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How Gen is Z redefining dating norms

Gen Z is approaching love with emotional maturity, clarity and refreshing honesty

More than half of GenZ respondents said they are looking for a steady relationship, someone to grow with.
More than half of GenZ respondents said they are looking for a steady relationship, someone to grow with. (Pixabay)

Gen Z, especially in India, has been moving away from the well-established rulebook when it comes to dating. From challenging the toxic traits of previous relationships to saying no to timelines, they have made the space their own—one where outdated norms or gendered expectations are shown the door. They are approaching love with emotional maturity, clarity and honesty and redefining what dating can be.

A September-2023 Bumble report shows how pop culture. including music, food, and literature, has impacted Gen Z’s dating standards. The survey is based on inputs of people aged 18 to 26 years.

Also read: Why does Gen Z feel the need to hide its relationships?

“Gen Zs today are not ‘quiet-quitting’. In fact, they are being vocal about what they believe in, challenging antiquated dating norms and relationship expectations. It’s refreshing to see an entire generation putting themselves first, clearly setting and respecting boundaries,” stated Samarpita Samaddar, India communications director, Bumble, in a press note.

The new report revealed some interesting insights about the ever-changing dating space. Here are some things that stood out.

Honesty is a green flag

Often perceived as a selfish generation, Gen Z is refreshingly honest and intentional when it comes to dating. More than half of the surveyed people said being honest and upfront is a big dating green flag. For Gen Z, challenging the status quo and defining its own terms and timelines is non-negotiable. They are putting themselves first, setting boundaries and expressing their true selves. About 21% of respondents said that not aligning politically with their partners is a red flag and 19% won’t want to date someone, who is not an LGBTQIA+ ally.

Going beyond the ‘type’ 

The tall, dark, and handsome checklist is no longer relevant. The hype around having a certain physical ‘type’ is a bit much for Gen Z. They are into the opposite of type-casting—open-casting—which refers to how people are more open to whom they consider beyond their ‘type.’ Almost 40% of GenZ respondents believe that love comes in all shapes and sizes, the survey reveals.

Not scared to miss out

Gen Z is clear that the fear of missing out (FOMO) is not an excuse to put themselves in uncomfortable situations. Rather than dating or marrying just because everyone is, Gen Z wants to take it slow and see if there is someone who understands and shares their values and beliefs. 

More than half of respondents said they are looking for steady relationships, someone who will grow with them. Interestingly, 1 in 3 respondents don’t believe in timelines for marriage, 19% don’t want to follow the traditional relationship stages, and over half of the women are prioritising establishing physical and emotional boundaries.

Social media matters

The popular social media trends, soft-launching your partner or taking first date selfies, still have a good hold on Gen Z, the survey reveals. Social media has become a third wheel in a relationship, impacting people’s expectations and experiences. More than 30% of Gen Z respondents use social media to find out if a potential partner's interests and lifestyle match theirs and want to take part in social media trends with their partner. About 27% said they want their partner to post about them on their social media and 23% judge their date based on their social media presence.

Also read: Understanding and supporting LGBTQ+ adolescents

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