dating

The dating trends we’re ditching in 2021 - and the 3 to prepare yourself for in 2022.

If you were single and dating this past year, you would probably agree that it was a bit... chaotic. As we were going in and out of lockdown, our dating lives were going up and down.

So as we come close to the end of the year (new year, new me right? RIGHT?) and as someone who had some... interesting dates this year, I thought I’d share the dating trends that I most definitely want to leave in 2021. 

Watch: The horoscopes and dating. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

Personally, I feel like these trends have ruined the experience of dating which is meant to be super fun, easygoing and exciting. I always say that if you're single and dating, you are automatically the most interesting person in all of your friendship groups - except this year, we’ve all been the saddest person in all of our friendship groups. No? Just me? Okay cool, cool, cool. 

Hatfishing

You might have already heard of catfishing. It's the process of luring someone into a relationship through a fictional online persona. It's when a person pretends to be someone else on dating apps or social media. 

It's extremely problematic and has affected many people's lives and wellbeing. I personally (touch wood) have never been catfished, but I have been hatfished. 

I went on a first date with a guy earlier this year and for a split second when I first saw him I didn’t recognise him from his dating profile. Throughout the date, I realised that it was because this was the first time I’m seeing him with his head uncovered. 

In his dating profile, he only had pictures of himself wearing caps or beanies. "You’ve been hatfished," my friend exclaimed when I met up with her for lunch the next day. Although I thought that he was much better looking without a hat, my friend was devastated for me. 

The issue I have with hatfishing is that it’s not really an issue at all. Catfishing is a real thing. Hatfishing is not. 

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If you meet up with someone and you feel like you’ve been hatfished, that's fine, just move along. They've caused you absolutely no harm and I believe that putting emphasis on hatfishing pulls away from the severity of catfishing. 

So in 2021 we’re leaving both catfishing and hatfishing behind. 

Love bombing

Love bombing is the action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them. 

As mentioned in the definition, love bombing is most commonly used as an emotional abuse tactic by individuals towards their partner. However, love bombing is also evident in the casual dating world. 

Many people who start dating without taking the time to figure out what they want from it sometimes end up love bombing their dates from day one. Constantly showering them with gifts, talking about their future together and wanting to be with them 24/7. 

Surely enough, the love bomber freaks themselves out over how fast they’re emotionally moving and ends up quite suddenly (and sometimes dramatically) ending the relationship. 

Surprisingly, no one I’ve dated has ever tried to love bomb me (I’m fine). 

In 2021 it stays. 

Negging

Negging is an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need for approval. 

Similar to love bombing, negging can be a very dark, emotional tactic. I’ve been able to observe the concept of negging develop into something more insidious as I get older. On the other hand, negging can also be seen as someone who finds pleasure in dishing out backhanded compliments. 

A few years ago I went on a date with someone and he asked me where I was from. I told him I was born here but my parents are from India. He looked very confused. "India? You’re pretty hot for an Indian... Are you sure you’re not Greek?"

Never wanting to be in such a cringe position again, I have decided that negging is going to stay in 2021.

Em breaks down the dating trends we want to leave in 2021 on The Undone. Post continues below.

But to end on a more fun note, I thought I’d also mention the dating trends that are going to take off in 2022 (whether or not we like it). Brace yourselves.  

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Hesidating 

Dating website Plenty of Fish has come out with a new dating trend that they believe is going to be super popular in 2022. It's called hesidating, and it's defined as 'feeling different about dating, unsure if you want to date seriously or casually because life in general is so uncertain right now.'

The last three people I dated were hesidaters, and it was HARD. I'm one of those people who becomes a bit more guarded every time a date falls through. 

However, I do think that understanding the trend of hesidating has helped keep my feelings in check and has made the dating experience better. I'm now dating with absolutely zero pressure and it's been so much fun.

Explori-dating

During the pandemic people’s "type" has changed or even disappeared. We’ve stopped sweating the small stuff like what school did they go to, how far do they live from me, and what their family is like. We’re being more open-minded about who we choose to match with on dating sites. 

This has generated a much more wholesome dating experience where so many people are finding comfort in the shared experience of being single during lockdown that they’re looking for more valuable and deeper connections that they were deprived of in the past few years. 

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Fast-forwarding

Fast-forwarding is a dating trend that’s been around for a while but we’re going to see it really kick off next year. During the pandemic, most single people had a lot of... time on their hands.

A majority of us spent way too long observing our thoughts, the silver lining was that a lot of us were able to figure out exactly what we wanted with dating and that we want it right now. Now, back into the real world, many of us are done wasting our time dating people to "see where things go". 

We’re quick to speed up the get-to-know-you phase, lay everything out on the table and are very open with our feelings and intentions.

Personally, fast-forwarding scares the hell out of me but if we’re all doing it, surely it’ll be fun right? Right??

So these are the trends that I’m definitely leaving in 2021 and the ones that I’m (kinda) looking forward to in 2022. 

So yes, although you should be aware of some of these less favourable trends, remember to just have fun with dating so we can go back to being the most interesting people in our friendship groups. 

For more from Emily Vernem, subscribe to her newsletter, or follow her on Instagram.

Feature Image: Getty.

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