The Dating Deal Breakers Survey: The Nation’s Turn Offs and Turn Ons

The Dating Deal Breakers Survey: The Nation’s Turn Offs and Turn Ons

Everybody has attributes that they consider to be attractive when scoping out a prospective partner – whether it’s offering to pay the bill on a first date, complimenting our outfit, or wearing a particularly enticing cologne. But do you know how many other people share your preferences, or how you come across to that person you’re trying to impress?

With Love Island back on our screens, and plenty of people reflecting on their own relationship as a result, our Dating Deal Breakers Survey, conducted among 2,000 UK adults aged over 18, looks to uncover what behaviour people see as the ultimate ick, who’s most likely to be lucky and love, and how we’re best conducting ourselves in romantic situations. Look at the results of the survey organised by CasinoGuardian.

First Impressions: Turn Ons and ‘Icks’ Revealed

First impressions are everything, and that’s never more true than when you’re on a first date. Our survey asked people which behaviours would leave them feeling like they’d finally gotten lucky in love, and which would be an instant turn-off when scoping out a prospective partner. The latter are also known as ‘icks’, which have taken social media by storm over the last year and are defined as “when attraction to a current or potential partner is suddenly flipped to a feeling of disgust.”

The survey found that the biggest turn-off for first dates was when a partner is rude to waiting staff (20%), arriving to a date late (17%) and only speaking about themselves (15%). Furthermore, the survey showed that the debate around who pays on a date is still going strong, with over 1 in 10 of people likely to lose some interest were their partner to insist on splitting the bill.

First date icks revealed:

They’re rude to the waiting staff or bartender20%
They arrive to the date late17%
They only speak about themselves15%
They insist on splitting the bill12%
They insist on ordering food or drinks on your behalf11%
They don’t offer to pay or split the bill on a date9%
They insist on only ordering the cheapest menu items7%
They are visibly looking at other people on a date5%
They insist on only ordering the most expensive menu items4%

A further 1 in 10 people would lose interest if their partner ordered food or drinks on their behalf, whilst some would get the ick if instructed to only order the cheapest menu items.

But what about how we conduct ourselves on first dates? It’s not just our prospective partners that can make off-putting faux pas, as the findings show that 15% of those surveyed have accidentally called their date by the wrong name, whilst 8% have actually forgotten their prospective partner’s name altogether, and been too nervous to ask for it again.

Interestingly, the results also suggested that people who are better looking can get away with more first-date mistakes than others, as the majority (62%) of those surveyed said they’d be willing to overlook ‘icks’ or minor red flags if they though their date was good-looking, while a further 19% have said their date was better looking irl than they first appeared online.

Managing Romantic Situations: Right and Wrongs

So there’s first dates, and then there’s other inherently romantic situations that still carry a fair degree of pressure, such as meeting our new partner’s family, and attending a wedding.

The nation isn’t free of making faux pas at these events – in fact, it’s quite the opposite, with the survey revealing that a staggering 1 in 5 people are guilty of making the ‘inexcusable’ wedding blunder of wearing white – even when the bride has explicitly forbidden doing so.

Despite it generally being seen as an attempt to upstage the bride and even being considered bad luck, 19% of guests have worn white, whilst a further 29% confess that they’ve intentionally tried to out-dress fellow guests and the bride at the event. Neither are good, it’s clear, as 34% of people surveyed consider dressing OTT to be tasteless, whilst a further 63% of people see wearing white as ‘unacceptable’.

When it comes to the other wedding behaviours that are frowned upon, the results show that the most commonly-committed offences include getting too drunk (22%), changing the seating plan (18%) and arriving to the ceremony late (15%), whilst 1 in 10 people have brought an unexpected or uninvited guest to the wedding reception.

So, how do people make a good first impression in other formal situations? The survey shows that one of the romantic life events that people find the most stressful are meeting the parents-in-law (43%), with the majority of women admitting that they put off doing so for as long as possible (51%).

Interestingly, a third of people surveyed admitted that they were more nervous to meet their partner’s parents when they didn’t see the relationship as a long-term arrangement (29%), whilst 27% said they’d already stalked their partner’s family members on social media prior to meeting, in order to find good discussion points for their first meeting.

In both situations, it seems that we don’t think harshly of those who need a little liquid courage, with the majority of those surveyed (78%) considering drinking a lot at a wedding to be relatively acceptable, whilst over a quarter (26%) also considered drinking to be understandable and acceptable when meeting a partner’s family for the first time.

Luckiest in Love Demographics

So, even if you know exactly how best to navigate a romantic situation, and are pretty comfortable with the way you conduct yourself on a first date – are you still less likely to find love when the stars don’t align? The survey also asked people about when and how they met their current partner, how happy they are in their relationship, and what their background is, to identify which of us are more predisposed to love than others.

Interestingly, from a star sign standpoint, the survey showed that it’s Geminis (May 21 to June 21) that have had the most successful search for the one, with the majority currently in happy and healthy relationships, whilst Capricorn (December 22 to January 19) have experienced the least significant heartbreaks of the astrological signs (31%). Meanwhile, the least lucky signs came out as Taurus (April 20 to May 20), Cancer (June 21 to July 22) and Libra (September 23 – October 23). Other star signs that do well with their significant others include Pisces (February 19 – March 20), who have been on the least number of bad dates (25%).

Accents also played a big part in how attractive we find someone, with the Scottish accent deemed the most attractive in the UK, with Northern Ireland deemed the second most attractive accent, as 22% of those surveyed considered it the hottest. On the other end of the scale, it’s the Brummie accent – local to Birmingham, the Essex accent and the cockney accent that were voted the biggest turn-offs in the UK.

It seems that the circumstances under which we meet someone can have a bearing on how successfully that relationship goes, with the survey showing that July is the month in which people are most likely to meet their soulmate or life partner, followed by October. The least-likely times of year to find a partner came out as April, while those who met their partner in May were most likely to suffer serious heartbreak.

Furthermore, the findings reveal that those who sleep with their prospective partner on the first date are more likely to stay with them for a long-term relationship, with 33% of those surveyed doing so, whilst people who put off meeting their parents in law are also more likely to have a happier relationship as a result, compared those who try to get that first meeting out of the way early on.


While there’s no set road to success when it comes to meeting the one, it is interesting to see that we all make mistakes when dating, and that some of us may just be luckier in love than others. Luckily life is not like the Love Island villa, and nobody’s watching your every move, so feel free to make these mistakes and enjoy the journey.