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New Dating App Survey Reveals What Makes Singaporeans Swipe Right (And Left)

According to a new survey commissioned by dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, the average Singapore single has over 24 dating dealbreakers. The usual suspects are related to profession, height, hair length and personal hygiene (we know, some people still need to be clued in on this).

But there were also quite a few stats that made me go - er, really meh? 

For instance, women have an average of 19 requirements for a partner. Men have an average of 15. 

As someone who used quite a few dating apps before getting attached, I have vivid memories of feeling chained to my wishlist, yet swiping and messaging until blur. I quickly DM'd my colleague, Farhan - who's also a veteran of dating apps - to ask him what he thought about all these wishlists and dealbreakers. 

Diane: Hey Farhan!! How’s your love life these days hahhahaa 

Farhan: Well, let’s just say love in a time of COVID is really something, huh. I sympathise with those trying to date during this period. 

Diane: I keep seeing two servings of food in your Instagram stories. Does this mean what I think it means…?

Farhan: Indeed it is? And I would like to thank Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) for introducing me to my partner, haha. No, this is not a sponsored post. Speaking of which, congratulations to you too! 

Diane: Haha, thanks! I’d also like to thank CMB for not sending me any suitable Bagels, otherwise I wouldn’t be with my now-fiance (whom I met the old-fashioned way - offline). Whoops maybe I was one of those women with 19 requirements hahaha. 

Farhan: Well, I guess CMB has a 50/50 success here at Wonderwall. But in any case, glad we’re both “off the market” lol. So about that Coffee Meets Bagel survey, women are pickier than men, huh? Can you please confirm or deny?

Diane: It’s hard to make a definitive statement either way, but I will say this: there’s a difference between being picky and being precise. And if you know what you’re looking for, you can swipe with greater precision. But you’re the one who found someone on the app, so I’d rather hear about this from you. 

Farhan: Precision. That’s a great way to put it. I mean you can’t really tell somebody’s standard of hygiene based on their profile picture. Physical attributes aside, you’ll still have to meet your potential date in person before you can make a proper judgment regardless of where you hit it off with them first.

Diane: Okay yeah. So let’s go over the results of this survey.


❤️ Women want taller partners. More single women rate a tall man as their second-highest criteria. Meanwhile, men prefer long hair over long legs. Long hair is consistently ranked among the top 5 traits for men of all ages. 

Diane: I mean….this is practically a cliche by now. But it’s so try-hard when a guy states his height on his dating bio.

Farhan: I’m not sure why they compare long hair with long legs, but honestly, beauty is subjective and everyone has their own tastes and preferences. But physical looks come second to chemistry and shared values in my opinion. 

Diane: Have you ever been rejected because of your height? 

Farhan: Personally, no. I would say I am average in height so I can’t say I’ve encountered any height discrimination, personally. Then again, Tom Cruise is vertically challenged and no one bats an eye. Not saying I’m Tom lah but dating a taller gal is not Mission Impossible.

❤️Everyone loves fresh breath, good teeth, and a natural look 

Farhan: Yes, agreed. I think it’s just about having proper hygiene. I also do notice a girl’s teeth at first but more to see if they have a great smile. I think looking natural is attractive because it shows that the ladies are comfortable in their own skin.

Diane: A sunny smile, a confident demeanour, and good dental hygiene are total must-haves for me! But I want to know what constitutes a natural look (are tattoos okay? What about red lipstick or dyed hair?) and whether good teeth mean straight white teeth or just clean teeth. Not everyone has the resources to get braces, but a sparkling personality can compensate for a lot. 

Farhan: Tattoos are a non-issue. Haha I think it’s someone who’s confident to pull off light makeup if they want to. And I think the confidence shines through in the way they smile, not necessarily the straightness of their teeth.

❤️Singaporean men and women included dimples among their top 10 qualities in a partner

Farhan: You know how rare it is to find someone with dimples. This is all fantasy booking at this point.

Diane: Top 20 or even top 15 I can understand, but top 10? Really?? 

❤️Doctors, teachers and bankers are the most sought-after professions. One in five Singaporean daters would reject a potential date based on their occupation

Farhan: I think that just translates to stability. I think for a woman, a man’s ability to provide is still a highly attractive trait. Even if the woman is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, they appreciate being able to rely on the guy. My take lah.

Diane: Hmmm, I think it’s not so much about these specific careers, but what they signify - prestige, financial stability, being hardworking, and wanting to help others. I wouldn’t necessarily swipe right on a guy just because his bio says that he’s a doctor or a banker though. 


❤️1 in 2 Singaporeans would reject a potential partner for being too messy

Farhan: Messy is a red flag for me too. Like if you can’t keep your house in order, chances are your life might be out of order too.

Diane: It’s hard to know this about someone based on a dating app profile, but yeah, definitely a dealbreaker, especially when they drop food all over the table without wiping it up (this always grosses me out during meals). 

