Now, more than two years since the pandemic began and everyone’s dating lives were impacted, Gen Z are reflecting on their dating habits and reassessing their priorities. What is dating actually like in 2022? We asked some Tinder members to spill the Tea - from seeking a shared lifestyle, to what gives them the ick and how dates have a dual purpose, (such as to purchase a caravan for their next adventure - yes, really).
Keeping their options open has replaced getting emotionally intense
Reminiscing on the effects of lockdown, which kicked off longer conversations and more messages on Tinder. Daily average messages are up by +12% and conversations are 38% longer compared to where they were towards the end of 2021.* Karen, 19, from Glasgow says “it was slow, but emotionally intense. There was one guy in particular who I consistently video called with and even virtually watched films with for nearly two months, before we had an in-person date. This meant we quickly established an emotional connection and I felt comfortable with him seeing me in my PJs a lot sooner than anyone I’d ever dated before.”
But that has since transitioned as Karen says that now things have opened up, she’s adopting a more relaxed attitude to dating, which means she is just seeing how it goes, before committing to anything too soon. “Chatting beforehand is super key, but it’s great to now have the option to date virtually or IRL. This means that I have multiple routes to getting to know someone better. After I became so emotionally invested in one person during the pandemic, now I feel more free to get to know a few different people. Whether it’s finding out if we like the same music, going on an activity date to see them in a new light, or checking that they know my niche TikTok references - I like to get the full picture and take my time to commit”.
Gen Z have a renewed zest for life and desire untraditional dates
With lockdowns in the rearview mirror (we hope), singletons are eager to make the most of their freedom to date IRL. Connor, 20, from Chester says they “discovered a newfound confidence when I was freed from my four walls and decided it was time to find someone to live life to the full with”.
In place of drinks at a bar, or a picnic in the park, young people like Connor are continuing the trend of activity dates, as they discovered a real love for them post-lockdown, with mentions in bios up for everything from ‘bookstore’ (+175%) to ‘mini golf’ (135%) and even ‘roller skating’ (+20%).** Connor is “looking to find someone who is up for having a good time and getting back out there, whether it’s going to a Drag Show with me or shopping in the city”.
For those looking to meet via a shared social activity, head to Explore - the new interactive space on Tinder, which gives members the opportunity to find like minded people. Whether it’s a fellow ‘Binge Watcher’, ‘Gamer’, someone to explore the world with or simply be spontaneous and meet up tonight; there’s a tile in Explore for every shared interest, via which everyone can find a match that’s right for them.
Lives are more fast paced and even more spontaneous
As life has returned to normal, schedules and diaries are much busier and as a result, arranging dates is a last minute thing. However, last minute, doesn’t mean less exciting as Gen Z are feeling their most spontaneous yet.
Charlotte, 23, from Edinburgh recently went on a Tinder date which was super last minute, as they were both in the area and just decided to grab a quick coffee. “Things went from 0 to 60 real fast. One minute I was enjoying a cuppa with my date and connecting over how we both have the travel bug, the next I was buying his van to do up with my friend and travel around Europe. We’re now planning our second date. A win, win.”
Common ground is key, but differences are also important
Shared interests are of growing importance to Gen Z, as they prioritise common ground over looks (64%), political views (61%) and even a sense of humour (48%).**** But when dating someone they’re keen to embrace differences, retain their own independence and learn something new from their match. Seb, 21, from Newcastle says “I think of it as a Venn diagram - it’s important for me to have some things in common with the guys I date, especially if we have the same music taste, then I know we’ll definitely get along. At the same time, I also really value someone’s differences and think that ultimately, a happy medium is key”.
Singles like Seb who are looking to find someone who’s music taste is in tune with their own can vibe out to potential matches Anthems in Music Mode, which automatically plays the one song that defines them inside and out - right from their profiles. When members add Anthems to their bios, they see a nearly 10% increase in matches.****
In saying that, differences in lifestyle is a whole different ball game. Seb says “I avoid guys that are on a totally different vibe to me. So if I can tell from their profile that they’re out every night of the week, I won’t be matching with them, as I’d much rather stay in to cook and do something chill. There’s differences of interests and then there are differences in the way we want to live and hang out, that would probably result in us never seeing each other!”
Getting the ick is a regular occurrence
The ‘ick’ is stronger than ever among Gen Z. From egocentric personalities, to flashy lifestyles - according to Tinder members here’s the top 5 things to avoid, if you want to increase your chances of match success:
MEET THE TINDER MEMBERS:
Charlie, 23, Female, Edinburgh, Heterosexual - looking for someone who doesn’t take life too seriously. Generosity is also important to Charlie, as she believes it shows they’re looking for something more than casual.
Karen, 19, Female, Glasgow, Heterosexual - looking for someone who is just as active as her (those who run together, stay together?) and shares both her music taste and appreciation for sarcasm.
Seb, 21, Male, Newcastle, Homosexual - looking for someone authentic, who he can both cook up a storm in the kitchen with on a chilled night in and get dressed up with for a night out.
Connor, 20, Non-Binary, Chester, Homosexual - looking for someone with a dry sense of humour, that shares Connor’s love for getting out and about. In particular to drag shows.
NOTES TO EDITOR
*All data above comes from Tinder profiles or aggregated Tinder app activity. Data was pulled from Jan 2020 - Feb 2021. Messages is average number of messages sent per member.
**Based on Tinder bio mentions March 2022 vs. March 2021
***Research conducted by Opinium - survey of 1,000 Gen Z UK adults (18-24) 2nd - 4th February 2022
****Research conducted by Opinium - survey of 1,001 Gen Z UK adults (18-24) 14th - 17th September 2021