“Hardballing, slow dating, astrolove”: we finally have some positive new dating trends

Anxious about dating in 2021? A new study shows that we’re actually taking some positive dating trends into the new year with us.

Soft ghosting. Apocalypsing. Breadcrumbing. Love bombing. Cuffing. FOMU (that’s ‘fear of meeting up’). Anyone who’s been navigating the world of online dating during the pandemic will be familiar with at least one of these dating trends. Lockdown has changed the dating landscape for many single people, but some bad behaviours – such as the ones listed – have only continued to mutate or thrive.

Why do dating trends always spell disaster? Isn’t dating, ultimately, meant to be fun? What if we want to get excited about getting out there again in 2021? Well, dating app Bumble has just released five new dating trends that it predicts we’ll see more of next year, and things are finally looking positive. 

Based on research conducted among its users in August this year, here are the positive dating trends we’re taking into 2021:

Hardballing (not messing around)

Hardballing is all about knowing what you want, going for it, and not accepting anything less than that. Over 46% of people surveyed on Bumble said they are looking for something serious after experiencing loneliness during lockdown. And 38% of users said they felt more confident in saying what is and what isn’t right for them in their dating life. That means they have absolutely no time for the ghosters and breadcrumbers of the world, and that is something we can all get on board with.

New Dawn Daters

One in five Bumble users in the UK said they joined after ending a committed relationship as a result of the pandemic. While many are entirely new to dating apps and understandably anxious about dating right now, joining the app is the first bold and brave step to take in getting back into dating – well done you! 


Astrolove, when people look for dating compatibility according to zodiac signs, helped those in lockdown look hopefully towards the future. More than one million people in the UK added a zodiac badge to their profile over the last six months, and it increased chances of matching by 53%. Even if it’s just a bit of fun, it could be an interesting conversation starter (and you might end up becoming a reader of the stars).

Slow Dating

Slow dating is exactly what it sounds like: people taking the time to get to know each other and build a connection before deciding if they want to pursue the relationship or meet in person. Thanks to lockdowns and quarantines, around two in five people are taking longer to get to know someone and have used this time to think critically about what they want in a relationship.

“People are starting to get to know themselves a lot more,” says Jemma Ahmed, Head of Insights at Bumble. “And as a result they’re taking the time to figure out who is and isn’t right for them.

Amen to that.


The study found that more people are now inclined to date locally (48%), and want to date in the area they live and are comfortable in. That’s because there has been a 46% increase in anxiety levels as a result of the pandemic. This can help take the pressures of big dates with someone who lives in the other end of the city to you. And we all know that a walk in the local park with a hot chocolate is a great way of getting to truly know someone.

So go forth and get excited about dating again in the new year. 

Images: Getty

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