The Hottest Dating Trends of 2021, From Astrolove To Hardballing

Photographed by Savana Ogburn.
I kicked off 2020 resolving to go on at least 20 dates, a so-called carrot on a stick that I hoped would force me out into the cruel, daunting dating world and out of my comfort zone.
Then, of course, the world changed. And so too did dating. Zoom dates became the norm. Plus, the age-old dating habits and phenomenons we'd come to know and hate, such as ghosting and paper-clipping, were replaced with COVID-era versions, including apocalypsing (treating every relationship like it’s your last) and wokefishing (when someone pretends to hold progressive views to get laid).
“This past year, we’ve seen the dating landscape shift in unexpected ways – from new digital dating conventions to all-new approaches to relationships," says Priti Joshi, Bumble's vice president of marketing strategy and operations. 
But she's predicting that more changes are coming. After all, 55% of daters have a dating-related resolution for 2021, including taking things slower and raising the bar when it comes to vetting matches. Here, Bumble's predictions for the dating trends we'll be seeing in 2021. 


This term essentially means “dating like the CEO” and not messing around with partners who aren’t serving you. “Over the past year, almost 70% feel the pandemic has given them an abundance of time to focus on themselves and 43% shared they have more confidence to say what is and isn’t right for them in their dating life,” according to a Bumble release. I’m definitely planning to incorporate hardballing into my life in 2021.


We all know a Cancer who won’t date a Libra. In the next year, more and more folks will be looking for compatibility according to their zodiac sign, Bumble predicts. After adding an “astrology badge” feature to their app, Bumble noted that people who shared their sign had almost a 60% increase in their average number of matches. And not to further feed their ego, but Leos got the most matches of any star sign in 2020, according to Bumble. 

Slow Dating

It’s like throwing your relationship in a crockpot. It might take a bit to heat up, but the end results are so worth the wait. Folks who “slow date” in 2021 will take the time to get to know each other before meeting up in person, and will be more selective in general — a smart idea in COVID times, to be honest. Most Bumble matches who are slow dating during the pandemic start with a video date before moving on to a socially distanced meet-up.

Yes, More Virtual Dating 

A Bumble survey found that 46% of daters prefered virtual first dates over meeting up in person right away. In the U.S., the use of the app’s Voice Call and Video Chat features increased by 70% after the State of Emergency was declared this past spring. Of course, if you’re getting sick of Zoom dates, there are ways to mix it up. You could play trivia, have a Netflix Party, or play an online game like Quiplash

The Rise Of “New Dawn Daters”

Bumble says one in four of their US users will be classified as “New Dawn Daters," or folks who broke up with their long-term partner amid the pandemic. “They’re now single and ready to start dating again, but many are entirely new to dating apps and understandably anxious about dating right now,” Bumble notes. Fingers crossed that these cuties will refrain from chatting about their exes on the first date. 

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