“Dawn Dating” Is the Trend Singles Have Been Waiting For

It’s the return of the 90s coffee date.

You’re on the way back from a great first date—two (or four…) martinis deep, feeling no pain—and FaceTiming your friends with a full recap. “We just got each other,” you say with a smirk. That night, you go to bed feeling invincible; there’s no doubt in your mind he’ll send the, “I had a great time last night” text in the morning, followed by a “When can I see you again?”. That is, until the sun goes down the next day and you still haven’t heard from him. Panic sets in. He’s probably just busy with work. He’ll check in at 5, you tell yourself. And by 6 p.m., you’ve officially entered the dark place: you’ve just been ghosted

Indeed, ghosting seems to be the price you pay for admission into the dating world these days. Yet, if you look beyond its surface definition—which entails one person abruptly ending the relationship, leaving the other person dumbfounded—it’s hard to see why there’s such a universal disconnect. Why is it that so many singles are feeling deceived and bamboozled after (what they thought) was a great first date? 

The short, predictable answer is that dating apps have changed the way we interact forever. BUT, thanks to a not-so-new trend, there’s a new way of dating that might be able to get everyone on the same page: Dawn dating.

Gophering Is the New Ghosting 

Meet The Expert

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a Neuropsychologist based out of New York City and founder of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services (CCPS). She has completed post-doctoral work in neuro-developmental psychology and is a licensed psychologist and a New York State certified school psychologist.

What Is Dawn Dating

Dawn dating is a trendy name for going on a morning date. In a survey of 1,000 singles, dating app Badoo found that 51 percent of its users have been on a morning date recently (or would like to go on one) and 71 percent would be impressed if someone asked them to go on a date in the morning. “By the end of the day, fatigue or distractions from work, daily stressors, or other responsibilities may impact your energy levels and ability to engage in the date fully,” Dr. Hafeez explains. “Engaging in a morning date allows you to have the rest of the day to yourself. If the date goes well, you may feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which can positively influence your mood and overall well-being.”

The survey also found that a third of respondents said they preferred a morning date because they don’t have to sacrifice their social life or change evening plans with friends. Dr. Hafeez backs this, telling me, “Morning dates cater well to busy professionals with demanding work schedules. By scheduling dates in the morning, they can ensure they have quality time together before their work responsibilities take over the rest of the day. It allows them to prioritize their romantic life without neglecting their professional commitments.” 

It’s also worth mentioning that 37 percent of respondents felt like they got to know their morning date on a deeper level. “Morning dates often carry fewer expectations than evening dates, traditionally associated with romance and intimacy. This lower level of expectation may lead to reduced performance anxiety and stress, allowing you to feel more relaxed and be yourself,” the doc adds.

Naturally, if you’re an introvert like me, your knee-jerk reaction to this trend was, first date without a cocktail? Pass. But according to the survey, 43 percent of respondents were happy to have the pressure of drinking alcohol removed from the date. And at this point, I can’t help but wonder: When did we, as a society, become so afraid to connect without the crutch of a having cocktail? If you’re looking for something serious, it should probably start with a sober conversation…

Why Dawn Dating Making a Comeback

Back in the day, the first date could carry a slower, more amiable undertone. Take any late ‘90s or early 2000s rom-com, for example (You’ve got Mail, Serendipity, 50 First Dates…the list goes on). The attraction develops organically in broad daylight, usually at a coffee shop, thanks to a foundation of friendly conversation with zero expectation of sex. Both parties not only leave with a reliable memory of how the first date went, but they also have a clear sense of whether they want to see the other person again. And it's the reason why Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's characters both break out into a simultaneous, post-date happy dance: They’re on the same page.  

Fast forward 20 years, however, where romance is measured by prompts and profile pictures. Today’s first date demands the answer to questions like: 1) does their IRL personality match their online persona and 2) would I sleep with them? Hinge and Bumble have facilitated the delusion that you already know your date, mainly from texting before you meet in-person, so all that’s left is testing your physical chemistry. It carries the allure of expeditious sex, where the friendship first, relationship later script has been flipped on its head. 

So then, this is where the frustration over ghosting comes in. Drinks from 8 to 11:30 p.m. provide just enough liquid courage to sleep with someone you referred to as “Alec” all night (when in reality, his name was “Alex”). When you wake up the next morning—mortified and wrought with hangxiety of how you came off the night before—you decide to delete Alex’s number. Meeting him turns into a blurry, embarrassing escapade you’d like to bury deep into your subconscious (all while he’s left wondering whether you died or moved to Iceland). 

The bottom line: sexual satisfaction with a ‘no strings attached’ mentality certainly has its upsides. But today’s cycle of grabbing drinks, having sex and abruptly cutting communication is hardly the blueprint for a long-lasting relationship. Hence, why if you’re looking for something serious, Dawn dating is the antidote. And thanks to Dr. Hafeez, we have a few pointers on how to monetize on trend (without coming off like you have a drinking problem or a wife waiting at home after dinner).

How to Make The Most of Dawn Dating

  1. Conversation starters: If you’re nervous about asking someone out in the morning, the doc recommends “emphasizing the unique advantages of starting the day together. Mention activities that align with the morning atmosphere, such as breakfast at a cozy cafe, sunrise hikes, or visiting a local farmers' market.” She also adds, “People prioritizing physical fitness often enjoy morning dates because they align with their wellness routines. They can combine activities like jogging, hiking, or yoga with quality time spent together. It sets a positive tone for the day and promotes a healthy lifestyle.”
  2. Be an active listener: “Morning daters can benefit from the freshness and alertness that comes with starting the day. After a good night's sleep, you may feel more energized, focused, and less tired,” Dr. Hafeez explains. Hence, why this might be the perfect time to tap into your listening skills: “Show genuine interest in the other person's words. Listen attentively, maintain eye contact, and respond thoughtfully. This helps create a sense of connection and shows that you value their thoughts and opinions.”
  3. Enjoy the surroundings: According to the doc, “The upside to morning dates (as opposed to evening ones) is location and timing. Evening dates can be affected by crowded venues, noise levels, or longer waiting times at popular spots.” So, while you’re on your morning date, you want to be present and mindful: “Put away your phones and focus on the person in front of you. Whether it's watching a beautiful sunrise, savoring a delicious breakfast, or taking a stroll, appreciate the unique experiences the morning offers and share them with your date.”

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Assistant Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Assistant Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...