The Dictionary of Modern Dating can never be accused of being out of date. Dating behavior — online and offline — always on the alert for merging with language; Identifying patterns and providing them with engaging and clickable words. There was ghosting (we know this by heart), breadcrumbing (keeping someone on the hook), shelving (using work as an excuse)—all harmful tendencies to push someone forward. Then came the pandemic, and with it the “parikrama”; “Disaster”; “Elsaid” (yes, after the famous Disney Ice Queen); “Flatlining.” A complete list of these words for inspiration seekers exists in the groves of the Internet.
It’s tempting to have a dating trend – To make a dictionary out of them by giving a name to almost everything, especially toxic behaviors. These trends are not only a reflection of our collective behavior, but they also exist “because they satisfy some very basic needs in all of us: the need to communicate social identity and the collective need to make sense of the world,” Maria McKinney said. -Valentin, a trends scholar at the Danish Design School in Copenhagen. To call something a trend is also to highlight a pattern of collective behavior that people seem to follow at this stage with no longevity.
But what happens when we make trends out of good dating habits—ones rooted in honesty, authenticity, respect, and prioritizing one’s boundaries?
Take these predictions about what could be a popular dating “trend” in 2022, the third year of the pandemic. “Hard bowling” is—you know, when someone is confident enough to voice whatever they want from someone (contingent, long-term, whatever you want). Basically, not settling for less than what they want or deserve. There is a “conscious loner,” someone who thinks it’s okay to be alone for a while. And my personal favorite: “slow dating,” the result of people becoming more aware of their preferences. “People take the time to get to know each other and build a relationship before deciding whether they want to pursue the relationship or meet in person,” as Bumble described it. At first glance, they all seem like extremely healthy dating etiquette.
In Huh Valuable and desired ways to test the romantic waters. But consistently turning positive behavior patterns into “trends” makes authentic dating an extent trivial. In other words, the “hashtag” around it gives an air of instability—such as self-awareness and emotional boundaries, say, dear, fleeting things that will spend their moment in the sun and then go away. When, in fact, they deserve to be more than just a stage.
Arguably, an entirely new language to reflect today’s dating culture isn’t a bad thing. If toxic behavior gets a name, healthy dating patterns must be in place to explain the reality of the new epidemic that may be different from recent years. But, here’s the thing: Even trends are always changing.
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There is also the concern of ubiquity. Marketing professor Jonah Berger told NPR, “…if there’s one thing that watching trends have taught us, it’s that the point at which something becomes ubiquitous is no longer a trend.” In other words, “merely calling something a tendency or noting its tendency may also reduce its attractiveness or hasten its decline.”
In a 2009 study, Berger found that cultural tastes that are quickly adopted are “likely to die out faster.” While this particular research focuses on fashion brands and products, the overlapping pattern with trend-spotting is that people quickly become wary of that “this thing.” They “avoid things with rapidly increasing popularity because they believe they will be short-lived.”
While there are some benefits to naming toxic patterns in relationships, associating those same language trends with healthy dating habits runs the risk of breaching intent.
What’s also mindful of these internet tides is that they misrepresent the actual dating habit. Take it in cold storage. The assumption is that people use work as an excuse not to meet someone; But what if someone is really busy? Work does Come in the way of dating, this should come as no surprise. One only needs to parse through the internet for five minutes to find stories of people struggling to find time to invest in relationships, especially while working from home.
There is another trend that became popular in 2019, one that cautions against a partner to prevent you from visiting their parents or friends. There could be several implications here: a) they may be embarrassed, b) they may not be serious about the relationship, c) they may not be close to their families or have toxic parents, d) They would like to exercise their own preferences and emotional boundaries. It could be any and all of the above – but this trend would claim it is not one or the other in between. In general, the problem with trends is that A viewer buys them unconsciously. The market has always acted like this, but when the market we talk about is love and companionship it is volatile.
Also, it’s not like “ghosting” or “slow dating” are simply by-products of the modern era. Dating apps keep releasing their lists and curation of predictions for a new world, but there’s hardly anything new about taking the time to get to know the other person. Dating habits marketed as “old-fashioned concepts make a comeback” have a flaw: they imply that wanting to be “single” or taking it “slow” are old-fashioned ways.
“I think the fact that we have to name all of these specific behaviors misses the point of the broader pattern they are part of: an increasingly general lack of complacency and communication in modern dating,” as Metro said. The way to fix this could then be to take the road less traveled, where one is focused on and the #trend isn’t followed.