaking the rules

My date and I met up for drinks at 416 Snack Bar at 7:30 p.m..

After my rough introduction to Hinge, my expectations were not that high, but right off the bat, it was smooth sailing.

We both went for a hug, grabbed two seats at the bar and ordered a round of drinks before getting straight into the hard stuff. We talked about politics, religion and sexuality, and he even let me scroll through his Spotify playlist.

I checked my phone a couple of times at the table, asked plenty of yes or no questions and definitely monologued at least three times while sharing my unhinged five-year plan I usually keep tucked away in my notes app.

Our date lasted about two drinks, one shot and four hours long before he walked me home.

Date 2: Following the rules

On date number two, I met up at Founder for a drink at 7:30 p.m., and I was about two minutes late because I was coming from drinks with co-workers.

He had already grabbed our table, and as I went over for a handshake, he stood up for a hug, which led to a combo of both. But we managed to overcome it and sat down.

We grabbed two rounds of drinks, split an appetizer and shared just under two hours of polite conversation with a lot of questions mainly centred around our work and the time we had spent living in Toronto.

We walked out together, and he headed off to meet up with friends while I headed home.

The results

The morning after my second date, I sent a Google survey to both my dates with the following questions, and these were their responses:

How would you rate our first interaction? (1 to 10)

Date 1: 9/10

Date 2: 9/10

How was our conversation? (1 to 10)

Date 1: 10/10

Date 2: 9/10

Would you go on a second date? (Y/N)

Date 1: Yes

Date 2: Yes

How was our connection? (1 to 10)

Date 1: 10/10

Date 2: 8/10

The scores are in, and being myself seemed to be better for my dating life, but I think a natural connection had more to do with it than anything else.

Hurley outlines rules on how to be polite on a date, the types of questions to ask, and ways of engaging with the person, which is a good idea when trying to land a second date.

However, I would suggest just being the goofiest version of yourself because, while you may not get as many second dates as you'd like, you'll be able to weed out the ones who can't handle your quirks.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

    Brooke Houghton
    Toronto Staff Writer
    Brooke Houghton is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada's Ontario Desk focused on celebrity news and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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