As more and more Singaporeans delay marriage until their early 30’s and late 20’s*, for most of us, serious dating is likely to begin only after we begin working. However, juggling the demands of building a career whilst trying to find time to meet the right person to spend the rest of our lives with; is challenging at best. 

For most of us, dating has become a matter of volume and turnover. How do we meet the highest number of potential partners and complete the most thorough compatibility assessment in the shortest time possible? If dating this way sounds like too much of a rat race, then maybe you should try dating the old fashioned way. 

The Introduction

How did people meet each other in the days before the internet? Mostly through common interests, friends and family. The great thing about meeting someone through any one of these ways is that you are most likely to be assured of at least some degree of compatibility. If you share an interest or hobby, then you will always have something to talk about. If your friends and family think that they’ve found the perfect date for you, then you’ve had someone who knows you well and has your best interests at heart make a compatibility evaluation for you, which will likely be better than anything an online database match can do. 

The Date

In an old fashioned romance no invitation for a date starts with a text message that goes “Hey, uh, wanna hang out sometime?” Neither does your date call you at 10pm and say “yeah, well, I’m out with some friends, wanna join us?”

Ask Personally
Dates usually begin with both of you deciding that it would be nice to meet up. Perhaps it’s asked at the end of a casual conversation, or it’s a more formal call, but the invitation is usually one which is extended personally. Make it clear that this is a date and not an ambiguous invitation to spend time with friends or just to meet up out of convenience. Asking personally also shows that you are sincere and open about wanting to go on a date. 

Plan Ahead and Make Arrangements
Choose a nice place and plan an activity which you and your date will enjoy. It could be a great seafood dinner by the beach, an evening out dancing, an afternoon spent bowling, or a movie matinee, but whatever you choose, take the time to make arrangements. This way, when you ask your date out, you can be specific about where to meet and what you will be doing. This tells your date that you have thought about what both of you would like to do and taken the time and effort to make sure that you won’t be disappointed by sold out movie tickets, fully booked restaurants or closed bowling lanes.

Get to Know Each Other
Arrive on time, dress well, put the cell phone away, be considerate and take the time to get to know your date. Be authentic and true to yourself. If you have certain values that are important, share them with your date. Listen to what your date tells you about what is important to them too.

The Follow Up
Going on a date signals an intention to start something more serious. As such, you need to follow through by letting your date know where you stand in the relationship. 

Call after the Date
Always follow up after a date. Call or send a note to say thank you and to let your date know that you appreciated the time that they spent with you. 

Don’t Play Games
Avoid “playing the game”. Be yourself, if you liked your date, let him or her know and arrange to meet again. Be open about where you stand. Conversely, if you feel that you don’t see yourself together in the future; let your date know gently that you might be interested in seeing them as a friend, but not as a romantic interest. When you’ve been dating awhile, questions such as “Are we a couple? Are we exclusive? Is this serious?” need to be addressed. Avoiding them or not making a decision will lead to hurt and confusion. 

Give Your Relationship Time to Develop
Be patient and take your time to get to know each other. Don’t write someone off on the basis of 1 or 2 bad dates but don’t try to force the pace of your relationship either. Give yourselves the time to truly get to know each other without overt sexual expectations. When you do this, you give yourself a chance to continue as friends or to exit the relationship gracefully if you realise that you are not really meant for each other. 

Key Takeaways

  • Dating the old fashioned way means taking your time and investing personally in a relationship.

  • Don’t discount networks such as interest groups, friends and family when it comes to reaching out and finding the one for you. 

  • Be considerate and respectful with your date.

  • Be honest and open about who you are and what’s important to you. Don’t try to be someone else.

  • Be clear about where you stand in the relationship.


By 2014, the average age of marriage for Singaporean men was at 30.2 years, and for women, it was at 28.2 years. Source:  “Key indicators on marriages and divorces, 2009-2014”, Department of Statistics Singapore.