Whew, it’s been a year, hasn’t it? Being the first full year out of lockdowns, it can’t come without highs and lows. But we’re all just navigating life, and dating, as best as we can!
2023 was all about moving through some uncertainty and confusion, like 180-Dating and Only Plans. But it also brought some honest Bae Realing to the table. 2024 is almost here and we’ve put together the seventh annual list of top dating trends to look out for—with help from single Brits in our community.
Now, let’s not waste any more time and get to the top ten trends!
Smashing the Date-triarchy (/smah-shing the day-tree-are-kee): Becoming increasingly less inclined to settle into the type of relationship that society expects of you and choosing your own path instead—a la Barbie!
Use case: Settling for a society-approved relationship with someone who doesn’t meet my needs or respect my boundaries? Nope, I’m doing me and Smashing the Date-triarchy!
Sure, dating can be overwhelming with societal pressures and it can take time to find someone you click with. But those daunting feelings should never dictate your life or make you settle—it’s your life after all! Turns out, 74% of you subscribe to the same sentiment and choose to date based on your needs and timeline. Whether that’s prioritising your mental health and well-being (45%), family (39%) or career (31%) before you settle down into a long-term relationship. We love to see it!
Contra-dating (/con-trah-day-ting): Dating outside of your usual ‘type’/those you are typically ‘compatible’ with to broaden horizons and remain open-minded.
Use case: Sure, I don’t typically go for someone who loves sports, but why not branch out? I’m Contra-dating to see who else is out there!
We’ve all admitted to having a “type” of person we’re most attracted to. But only sticking to that exclusive (and potentially elusive) person can do more harm than good. Think of all of the other amazing people who wouldn’t fall under that category! And 59% of you have admittedly started Contra-dating, with 36% making a conscious effort to move away from their “type” and 33% switching things up after being unsuccessful when dating their “type”. Sounds like it’s time to break your pattern.
Investi-dating(/inv-veh-stee- day-ting): When you and/or your friends go to new lengths to research a match or date across social media platforms.
Use case: Googling, sweeping social media, looking into tagged pictures… you can’t put a cap on my Investi-dating abilities!
We all have (or are) that friend who you swear could work for the CIA. You know, the one you send the details to before a first date and before you know it, they’ve found them across all social platforms, know how close they are with their family and have the names of every ex. With social media giving us easy access to information we previously wouldn’t have known about, it’s common to take a little peek pre-first date (77%). Some say it’s an extra safety measure (48%), while others use it to gain more insight into the person beforehand (33%).
Groundhog-Day-ting(/gr-ownd-hog-day-ting): Taking all of your first dates to the same place every time because it feels comfortable and familiar.
Use case: I went to the same place I always go for a first date. And then I debriefed with the bartender, like always. Can’t stop, won’t stop Groundhog-Day-ting.
Paragraph. Central Perk, The Peach Pit, Luke’s Diner… we all have our go-to spots to meet up with people! A lot of you like going to the same spot for first dates (77%), mainly to take the stress out of planning where to go (33%). Plus, with inflation and the rising cost of living, some of you like going to tried and true places you know won’t break the bank (31%). And what’s wrong with showing your fave local spots some love?
F.O.S.O (/foh-soh): A fear of starting over and staying with someone you’re dating because of it.
Use case: Confession; I have a serious case of F.O.S.O. I know I’m settling right now, but have you seen who else is out there!?
We’ve all heard of FOMO (the fear of missing out) and JOMO (the joy of missing out). Now, F.O.S.O. has entered the chat. 45% of singles have experience with it and have chosen to stay in a relationship, mainly because of comfortability (44%).
But, the fear of starting over isn’t the only factor making people stay with someone they aren’t fully into. Our next trend is also what’s keeping people in relationships that have run their course…
Pet-rothing (/pet-tro-thing): Becoming extremely attached to the pet of someone you’re dating and staying with them simply for the sake of the pet, even if the relationship doesn’t feel right.
Use case: He’s pretty annoying and I don’t really like hanging out with him, but have you seen his dog!? We’re full-on Pet-rothing.
We get it, the people who have pictures with pets in their dating profiles are instantly more attractive than those who don’t. We don’t make the rules, it’s science. And once you’ve been dating for a while, you can’t help but get attached to their furry friends. 21% of British daters have stayed with a partner solely for their pet. 44% admitted to being more heartbroken about breaking ties with the pet than their partner and 32% didn’t want to give up their admirable co-paw-renting duties. They don’t call them (wo)man’s best friend for nothing.
Week Day-ting (/week- day-ting): Arranging dates on weeknights only, so you don’t waste your weekends if they aren’t a success.
Use case: Hey, I live for my weekends and don’t want to do anything to jeopardize how good they can be. Week Day-ting makes sure nothing, and no one, interferes with that.
Weekends are sacred to a 9-5 worker. It’s when you have the energy and time to do things you enjoy and spend time with your closest friends without the interruption of stressful thoughts about work. So, why would you want to introduce something new to a routine that’s working so well? Remember, you’re in control of your availability and have the upper hand when managing the energy you invest into dating. Sophie Brown, C4 Married at First Sight UK star, is all about this trend! She said, “If you’re like me and prefer to save your weekends for self-care and socialising, try Week Day-ting! Thursdays are the best date days in my opinion (thirsty Thursday anyone?).”
Reno-dating (/reh-no-day-ting): A focus on renewing and refreshing your dating approach and/or goals, in the same way you would your home.
Use case: I’m taking the Marie Condo approach to my dating life by getting rid of what doesn’t spark joy—I’m Reno-dating!
This time of year is all about reflection; looking back on how far you’ve come, noting what you want to continue doing and figuring out what you want to let go of. It’s a great approach for your life in general, but also your dating habits! Figuring out what you want and need in a relationship will help set you up for success and make it easier to say no to the things that don’t serve you. Looking ahead to next year, singles are all about being true to themselves (47%), knowing their self-worth (45%) and approaching dating to better suit them and their goals (24%). How good is that?
Hottie Desking (/ho-tee- des-king): When you up your game and prioritise trying to find an office romance, now that workers are spending more time in the office as opposed to working from home.
Use case: I hate going to bars to meet people, so I’m trying out Hottie Desking! You know, putting in more effort with my outfits and making more connections at work.
With the rise in social media activity and online dating, it’s rare to meet and connect with people out in the wild. This makes it tough for those who prefer to meet people offline, so they’re looking for spaces that present the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. A big one where most of us spend the majority of our time is the office. You could have started a new job remotely, formed a bond online and now you have the chance to explore what it could become in person! Just be careful and look out for yourself—some companies have strict policies and there can be repercussions if things fall through.
Lovesick Leave (/lu-v-sick- lee-v): When your employer offers you time off to recover from the end of a relationship/having your heart broken.
Use case: My breakup was a lot and it knocked me out. I couldn’t function, but thankfully my boss gave me a few days of Lovesick Leave to get back to myself.
Oof, we’ve all been there. Left completely derailed and winded from a breakup where you struggle to even accomplish the most basic daily tasks, let alone job requirements. Whether it is a long or short-term situation, it can hit you so hard, making you stumble as you try to find your balance. You need a grieving period; for the loss of the relationship and connection, who you were and the person who was in your life. Having an employer who gets that and offers Lovesick Leave is a major green flag in our eyes!
That’s all of our top ten dating trends to watch out for in 2024! Let us know if you experience any of them and don’t forget to share your dating stories in the comments.