14 New Microtrends to Add to Your Dating Lexicon
Dating apps such as Bumble and Plenty of Fish have surveyed their users and the results are in: Dating has officially changed. Again.
Some new trends, such as "dry dating" and "hesidating," are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while others are continuations of daters' long-standing habits, such as "submarining," the sequel to "ghosting."
Get familiar with all the new dating microtrends as we plunge into the so-called new normal.
Trends attributed to COVID-19
Hesidating refers to being unsure whether you want to find a serious relationship, date casually or give up on love altogether. Plenty of Fish coined the term in its list of dating trends for 2022, stating 70 percent of singles think hesidating is real.
"Hesidating is the reason why the most common question on dating apps is 'What are you looking for?'" said Danielle Selber, a matchmaker based in Philadelphia.
While some people are going with the flow, others are doing exactly the opposite. Fast-forwarding entails looking sometimes too far into the future to determine if your date fits your vision, goals and plans.
"Single people tell me they feel a sense of urgency like never before," Selber said. "They've missed a year or more of socializing, dating, meeting people and holiday parties. They feel robbed, and they're trying to go fast to make up for it."
Dry dating is simply going on an alcohol-free date. Studies indicate people started drinking less during the pandemic, and many have continued to cut back on alcohol. About 34 percent of Bumble users said they're more likely to go on a dry date now than in pre-COVID times.
Opting for a sober date can lead to safer sex and clearer boundaries. For a great way to experiment with this trend, Selber recommended trying a dessert date, where you meet for a casual dinner or lunch but limit it to just one dish and a chat, giving the date a clear end point.
Consciously dating is being more thoughtful about how, when and who you date. According to Bumble, 54 percent of daters are being more intentional in how they date, even if that means going solo.
"It's dating with purpose and transparency," Selber explained. "You know yourself well enough to only engage with someone who wants what you want, and you are totally transparent with them about it from the first interaction."
People who developed new hobbies during COVID-19 are planning dates around their new interests, giving rise to the term "hobby dating."
Hobby dating fits the general vibe of excitement and optimism of dating again. Why play it safe with the standard coffee date when you could go surfing, volunteer for a worthwhile event or ride electric scooters through the city together?
If you don't fall into the category of fast-forward daters who know exactly what they want, don't worry. There's another camp of people (43 percent of Bumble respondents) who are testing out the kind of relationships they want and types of people they want to date, also known as "exploridaters."
"Dating has taken on a charmingly sweet, sepia-toned hue as we emerge from the pandemic," Selber said. "This fresh-eyed perspective has people rethinking who and how they date, like crossing dealbreakers off their list or expanding their geographic range."
Microcheating, as the name suggests, consists of engaging in small actions, such as sharing memes, liking and commenting on Instagram posts or downplaying your main relationship, with one or more people other than your partner. While these actions could be harmless, they also could lead to emotional and physical cheating.
People often microcheat with an ex or someone with whom they used to be intimate, which can stir up old emotions. If you suspect your partner is microcheating, ask them, "What are your intentions for talking with this person?"
Like a submarine goes underwater for a while before resurfacing, "submarining" occurs when someone ghosts you and later reappears completely out of the blue.
"There's no acknowledgment of the several-monthlong disappearing act and definitely no communicating why they ghosted," said Brooke Bralove, a licensed clinical social worker and certified sex therapist based in Bethesda, Maryland.
"Whether the reasons for submarining are a booty call, boredom or a recent breakup, don't fool yourself into thinking it's something it's not," Bralove explained. "Past behavior predicts future behavior, and most likely, if they disappeared once, they'd do it again."
Chumming the dating scene is when someone goes on many dates with different people and remains noncommitted and avoidant. A "chummer" keeps their toes dipped in the water, stringing you along with a fire emoji response to your Instagram stories or an occasional "u up?" text.
"There's nothing inherently wrong with dating multiple people at the same time as long as you're being honest about that fact," Bralove noted. "I think this is similar to the 'player' label in which someone is not looking for commitment. If that's the case, own it."
Not new to the scene at all but making a bit of a resurgence is negging: flirting with backhanded compliments to break down someone's self-esteem, making them more available to you.
"The aim is to keep the other person craving approval," Bralove said.
If you sense someone is negging you, run. It could easily lead to emotional abuse.
Kitten fishing, the little sister of catfishing, is misrepresenting minor details in your online dating profile; for example, using out-of-date pictures that don't reflect what you look like currently or buffing up your listed profession to sound more attractive.
"The problem is that the relationship inherently begins with a lie," Bralove explained.
She recommended video-chatting with a date before meeting in person to filter these little white lies.
Some neutral trends
Based on the phrase "The world is your oyster," oystering celebrates getting back into the dating world. Research by dating app Badoo found 46 percent of single people feel excited to start dating again and 50 percent are ready to dive into 2022 looking for a romantic partner.
Just as it sounds, mullet dating connects people who like the mullet haircut. There's even a dating site called Mullet Passions, which connects people who love the "business in the front, party in the back" hairstyle.
Like other pandemic-inspired trends, hardballing involves being super-upfront about your expectations before going out on a date with someone. It celebrates transparency and confidence in dating. If you're looking for a serious relationship, say that. But if you want to keep it casual, say that instead and own it.