Be proactive about dating, say experts, after survey results show many are not doing so
But relying on chance does not necessarily mean expecting to meet a partner without putting oneself “out there”, said the owner of a dating agency.
SINGAPORE: Half of the single respondents in a recent survey said they are not currently dating, but experts urge them to be proactive.
The findings of the 2021 Marriage and Parenthood Survey, which were released on Monday (Oct 10), showed that among those not currently dating, the top reasons cited were having a limited social circle, not having many opportunities to meet potential partners, and their preference to leave dating to chance.
Ms Michelle Goh, owner of dating agency CompleteMe, noted that being approached in the supermarket or on the bus is not common in the Asian culture, reducing the instances of such chances to meet a partner.
But relying on chance does not necessarily mean expecting to meet a partner without putting oneself “out there”, she said.
“People tell me (they) want to leave it to chance and leave it to fate, but, you see, being ‘swiped right’, both at the same time, that's also fate,” she told CNA938’s Asia First. She was referring to mobile dating apps that typically require people to swipe their screens to the right to indicate their interest in another user’s profile.
She added that even when it comes to organised events, there is an element of fate, as it is not possible to know who will attend it - even a potential partner.
The survey also showed that among the single respondents currently not dating, 38 per cent had never dated before.
The survey, which polled more than 5,800 Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 21 to 45 between February and June last year, was commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), a unit under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
FINDING POTENTIAL PARTNERS ONLINE
The NPTD described the proportion of single respondents who have never dated before and are not proactive in dating as “significant”.
Also speaking to CNA938’s Asia First, Dr Mathew Mathews, one of the research consultants for the survey, made a case for looking for potential partners online.
The principal research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies pointed to survey results that showed among those who were dating, 29 per cent said they met their partner through online channels. This was more than double the 13 per cent in 2016.
“Getting someone else or some other system involved in trying to help you make those connections - you've seen those trends moving up over the years,” he said.
Dr Mathews noted that with the pandemic limiting the opportunities for people to meet more organically, they were more open to “mediated” ways of meeting people to date.
This played out in the poll – it found that more than half of the single respondents, about 58 per cent, said they were comfortable with meeting a partner through online dating websites or apps, compared to 43 per cent in 2016.
However, they were still most comfortable meeting potential partners through more organic and face-to-face settings, including through social and recreational activities, friends, or through colleagues.
Dr Mathews added that while the proportion of those who are not proactively dating may be considered high, the situation is better than it used to be.
“We've seen that shift coming. Over the years, we look at those polls, we do notice that people increasingly are … not taking the option to say that ‘I'm leaving it to chance’,” he told CNA938’s Asia First.
DATING THROUGH AN AGENCY
Ms Goh said that her agency specialises in speed dating, but also arranges other types of activities for people based on their age.
For instance, those in their 20s and 30s prefer more organic events and those where they get to learn something or take part in an activity, such as going to an escape room or singing karaoke.
One event that was particularly popular was a cruise trip for people in this age.
“You're kind of locked down in a way, there's no way you can escape … (there are) very intensive meet-up (sessions) because we have a range of activities catered for them and then they kind of do all the games and stuff and they really build a relationship,” she said.
For older seekers of love, the firm caters sit-down meals to facilitate deep conversations, she added.