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Power PDA and ‘fast-forwarding’: The biggest dating trends of 2022

Trends like ‘dry dating’ and ‘hesi-dating’ reveal how the pandemic has affected our love lives

Kate Ng
Tuesday 27 September 2022 12:18 BST
One of the new dating trends identified by Bumble is ‘dry dating’, where people are more likely to consider going on dates that don’t involve drinking alcohol
One of the new dating trends identified by Bumble is ‘dry dating’, where people are more likely to consider going on dates that don’t involve drinking alcohol (Getty/iStockphoto)

Dating trends revealed by dating apps Bumble and Plenty of Fish have laid bare how much the pandemic has impacted our love lives.

The latest research from Bumble found that almost half of single people around the world are looking to “reset” their dating lives. The new trends that have been coined by the women-first app include “fast-forwarding”, “explori-dating”, “consciously single”, “dry dating”, and “power PDA”.

In 2021, the term “hardballing” was introduced by Bumble, which means deciding what you really want in a partner after months of reflection. This trend is expected to last well into 2022, with a majority (59 per cent) of people on Bumble saying they are now more upfront with partners about what they want.

“Fast-forwarding” was observed after daters on the app drastically changed what they were looking for in a partner, with around a third altering their priorities. A majority (61 per cent) of people globally say they now prioritise emotional availability, while almost a quarter (23 per cent) say they care less about physical appearance.

On top of placing more importance on their emotional needs, singletons have also spent more time questioning what their “type” is, with nearly half of those on the app saying so. As people dive deeper into their search for love, 43 per cent of people on Bumble say they would describe their approach to seeing other people as “exploratory”.

The app has also seen a shift in the number of people who are choosing to stay “consciously single”. During the pandemic, 53 per cent of people on the app say they realised it’s “actually OK” to be alone for a while.

Most (54 per cent) of those who do want to date again say they will be more intentional in how, and when, they date.

In 2021, a study published by the University of Sheffield showed that alcohol consumption fell overall between March and June 2020 compared to the year before. This change in our alcohol consumption habits has been reflected in Bumble’s data too.

The research found that more people (34 per cent) would now consider going on a “dry date”, where no alcohol is consumed.

The dating platform also predicts that “power PDA” is back in a big way now that vaccination rates are higher, and it’s not just celebrities like Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, or Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, who are getting in on the trend.

Nearly 70 per cent of daters around the world say they are more open to public displays of affection post-pandemic. But concerns that another lockdown might be on its way are causing some daters to consider whether they want to invest their time and feelings in another person right now.

To reflect this, dating site Plenty of Fish has coined the term “hesi-dating”, which the site defined as “feeling indifferent about dating, unsure if you want to date seriously or casually because life in general is so uncertain right now”. A survey conducted by the site found that 58 per cent of singletons are unsure if they are seeking a fling or full-blown commitment.

“Along with rediscovering some of our favourite date spots, we’ve seen that people on Bumble are looking to discover new people, new priorities, and explore new ways of dating,” Naomi Walkland, head of Bumble UK and Ireland, said, adding that “with half of single people looking to ‘reset’ their dating, we anticipate that coming months will be big for romance”.

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