❤️Millennials (aged 26-39) in Singapore placed an emphasis on partners who are physically attractive, affectionate and good in bed. Older Singaporeans named being able to compromise, being low maintenance, and not getting jealous easily as important traits. 

Farhan: Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Chemistry trumps all. And let’s just say, being good in bed can be learnt? I also appreciate someone who can compromise and doesn’t get jealous easily. Is this old age speaking? *gasps*

Diane: Chemistry and attraction are important, but they shouldn’t trump good character or shared goals in life. If the traits that the older Singaporeans named are the meat and potatoes of a relationship, then the traits that millennials named are the seasoning! A meal needs both.

❤️A good-looking partner is twice more important for millennial women than it is for female baby boomers (aged 50-65). 

Diane: Maybe after a certain age, it’s more important to be healthy than it is to be super good-looking. I mean, not everyone can be Tony Leung or Chuando Tan. 

Farhan: I don’t think my partner chose me for my looks, if I’m being honest haha. Then again maybe that’s why I’m dating a Gen Z as opposed to a millennial.

❤️96% of Singaporeans are happily in a relationship with someone who's not what they expected. Seven out of 10 women in relationships are with someone who only aligns with half (at most) of their original wishlist. 

Farhan: Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with this. My partner is a perfect example of the person you least expect being the right one for you. Love can come from anywhere. So yeah best to be open-minded sometimes.

Diane: What I want to know is - which half of the wishlist? The half that has to do with height and hair length, or the half that has to do with loyalty, patience, and generosity? If I could have changed something about the way I used dating apps, I would have focused less on the immediate spark and more on the maturity and stability of my matches. Not because I regret letting any of them get away, but because I would have at least had a better grasp on what it takes to move past the infatuation stage and into “boring” areas like communication and commitment before meeting my current partner. 


❤️Women are two times more likely than men to search for a partner that is financially stable. 

Farhan: Yes, I agree with this too. Building on the previous point, I do feel the pressure to be financially stable. Perhaps it’s a societal thing but it’s something I’ve internalized as a norm. I’ve personally had previous dates end up with someone who is stable and secure when I was still struggling so I can verify this statement.

Diane: I once went on a CMB dinner date with someone who asked if I wanted to grab coffee and dessert afterward, only to bypass two or three different cafes after looking at the prices on the menu. In the end, going from cafe to cafe looking at different menus got so tiring that I chose a random one and offered to pay for both of us. And to be honest, since this was a first date, it was a bit of a turnoff. I don’t expect luxurious meals, but both of us were in our early thirties and he had a corporate job, so I didn’t think it’d be so hard for him to fork out $15 for two long blacks and a cake to share. I felt like either this guy was cheap, or he really had some serious financial issues.  

❤️Women are seven times more likely to seek out a partner who loves animals 

Diane: A picture of himself with a cat or a dog is pretty much a prerequisite for guys on dating apps nowadays. 

Farhan: I love cats! But I don’t currently own one so I couldn’t show it off or play the “I have a cat” card. So this doesn’t apply to me, per se?


❤️All Singaporeans (especially women) agreed that a boring person was unattractive.

Farhan: Haha unfortunately yes. If you’re boring chances are the other party will lose interest pretty quickly. It doesn’t mean you have to have a cool job or have done cool things to impress your date. You just need to be able to hold a conversation and make your potential partner feel heard and appreciated. You’ll come across as boring if you don’t talk or talk too much about yourself.

Diane: Ugh, this. I felt so much pressure to be interesting while I was using dating apps, so I’d splash my international education, travel experiences, and book preferences all over my bio. And even when I first met my current partner, I felt like I had to be this witty, cultured person to impress him because I was so afraid that he would lose interest in me if I were at all boring or basic. I guess I started feeling safe with him when I realised that both of us could be interesting, but when we’re with each other, we don’t have to be. We can just be ourselves, even when that means sitting around on Saturdays and eating at the same mall every week. 

❤️Chewing too loudly and oversharing on social media were also dealbreakers, and 1 in 3 Singaporeans surveyed have been dumped for nail-biting.  

Diane: I’d love to know how they collected the last stat. 

Farhan: What even? Yeah they totally polled every CMB user who chews haha. Actually for the oversharing, I must say I agree. In my younger years I was guilty of this and I now realise it must have been quite the turn-off. 

❤️Singaporeans all agreed that honesty, loyalty, and mutual respect are the most important parts of a long and happy relationship

Farhan: Coincidentally enough those are my top 3 traits as well haha. If you feel inferior to your partner or feel you are better than them, it will cause problems in the long term. The first two traits are a given but sadly increasingly rare.

Diane: I agree! These qualities aren’t flashy or obvious - if you asked me five years ago, I would have called them downright boring. But I guess it’s the mundane, everyday acts of love and faithfulness that sustain a relationship over time, rather than things like good teeth or being over 180cm. 

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