Sex & Relationships

"Verified" & 5 More Dating Trends Experts Are Predicting For 2022

“If 2020 was the year of reflection, 2021 has been a year of discovery.”

Hinge's "dating me is like" prompt lets users get creative
Shutterstock

It’s been hard to separate the pandemic and dating over the last couple of years. Lockdowns dictated where you could meet people and really put a stopper to any ambitions to meet someone the old fashioned way. However, some of the biggest dating apps have big predictions for 2022 and some pretty hilarious insights into how daters got through 2021. So, here are some of the dating trends to watch out for in 2022 and the hooking up phenomena that shaped 2021.

“If 2020 was the year of reflection, 2021 has been a year of discovery and we expect to see that continue into the new year,” said Naomi Walkland, Head of Bumble UK and Ireland. “As we head into the new year, our dating lives are a blank page, and this makes for an exciting time to try something new. It could be changing what we prioritise in a partner, being more intentional about when we date, or just sharing the activities we love. With half of single people looking to ‘reset’ their dating, we anticipate that coming months will be big for romance.”

2021’s Top Dating Trends

If you fell victim to the pandemic park walk date in 2021 then I feel your pain, we shall never forget. However, Tinder found that in 2021, dates were more about activities than icebreakers. Instead of going for a drink, the dating app revealed that people were opting for dates in the outdoors where they could really get to know their dates. Singles got creative.

While some say politics and religion are no go areas on a first date, there appeared to be no rules in 2021. Both OKCupid and the Inner Circle said that there had been a massive increase in people talking, arguing, and expressing their political views. OKCupid detailed that politics was one of the biggest dealbreakers for people, with a nearly 10% increase in political terms in users profiles.

Being upfront about your political views and wanting to get to know your date as quickly as possible could be signs of hard balling— the dating trend that’s emerged in 2021 that describes knowing what you really want and going after it. The pandemic may have given you some time to think about your life and your future and if that’s the case then you’re not alone. Bumble found that 59% of their users globally said that they’ve become increasingly more upfront with their dates about what they want, and 46% said they’re ready to reset their love lives in 2022.

When Is The Best Time To Use Dating Apps?

You’ve crafted the perfect bio, selected your best pictures, and are ready to meet the one (or the one for right now) but is there a best time to swipe?

If you’re looking to get a match before the end of the year then the Inner Circle explains that there are 21% more matches on a Sunday than any other day of the week and there’s a spike in usage between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. According to the app, your deadline to get a date before New Year is Dec. 12 as most people will be heading home around Dec. 20.

Bumble highlighted that if you’re looking to go into the New Year with a new crush then now is a perfect time. The busiest time of the year for Bumble is between late November and mid-February.

If you’re looking for an exact date to be online then OKCupid has dubbed the first two Sundays in 2022, Dating Sunday. The app has predicted that on Jan. 2 and Jan. 9 there will be an unprecedented surge of likes, matches, and conversations between people looking to start 2022 with a spark.

Top UK Dating Trends In 2022

So, if hard balling, outdoorsy dates, and talking politics are the trends that shaped 2021, what can singles expect from 2022?

Verified dating

One of the perks of dating through the pandemic was that pre-first date video calls became the norm. The Inner Circle has said that as this is one way that app users can work out if they have a connection with someone and avoid catfishing then this verified dating trend is here to stay.

Experts at Dating.com agreed, arguing that audio and video dating will redefine how we date in 2022, with 90% of users saying they plan on doing it in the new year. And Tinder said that video dates have been mentioned 52% more times in people’s dating profiles. Verified dating is the way you can meet URL before IRL.

Meet me in the metaverse

2021 really highlighted that you can have a great date from the comfort of your sofa. One of the most popular dating locations was Animal Crossing. Dating.com has explained that niche dating platforms and using avatar-based virtual reality experiences to create digital intimacy and build relationships will be a trend that shapes 2022.

Moderna dating

In a year when we talked about the different vaccines like coffee or wine varieties, it’s hardly surprising that experts have identified that being vaccinated (or not) will continue to play a big role in dating in 2022. Tinder reported that mentions of being “vaxxed” increased by 97 times in people’s bios. Your vaccine status may leave you feeling safer to meet with someone new. With booster vaccines for many on the horizon, this is likely to be a key trend in 2022.

Procrasti-dating

Getting back into the dating game during the pandemic isn’t easy. Over the last 18 months, we’ve essentially put our health, and the health of those around us, in our hands whenever we left the house. That’s intense. So, if you’ve been worried about meeting new people, feel out of practice, or generally feel despondent, then you’re not alone. Experts have identified that this feeling of putting off meeting someone you’ve been talking to because you’re not sure you’re ready to date or aren’t focused on dating right now may be a relationships trend in 2022.

Bumble found that 53% of their users were more comfortable being single than ever before and 54% said they are going to be more mindful and intentional about how they date. Procrasti-dating may be the death of the spontaneous date.

Dry dating

Sober dates are predicted to become even more popular with lockdown changing many of our drinking habits, especially amongst the Gen Z generation. Bumble found that 34% of people are now more likely to try out dry dating than they were before lockdown, with this figure being even higher amongst those aged under 32. It turns out maybe a drink or two isn’t actually needed to get the conversation flowing on a first date.

Full-frontal honesty

While 2021 may have been the year of hardballing, 2022 is going to be the year where daters hold nothing back. From desires to have kids and past divorces to the nitty gritty of what you like to do in bed, dating apps predict that the pandemic has emboldened daters to leave it all out there in their bios.

OKCupid has identified a 17% increase in BDSM terms in users profiles and there’s been a 125% increase in users saying they wanted children.

The Inner Circle said that this desire to be brutally honest is something that’s particularly valued by younger daters. Topics of consent, boundaries, and desires are set to increase, as well as people speaking openly about gender expression, sexuality, and identity. OKCupid said that there’s an increasing trend of users exploring their sexuality and romantic relationships through the safe space of apps which may mean more matches in 2022.

2022 will be the year to be you, unapologetically and uninhibited. Half of Inner Circle users said they would describe themselves as an “open book” and are ready to layout their dating intentions with prospective partners, however brutal the truth can be.