THE way to an Irishman's heart is not through his stomach -- but via his best friend.
A new St Valentine's Day survey of Irish dating habits has found that both men and women attach enormous weight to their best friend's opinion of a potential date.
The study -- conducted by Irish dating event, Wingman Nights -- was conducted with over 200 male and female participants.
It found that Irish people, far more than other nationalities, place faith in a friend's opinion of a love interest.
The study also found that, the older a man is, the more likely he is to be influenced by a friend's opinion.
The study found that:
• 71 per cent of men and 65 per cent of woman said they rely on a friend's opinion when selecting a date.
• 90 per cent of men aged 30-40 years said they are very likely to listen to a friend's advice about the suitability of dating partners.
• The older women get the more independent they are with just 30 per cent saying a friend's opinion would decisively influence them.
• In contrast, younger men are far less likely to take a friend's advice on board compared to younger women.
The study focused on men and women aged between 23 and 40.
Study co-ordinator Shane Hennessy said it reflected a fascinating contrast in what Irish men and women want from relationships at different stages in their lives.
"It is interesting that men, more than women, value their friend's opinion on meeting a new love interest, as generally men come across as a little more laid back," he told the Sunday Independent.
Mr Hennessy pointed out that men and women differ not only in relation to matters of the heart but also when it comes to career advice.
The study found that only 19 per cent of women said they questioned their own judgment when it came to career matters.
In contrast, 50 per cent of men indicated a greater willingness to take other opinions on board in relation to career and business matters.
In preparation for St Valentine's Day, Wingman Nights is staging a special dating event at the Classic Bar on Cork's South Main Street on February 10.