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How new gen daters are challenging toxic traits of previous generations

A recent study by QuackQuack and a Tinder report in May, both say that GenZ daters are cautious about dating, challenging ideas on relationships

New gen is changing the way people date.
New gen is changing the way people date. (Pixabay)

As much as the new generation, specifically Gen Z, is known for baffling people with the many social media trends and inventing a new language with words such as rizz, they are also applauded for challenging the status quo. The new generation is questioning age-old narratives, not bogged by ‘what will people say’ threats, and prioritising themselves. This can be seen especially in the dating space where toxic traits and unhealthy expectations are being shown the door more promptly than ever before.

In May, Tinder’s Future of Dating Report 2023 stated that GenZ daters are challenging the way people date. This is reiterated by a new survey of 18,000 people aged between 18 and 16 across India by the dating app, QuackQuack which found that more than half of surveyed people want to break the toxic dating standards set by previous generations.

Also read: Young singles swipe right for authenticity and self-care

Not picky but cautious

The survey shows that new-gen daters prefer to be cautious and well-informed, which can often gain them the label of being ‘too picky.’ If a person is not emotionally available or doesn’t see a relationship through the lens of equality, the new generation is taking a step back.

Furthermore, the new generation is also firm about non-negotiables. For instance, women, who are conditioned to put others’ feelings before theirs and trapped in the quagmire of ‘being good’, have often gone on dates because they don’t want to hurt them. Today, the new-gen daters recognise how problematic it is and prefer to let people down firmly but with kindness, the survey revealed. 

No to timelines

The Gen Z daters are also not looking for commitment for the sake of it or marrying because it’s time. One of the things that helped the new gen not settle is technology, points out Bengaluru-based relationship coach Radhika Mohta. “It has helped people not settle for something which feels lesser than what they're expecting, even if they aren't sure about what they are looking for and whether that is reasonable," she tells Lounge.

Gen Z is not stressing out at the age of 25 about not having a dream job or following conventional ideas of relationships. They prefer creating timelines, that suit their goals. “It’s also important to acknowledge that this comes with a certain privilege of not having to worry about putting food on the table. When compulsion is taken out of the picture, people can explore better and choose to not settle. Being financially independent has also been an important factor in this change,” Mohta says.

However, the Gen Z is recognising that there is more to the narrative than what previous generations believed, Mohta adds. With many migrating from their hometowns, joining family setups and spending more time on careers and emotional well-being, there is bound to be difference in expectations. In fact, the Future of Dating 2023 report showed that because GenZ are investing in emotional well-being and clear communication, they will have the most successful marriages yet.

No games

Even when looking for relationships, the new gen is not following old games such as the 3-day rule, where you wait three days before calling or texting someone after meeting them or waiting for the man to make the first move. The survey showed that 39% of Gen Z participants do not appreciate playing games in love. Moreover, 18% of men and women above 24 said they consider playing hard to get falls as a toxic trait.

“They are more focused on compatibility, not going ahead with data points that previous generations may have given them. Also, in the end, people are looking for someone to come back home to, for companionship,” Mohta says.

Thinking about boundaries and equality

The survey also showed that Gen Z daters seem to better understand boundaries and equity in relationships. For instance, they understand that no means no. Among the surveyed men, 21% said that there's a fine line between convincing and harassing and not understanding it is a toxic trait. They also consider splitting the bill as a sign of respect, a step toward seeing equality in a relationship.

However, the idea of equality and inclusivity is still on the periphery of dating spaces. “At a recent event, some people told me about pickup artists, who charge a huge amount to teach men how to get five to seven dates a week and talk about three things and get women to sleep with them. These people exist in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. This only shows that how men view women, hasn’t changed as much,” she says. Moreover, the dating apps, the ratio of women is much lower, about 30%, compared to that of men. This is because they don’t feel safe, Mohta points out. Privacy is still a concern.

Looking beyond caste and gender norms

But when it comes to dating without considering caste, more people are taking it off their lists, Mohta says. “Many people who are using dating apps are not seeing people through the lens of caste and making that a deciding factor. It can be seen in friendships too where many don’t know the caste of their friends. However, this is limited to privileged spaces,” Mohta says.

One big change from the previous generation is more focus on making dating more inclusive and safer for the LGBTQIA+ community. The new gen daters are moving beyond redundant ideas, exploring their identity and respecting others. “At least in bigger cities, people are organising offline dating events or meetups for LGBTQIA+ people. At the community levels, efforts are being made to bring people together and create inclusive spaces for interactions,” Mohta adds.

Also read: Dating apps need to do more for gender and sexuality awareness

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