What is “normal” anyway?

published on 19. Jun 2023

A new study released today by dating app Match has revealed that over half (51%) of singles feel as though they must conform to a “norm” when it comes to dating.

A third (34%) say they carefully curate their dating profile to what they think people will be interested in, with 38% confessing to toning down their personalities, out of fear of judgement or rejection.

In fact, 15% of singles admitted to appearing more laid back on a date than what they are in reality. A further 14% have wanted to complain in a restaurant or bar but were worried about appearing confrontational. One in 10 have concealed how assertive they are by letting their date pick the venue, when normally they love to have full control of the plans. The same proportion even turned up late to a date, so they didn’t look too keen, even though they’re always punctual.

However, these traits weren’t the only things causing hesitancy. Their own financial status (30%), the sound of their voice (22%) and fashion sense (15%) were single Brits’ top insecurities and they will normally wait until at least date number five before revealing these parts of themselves to a potential partner.

The research from Match also revealed that it’s these idiosyncrasies that have Brits falling in love. 39% of singles say that being confident in your own skin, having a passion (26%) and self-love (22%) are some of the sexiest qualities that attracts them to a potential partner.

But singles’ self-doubt also has them second guessing what “normal” behaviour is and how to not appear too keen – which could potentially be seen as off-putting. When it comes to responding to a message from a date, the research revealed that on average singles wait 23 minutes as they fear coming across too interested. This is despite 21% admitting they wanted to text back sooner but were trying to play it cool.

On average singles also went on six first dates that never resulted in a second, with 15% feeling too self-conscious to discuss this with friends for fear this wasn’t the norm.

Hayley Quinn, dating expert for Match says: “When you’re yourself, you’ll naturally do a better job at shining for the people you connect with. However, it can be hard to hold onto this confident mindset, when you feel like things haven’t worked out in the past. You might feel like ‘just being yourself’ is setting yourself up for failure, and become tempted to present an ‘edited’ version of yourself on your dates. 

 “Whilst it might be tempting to conform on your dates to trying to be the most attractive ‘version’ of yourself, the irony is people shine most when they communicate more (not less) of who they really are. When you’re comfortable being candid with someone, have your own opinions, and passions, you demonstrate high self-worth which is ultimately, one of the most attractive qualities. Equally, though a leap of faith when you meet someone can feel scary, that magic ingredient of vulnerability is essential to form a real connection with someone.” 

To help singles express their true selves and make real connections, Match has a range of services to elevate the dating experience. Its Live Room feature provides an engaging new video chat experience which gives singles an entertaining way to show off their personality. Match Voice also allows singles to update their profile with a voice note responding to a specific topic and a ‘Things in Common’ feature which shows mutual traits and interests with someone when viewing a profile.

Top 20 things singles find sexiest

  1. Honesty (64%)
  2. Kindness (60%)
  3. Wittiness/having a good sense of humour (49%)
  4. Open-mindedness (36%)
  5. Generosity (31%)
  6. Chattiness (28%)
  7. Enthusiasm (27%)
  8. Surprising taste in music (27%)
  9. Having a passion (26%)
  10. Being a ‘nerd’ in a particular subject matter (25%)
  11. A musical talent (25%)
  12. Self-love (22%)
  13. Having a different accent (22%)
  14. Punctuality (21%)
  15. Having a unique laugh (21%)
  16. Outgoingness (20%)
  17. Tidiness (17%)
  18. Can dance well (e.g. Tango or Salsa) (15%)
  19. The number of pets they have (15%)
  20. Assertiveness (14%)


Contact Presse Jess Monty
About Match Launched in 1995, Match is a leading online dating brand in the UK, offering a wide array of features and services.
Through the Match app, singles have all the means to meet other singles ready for a real relationship, via Live and Audio discovery features, or IRL Singles Events. Combining technological innovation, efficiency, support (during LiveCoaching sessions) and Customer Care, Match continually offers new services to spark real connections.
As a founding member of the Online Dating Association (ODA), Match is committed to providing a safe and confidential community for its members.

Match is operated by Meetic and its affiliated companies in Europe, which are part of Match Group, a leading provider of digital technologies designed to help people make meaningful connections. For more information, visit
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