From sober dates to deal-breaker politics: 7 of the biggest dating trends of 2022

The biggest dating trends of 2022 (Alamy/PA)
The biggest dating trends of 2022 (Alamy/PA)

Dating trends seem to have come and gone like an ebbing tide this year. It feels like there’s been a new catchphrase almost every week defining the dating landscape – be it cuffing, explori-dating, snow-storming or back-burner relationships.

But there have been some (almost) constants that singletons on dating apps have come to rely on, as Tinder reveals its Year in Swipe report for 2022. So, what are they?

Here are seven of the biggest dating trends for 2022, according to Tinder…

1. Young people are all for the ‘situationship’

Singles were still eager to get out there and play the field this year, but with more clearly defined boundaries. So then came the rise of the ‘situationship’.

More than something entirely casual or only rooted in sex, but not quite a full, formal relationship, this is more of a ‘works for now’ vibe. According to their Year in Swipe report, Tinder saw a 49% increase in those saying they are seeking a situationship in their profiles.

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2. We are revelling in nostalgia

Turns out, today’s young singles are getting some of their inspiration from the Nineties and noughties.

As the report said: “The fastest growing interests on Tinder were blasts from the past like 90’s Kid, Anime and Sneakers. Everyone’s favourite ‘new old’ song, Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill made a comeback and was in the top 10 Spotify Anthems noted on Tinder profiles.”

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3. Sober dating is all the rage

Contrary to what pop culture – like Bridget Jones’ Diary and First Dates – has been telling us about dating, there’s been a real shift away from boozy meets and knocking back some Dutch courage.

According to the report: “Alcohol-free dates have become a way for singles to be more authentic on dates and challenge traditional dating norms. Over 25% of surveyed young singles on Tinder said they drink less on dates compared with last year.

As Laura Wilkinson-Rea, senior director of communications Northern Europe at Tinder, explains: “Last year, the pandemic forced singletons to get creative with their dates in a safe way. This continued in 2022, as we saw less people opt for the traditional dinner date. This came hand in hand with more singletons opting for non-alcoholic drinks, and 72% of Tinder members said they would only drink occasionally.”

4. Social issues are big deciders

Forget the typical criteria of sharing hobbies and taste in music – how people feel about the big stuff has become much more of a dating deal-breaker. The Tinder research found 75% of singles were looking for a match who is respectful of or invested in social issues.

The report highlights that “so many Tinder members added the Ukrainian flag to their profiles in support of Ukraine this year, that it ranked within the top 10 trending emojis on the app at one point. Additionally, the Activism and Voters Rights Interests increased by 84% and 37% respectively in Tinder profiles this year.”

Similarly, political chaos sparked a range of hilarious bios this year. “Tinder members are known for including topical commentary within their bios,” notes Wilkinson-Rea. “With three prime ministers in office this year, it’s no surprise Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak all made it into the top 10 as public figures referenced in bios in 2022.”

In one memorable example, one Tinder profile read: ‘Love life as successful as Liz Truss’ time as Prime Minister’.

5. We are star sign obsessed

Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, star signs are still hot in the dating world. “Tinder’s Year in Swipe report revealed that the star sign is the most popular descriptor on Tinder profiles and members are more likely to match with someone that shares their star sign,” says Wilkinson-Rea. “This follows the trend of singletons having an ever-increasing appetite to understand potential matches more broadly, both through astrology and decoding body language cues within profiles and IRL dates.”

6. Casual and activity-based dates are the way to go

Goodbye dinner and a movie – we are going way more casual with our dating and seeking fun activities to do together over formal sit-downs. People are actively mentioning things like “mini golf”, “comedy show” and “pottery painting”, for example.

7. We rate people for being funny

According to Tinder’s research, “sense of humour was what members looked for most when reading a potential matches’ profile”.

However, as well as humour, that wasn’t the be-all-and-end-all. The report also noted: “73% of young singles surveyed across all genders said they were looking for someone who is clear about what they want and has good hygiene.”