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Young singles swipe right for authenticity and self-care

A new Tinder report shows that young daters are prioritising authenticity and mental health while making new connections

Gen Z are focused on building genuine connections and presenting authentic selves on dates. (Unsplash)
Gen Z are focused on building genuine connections and presenting authentic selves on dates. (Unsplash)

Anyone will agree that dating is hard these days. With new rules and terms (like the recent “zombieing”) constantly popping up, the dating maze seems to get more and more convoluted. So, what's in store for the future? There might be good news. In a new study by dating app Tinder, young singles say the future is more inclusive and is all about embracing authenticity and bidding goodbye to mind games.

Gen Z is taking centre-stage on dating apps now and these digital natives don’t see the need for excessive filters or curating a perfect profile. Rather than presenting a more appealing version of themselves, dating, for them, comes with awareness about relationship deal-breakers, open and honest conversations, and prioritising mental health, according to The Future of Dating 2023 report by Tinder. 

We take a look at some interesting findings in the report. 

Also read: How Tinder's new dating dictionary is a guidebook to modern love

Take it or leave it

The report shows that today’s 18- to 25-year-olds, who account for more than half of Tinder’s membership base now, are looking for authenticity. They are more self-aware and more fluid in how they view gender and sexuality than any other generation before them. In fact, more than half of millennials surveyed agree that dating is healthier for 18- to 25-year-olds today than it was when they were the same age.

Gen Z sees dating as simply a way to explore a connection without the pressures of labels. Moreover, for them, committed relationships come in all forms—from monogamy to open relationships, and also the much-debated situationships.

Young daters today are looking for qualities such as intentionality and transparency, along with self-love and personal fulfilment. Among 4,000 people surveyed in a 2023 study by Tinder, 80% of Gen Z daters agree that their self-care is most important and value a partner who does the same. For them prioritising authenticity also means embracing the so-called cringe parts—like giving pet names or making OTT social media posts. More than 60% of the 4,000 surveyed young daters in the 2023 study by Tinder said they are comfortable with cringey or awkward situations if it means being genuine, with many adopting a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.

Mental health takes centre-stage

For young singles, nothing comes before their own well-being. When thinking about their goals in the next five years, surveyed young singles said working on personal growth and well-being are their priorities. So much so, that when daters talk about going to therapy and working on self-confidence, past traumas, and healing, it’s considered sexy, while treating your partner like a free therapist is not. 

Gen Z is also more aware of “love languages”, or the ways in which people express love, and most of them want to know how a partner prefers to be loved before getting in too deep.

No more games

If you have ever been in the online dating space, advice like “reply after an hour” or “don’t text first” is common. Such games are usually all about how to get someone’s attention while tending to one’s ego. However, young daters say they're not into any such mind games.

Gen Z is not taking time for granted, especially after the pandemic. Most surveyed daters (77%) in a September 2022 survey by Tinder said they reply to their crush within 30 minutes, 40% respond within five minutes and over a third reply immediately. Moreover, this generation is 32% less likely to ghost someone compared to those over 33 years of age. As they are intentionally and mindfully approaching dating, they are also turning online connections into offline meetups at a quicker pace.

They view dating as a space that allows them to meet new people and find companionship and less like a chore.

Manifesting is the new astrology

Manifestation (visualising your wish or dreams to help them come true) is a buzzword on social media. From manifesting a dream job to a vacation, it’s become the new thing everyone’s trying after astrology. The hashtag #manifestation has more than 34 billion views on TikTok, according to the Tinder report. More than 40% of surveyed young singles in the dating space said manifesting has a more significant influence on compatibility and connection than the zodiac, according to the April 2023 survey of 4,000 daters. 

As Gen Z is on the cusp of entering adulthood or has newly entered the phase, they are still scrambling through many unknowns. For them, leaning into intention-based thought patterns is a way to deal with the uncertainty that the future brings with it. With their more aware inner state, many are manifesting the kind of people they want in their life and the relationships they invest in.

Beyond the social bubble

Today, young daters are open to dating people outside their social circles. Two-thirds of surveyed daters agree that dating apps such as Tinder allow them to connect themselves with people they would otherwise not have met. As they are stepping out of the social bubble, dating today is becoming more racially, culturally, and geographically diverse than ever before, according to the report.

Most young daters (80%) in the 2023 survey said they have been on a date with someone from another race or culture. In fact, as the report suggests, online dating is increasing interracial marriage and openness to multicultural relationships.

Finally, some trends that emerged in previous surveys, such as most daters opting to go on sober dates and making use of the wave of artificial intelligence to up their dating game by using it to curate their profiles, are still going strong. 

Also read: How comfortable are you with PDA?

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