One in five singletons admit to secretly taking a friend out on a date

More than half of those who have had their pal show up in secret — and six in 10 prefer debriefing with their pals over the actual date

One in five have brought a pal with them on a date — and nearly half wish they could
One in five have brought a pal with them on a date — and nearly half wish they could

Singletons give “plus one” a whole new meaning as one in five admit to taking a friend on a date, a study has found.

A survey of 2,000 single adults who have been actively dating in the past five years found that half of them (51%) had their pal secretly show up locally.

Another 48% wish they could take their buddies out on dates – and 59% enjoy the introduction and dating debriefs with friends more than the event itself.

And a pal’s involvement starts from the beginning, with nearly three-quarters (72%) of singles seeking the opinion of friends and family before even saying “yes” to a romantic endeavor.

While friends are the most common choice for courtship counseling (50%), co-workers (28%) and siblings (23%) are also popular confidants.

And 59% said supportive friends and family make them feel more confident as they navigate the dating world.

Over a third have called a friend while on a date to provide live updates


Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

It also turned out that it takes more than two people to facilitate a date other than the dater himself.

This includes the friends who boost confidence (59%) or offer advice on outfits (24%), and even the strangers who make you smile along the way (24%).

Following the results, Plenty of Fish, which commissioned the study, teamed up with author and poet Charly Cox to create “thank you notes” – a digital poetry collection based on the real-life dating stories of British singles, with a nod of thanks to those who played an unexpected role in their quest for love.

Dating expert Kate MacLean said: “Sometimes we get so caught up in the desired outcome of a date that we forget about those who are helping us get there.

“Dating is a journey, and it’s the people around us, our support circles, that can help take the pressure off.

“Creating ‘thank you’ notes is a celebration of dating and the unexpected charm found in the journey.”

The study also found that these “date partners” extend beyond family and friends – 31% seek love advice from strangers they meet on the road or on the way to work.

Restaurant staff (14%), taxi drivers (13%), bartenders (13%), baristas (10%) and train attendants (11%) were also cited as boosting confidence for bright-eyed singletons before a date.

It also found that even ex-boyfriends play a role, with 16% confiding in a former partner before dating.

More than two-thirds (69%) of those surveyed via OnePoll were encouraged by their buddies to date someone who isn’t their usual guy.

But 85% have learned more from flops than from successful ones.

Dating app Plenty of Fish created thank you poems for those who helped you set up a date


Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Preparations and preliminary talks with friends start on average two days before the main event.

The most popular rituals include sharing information about their romantic interest (32%), checking social media (30%) and getting recommendations for date locations (27%).

When it comes to live updates, 45% of singletons text during the date, while 38% make it as far as calling a friend.

On average, single people spend two hours talking to friends about an upcoming date, with 59% feeling more confident doing so, while 30% said it helps calm their nerves.

Charly Cox added: “I have loved translating people’s journeys and experiences of relationship life into poetry – and giving a well-deserved tribute to these unsung heroes who play such a big part in the early stages.

“It was wonderful to celebrate the everyday interactions that can positively impact our lives.

“This collection of poems is a wonderful reminder to enjoy the process, find joy in the nuances and capture the people you meet along the way – whether in your search for love or elsewhere.”

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