The Year in Swipe from Tinder, a dating app, is back. The app shared the State of the Date in 2023, including the trends, terms, and tunes singles leaned into while splashing around the dating pool. Overall, daters were less concerned about where their relationships were headed and more interested in creating opportunities to have new memorable experiences.
The year was marked by overarching themes of positivity, optimism, and a focus on bettering one’s self through making connections with others. Even the most used emoji on the app denoted this “always on” attitude among singles. Also, reflecting pop culture and the power of music in bringing people together, the buzzy anthems bopping on the app all came from powerful female pop stars, like Taylor Swift, Miley, and Rihanna.
Singles fully embraced “main character energy” in 2023. They ditched the pressure of rushing to a “happily ever after” in favor of using the dating process to build a roster of new experiences and memories that bolstered their own personal stories. This refreshingly optimistic and lighthearted approach to making new connections took the pressure off establishing relationship labels and outcomes, leaving more room for self-exploration through dating.
The shift to utilizing dating as a source of self-fulfillment gave rise to the top dating trends of the year: Not Attached to an Outcome (N.A.T.O) Dating and Dating For The Plot:
Not Attached To an Outcome (N.A.T.O) dating, as the name suggests, refers to singles who are less concerned about the outcome of a relationship and more interested in enjoying the process of getting to know someone.
Dating “For the Plot,” denotes that dating was more about the journey and less about “the end” in 2023. Singles were open to meeting new people to have new experiences and fun stories to tell, rather than taking a traditional goal-oriented approach.
“It’s so exciting to see the data at the app shows that 69% of Gen Z want to challenge conventional dating and relationship norms. This year in particular marked a major shift where the journey is more important than the outcome. This new generation of daters is showing us what it means to date for the possibilities, freeing themselves from traditional expectations, allowing them to write their own, worthwhile stories,” said Melissa Hobley, Chief Marketing Officer, Tinder.
Here’s a look back at what was hot on the app in 2023!
1. ALWAYS IS THE EMOJI OF THE YEAR ON THE APP
The let’s do it energy ruled
The emoji was the top trending emoji globally on Tinder this year. Singles used the emoji to let potential matches know they were up for trying cool new things or were even ready to explore a new relationship. They popped into bios to signal openness and optimism. Examples from bios include “I bring positive energy and try to make the best of every situation”
- N.A.T.O DATING WAS THE DIPLOMATIC APPROACH
Not being attached to an outcome was a big YES
Young singles are focusing on the connection and are N.A.T.O (not attached to outcomes). In fact, over a quarter (27%) of 18-25-year-olds using the app’s Relationship Type feature say they are “open to exploring”, and 22% using the Relationship Goals feature say they are “still figuring it out”. In India, a similar trend emerged where a quarter (25%) are “open to exploring”, and 65% are “still figuring it out”. So taking an open approach allowed them to meet new people without closing themselves off from all the possibilities that come from putting yourself out there.
- MAIN CHARACTERS WERE LIVING FOR THE PLOT
No bad dates, only good stories!
The app clocked a shift toward a more open-minded approach to dating in 2023. Singles have fully embraced their main character’s energy and are now fully invested in “the plot” …. rather than “the end.” Dating for “the plot” is buzzing on Tinder globally, with a 5.5x increase in users using the term in bios like, “Everything I do is for the plot, let’s make some memories.”
Dr Chandni Tugnait, Life Coach and Relationship Expert partner says, “This year we witnessed a shift in dating with young singles becoming the authors of their own romantic narratives. For them, it was more about letting experiences unfold naturally without the weight of expectations, rigid plans, and labels. Doing it for the plot encourages young singles to embrace openness to new experiences and say yes to opportunities they might otherwise overlook. Shifting away from outcome-focused dating, this reflects a move towards viewing the dating journey as a path to self-discovery, not just a checklist for commitment.”
- DATERS DE-INFLUENCED DELULU
Dating’s not delusional if you know you’re delusional
Singles were into taking chances this year and keeping the optimism around potential matches alive. But while leaning into the “delulu” of dating can be fun and playful in a daydreamy sort of way, singles were still self-aware enough to call out red flags – in themselves and each other. In fact, mentions of Delulu started trending in Tinder bios, both globally and locally in Feb 23, and peaked in Sept 23, growing 58x globally and 100x in India with bio examples such as “If you are delulu, I’m your solulu”, “Tall, dark and delulu”, “Turn my delulu into trululu”.
- TIME WAS THE MOST VALUABLE CURRENCY The situationship is all grown up & getting organized
Stack dating, multi-dating, alphabet dating – it was all about being mindful, getting organized, and taking the situationship to the next level in 2023. In fact, 51% of surveyed young singles said they were open to new ways of fitting dating around their daily schedules. Singles were not here to waste time this year. According to the app data, over 50% of young singles globally and in India using Tinder’s Love Styles feature say they prefer time together’ over the other love styles.
- GIRL POWER WAS A SUPERPOWER
The voice of this generation celebrates women
Feminine energy boomed around the world in 2023 and inevitably found its way onto the app. Taylor Swift was crowned the top Spotify artist on the app, Miley’s revenge bop “Flowers” was the 4th most popular Anthem added to profiles, and Rihanna fans showered her with support with a 52% spike in her songs being added to profiles following her performance at the big game. Even when sharing their holiday spirit users turned to no other than Mariah Carey, whose “All I Want For Christmas” sees an average increase of 365% on profiles each holiday season.