The romantic lives of singles over the past several months has been at best, unexpectedly interesting, and at worst, pretty challenging and disappointing. With the obstacles of a global pandemic, the landscape has certainly changed, but based on some of the biggest dating app trends, it could be getting easier to find matches and improve your odds in the new year.
At the beginning of 2020, most of you probably wouldn't have predicted that you'd be meeting potential mates from behind a screen — or a mask — but as the new normal settled in, it started to seem like finding love in quarantine was, in fact, possible. Virtual dates have started to not only be normalized but actually be pretty creative and fun, and lots of couples found other ways to connect despite the roadblocks.
And besides simply settling into the changes to modern day dating, some apps are taking cues from its uses to make finding promising dates easier by putting your dealbreakers front and center, comparing results of personality tests (like your love language, for example) and connecting to your social feeds. Wondering what else you can expect when using dating apps in 2021? Read ahead for six trends you'll be seeing everywhere — and perhaps maybe even want to try for yourself.
Dating App Trends: Sharing Political/Social Leanings
Considering what a politically charged year 2020 has been, it shouldn't come as a surprise that users are being more unapologetically vocal about their beliefs. According to Tinder's 2020 Year in Swipe Report, mentions of BLM and voting increased exponentially. The app shares that daters even began to creatively incorporate their musts with tag lines in their profiles (ie: "Only Swipe Right if you’re voting.").
And according to the pros, being upfront about issues that are important to you can lead to more significant connections. "The new trend of sharing political and social leanings and filtering statements by ‘Black Lives Matter,’ can be good because it can make dating more meaningful," explains Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, author of Facebook Dating: from 1st Date to Soulmate and the host of the Love Psychologist podcast. "You can match with dates based upon your joint values and this also gives you current things to discuss."
Dating App Trends: Pandemic Mentions
Speaking of dealbreakers, Tinder also saw that transparency about pandemic practices surged, with mentions about non-optional masking (including those looking for hookups only), virtual dates, and other details to not only break the ice, but make sure that both parties are on the same page. "These mentions can build trust during a trying time and encourage like-minded daters to meet up," Dr. Sherman says. "People want various degrees of safety and contact so it’s easier to suss this out from the start in a profile mention."
Dating App Trends: Sex Positivity
Tinder's #1 trending song this year was "WAP," which the app believes directly reflects the surge in sex positivity on users' profiles. As its report explains, a candidness about sex (desires, practices, etc) has increased, but Dr. Sherman says that doesn't always mean what you'd expect. "The mention of sex positivity in a bio signals that the dater has an attitude of freedom about sex, gender and learning about these things," she explains. "It can also mean they are interested in safe sex. This can then tell you something about them from the start and they may be open to discussing sex down the road."
Dating App Trends: Pared-Down Profiles
Hinge recently updated to a very simple layout in an effort for its users to be more focused on what's really important: Their prospective matches. "Hinge’s new design features a harmonious, natural color palette pulled from the outside world that is aimed at removing unnecessary distractions, in addition to new illustrations that are imperfectly hand-drawn to better reflect the real people they’ll get to know on Hinge," the app explains.
Additionally, apps like Hinge allow users to create a much shorter and simpler profile — as opposed to those in which users must answer significantly more personal questions. "This trend of simplifying the bio and layout works for some daters and not others," Dr. Sherman says. "Many dates report liking the gaming feel of swiping and the ability to quickly size up a prospect in a short bio, whereas others turn to Ok Cupid or other sites if they want more extensive bios and questions answered upfront." At the very least, this seems to offer some variety so daters can find the app that best suits their interests or what they're comfortable sharing.
Dating App Trends: Connecting To Social Media
A major way Tinder users are uniquely connecting this year? Exchanging Tik Tok videos. This exemplifies an overall trend of linking dating apps and social media as an additional way to share similar interests. "Sharing social media profiles like Tik Tok and Instagram before linking up can be helpful because it gives you a fuller (although curated) version of a person," Dr. Sherman explains.
Dating App Trends: Love Languages
Bumble recently announced its temporary partnership with The 5 Love Languages to help users identify matches based on their preferred ways of showing love and affection. With the popularity of using personality tests to determine whether or not you and a prospective date are well-matched, this function could help users find more likeminded mates. "Bumble's new option for daters to add their love language to their bio is a fun meaningful feature," Dr. Sherman says. "It is not only a conversation starter, but also a way they can later more successfully navigate their relationship."