Quarantine and social distancing practices made dating weird for the last few years ― remember when New York City health department officials told singles to use walls and other dividers during sex to avoid face-to-face contact? (“Make it a little kinky,” they advised.)
Now singles are pretty much back into the swing of things, which is great, only there’s a whole slew of new dating trends to look out for.
Below, we catalog 10 terrible dating trends we’d love to swipe left on in the new year. (Plus, a few we hope last.)
It’s alive! It’s alive! With zombie-ing, the ghoster you thought you’d never hear from again pops back into your life as if nothing happened. Your best bet? Make like a non-zombie character from “The Walking Dead” and run far, far away.
In 2021, the dating app Hinge released a feature allowing daters to send voice messages and add audio notes to profiles. Apparently, that’s resulted in a lot of voice-fishing ― users use a phony, sexier-sounding voice in the hopes of attracting a date. Think: Paris Hilton using a baby voice even though she actually has a relatively deep voice.
A holdover from our collective pandemic mentality, to hesidate is to feel unsure about a relationship and dating as a whole because of how uncertain life has felt since COVID.
A study from Plenty of Fish this year found 70% of singles are unsure about who they’re dating and if they want something serious or more casual. While we can sympathize, in the long run, that kind of avoidant dating behavior benefits no one.
Admittedly, this one is going to be hard to understand if you’re not a Swiftie. First, you have to understand that “Mastermind” is a song from Taylor Swift’s album “Midnights” that delves into how she laid the “groundwork” for meeting a romantic interest.
In response to the song, TikTokers posted videos sharing the grunt work they put into making things happen with their partners.
There’s nothing wrong with doing your research on a crush or creating a fancy-meeting-you-here “coincidence” or two but some people admitted to vaguely stalkerish behavior.
“I researched on LinkedIn a lawyer in my area that could help me and then ‘bumped into him’ for a week straight at his local Starbucks until he asked me out,” one woman confessed in a now-viral video, which has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. “We dated for about a month, in which he helped me out so much and I got my legal procedure resolved.”
5. Power PDA-ing
Coined by the dating app Bumble, “power PDA” is like regular PDA, only with more spit and way more ass grabbing.
“People are really making up for lost time,” Caroline West, relationship expert with Bumble, said of the trend on the “Dermot & Dave” podcast. “Two in three Bumble daters are saying they’re into [the power PDA trend], and I think it’s related to how touch-starved we were during the pandemic. People are really making up for two years of having nobody touch them.”
We agree that touch is essential but please, try to keep it below Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker levels. The world doesn’t need another Kravis.
6. The excess of ethically nonmonogamous men on dating apps
We’ve got nothing against practicing ethical nonmonogamy ― whatever works for you and yours! ― but too many times, it’s a cover for shady behavior. Maybe someone doesn’t admit they’re in an open relationship until they’ve been on multiple dates with a new person. Or maybe their partner isn’t clued in on the nonmonogamy.
As Twitter user @MxMippy put it, “Let’s stop saying ‘ethical non-monogamy’ and start saying ‘consensual non-monogamy’ to emphasize that a lot more people are in non-monogamous relationships than they aren’t consenting to or are aware of.”
7. Pete Davidson
Yep, Pete Davidson has dated enough women this past year to qualify as a veritable trend. (Side note: Is there a way to unsubscribe from Pete Davidson content? If so, let us know in the comments.)
8. Beige Flags
First coined by TikTok creator Caitlin MacPhail, a self-proclaimed dating guru, “beige flags” are “signs on dating app profiles that the person behind the profile is probably fucking boring.”
Think: Someone whose entire personality is liking “The Office” or “Harry Potter.” Or someone who writes that they’re “looking for someone who can keep up with me” on their dating profile.
Why are we not into this trend? It’s just sort of petty. Give people a little leeway to be basic sometimes!
9. Winter Coating
Season-specific dating trends to reek of desperation (ugh, “cuffing season”) and this one is no different: Winter coating is when someone you’ve casually dated, hooked up or even just DM’ed with on a dating app hits you up during the aforementioned cuffing season. Gotta keep warm somehow!
Have you ever had a conversation with someone on a dating app where they started off saying “hey” and followed up with “hey” and maybe then tossed in a “good morning!” the next day, just to keep things fresh? Yeah, that’s a hey-ter and we hate that.
And here are five dating trends we want to keep:
According to eHarmony’s end-of-year and 2023 dating trends report, 47% of singles have passed on a date due to their personal financial situation.
Luckily, others have just decided to “infla-date” — or go on less expensive dates due to the rising prices of food at restaurants and gas.
Forty-eight percent of single millennials and Gen Zers have suggested going on more budget-friendly dates ― think a mid-morning coffee and a walk rather than a $100 dinner ― in response to the economy, according to a survey from Plenty of Fish.
The benefits of infla-dating trend may go beyond your wallet: Going on less expensive dates makes the stakes feel lower and takes some of the pressure off.
“Less pressure can mean more fun, deeper connection, or — if the date is bad — a quicker exit,” dating coach Lily Womble told HuffPost.
2. “Are We Dating The Same Guy” private Facebook groups
“Are We Dating The Same Guy?” started as a Facebook group for New Yorkers where women could anonymously share warnings about guys they’ve dated (or ask if anyone had any intel about a guy before the date). Now there’s a “Are We Dating The Same Guy?” for nearly every big city.
As Glamour wrote of the trend, the groups are like the “whisper network women have been using for centuries, just amplified.”
With the “open-casting” trend, singles shift their focus away from their traditional “type” and give someone they wouldn’t usually go for a chance. According to a Bumble’s annual report, one in three are now more open to whom they would consider dating.
“With open-casting we are seeing people more willing to date outside their type, and valuing emotional maturity over physical attractiveness, which shows we are less focused on superficial qualities like looks and more focused on who we are emotionally compatible with,” Lucille McCart, Bumble’s communications director, told news.com.au last month.
To hardball is to be clear with someone about your intentions and expectations for being romantically involved, whether you’re looking for a serious long-term partnership or a casual fling. Hardballing is basically the antidote to “situationships” and awkward “What are we?” conversations.
5. Dating Wrapped
Inspired by Spotify Wrapped, the annual feature on Spotify that shows you stats on your most listened to artists and songs, “Dating Wrapped” videos on TikTok had singles getting brutally honest about their dating activity in 2022, cataloging everything from the the number of first dates they went on, to the the number of times they deleted and re-downloaded dating apps.
“I went on 31 first dates, and if you think that’s a lot, there is more: this does not include one catfish encounter. That’s right, I spent three days talking to someone pretending to be a Polish influencer. I also ended up on the ‘Today’ show because of it,” TikTok user @SamsAreBetter joked.
Not only is the trend hilarious, but detailing the minutiae of your dating life is a great way to pinpoint things you want to change in 2023. Way to put those PowerPoint skills to use, guys!