First dates in the digital age mean shutting down the phone

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

As times change so, too, does dating.

Chicago matchmaker and dating coach Stef Safra, who operates the dating company Stef and the City, said young people have more college debt than older generations. Some still live at home, and many young people work well into the evening. These factors affect dating today.  

The traditional weekday drinks or dinner for a first date has become more challenging because of cell phones—it’s hard for people to put them down and focus on the present, Safra said. “People with cell phones are still doing work. They haven’t detached themselves for a date during the week.”

She suggests people meet on the weekend for brunch when their minds are more relaxed, and she urges those about to embark on a first date to decompress for 20 minutes prior to the date.

Also, Safran pointed out, a first date dinner is a bad idea because if the date doesn’t go well, it could be a long and uncomfortable meal.

Safran also suggests treating the first date like an informal interview—don’t take it so seriously.

“It takes three dates for the person to get comfortable and think you’ll stick around,” she said. “It takes time for people to get comfortable with you and let down their guard.”

Even with the many dating apps that exist today, professional matchmaking services are still thriving because digital apps require time to navigate, and even then, matches may not pan out or, worse, the match could be a catfish scam.

“Matchmaking becomes much more necessary [now] and a lot of men actually ask for it, which is surprising because men don’t always like to ask for directions,” she said.

To find out more about Safran’s services, visit stefandthecity.com

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