Sydney, Australia - November 28, 2022 — Let’s be real, 2021 wasn’t the return to IRL we thought it would be - a mask was still your most steadfast accessory and you sought out vaccination appointments like concert tickets. The start of 2022, however, brought new excitement for getting back ‘out there’ with our collective resolve to make up for lost time during quarantine. Social activities like travel and live events rebounded in record fashion, and dating was no exception. Millions of young adults who started their dating lives in lockdown, showed they were definitely out and ready to mingle IRL, and unlike previous generations, they were dating on their terms and were done playing games.
With 2022 drawing to a close, Tinder’s Year in Swipe shares the top flirt flexes of the year. From new relationship labels and stances on social issues, to sober dating trend.
#1. Young singles are owning the situationship as a valid relationship status. Young singles were still down to play the field this year, but they opted for a high-quality roster where everyone was on the same page. More than a hookup, but not quite a traditional relationship, the “situationship,” a casual - yet clearly defined - relationship came to rise in 2022. Tinder saw a 49%1 increase in members adding the new relationship intention to their profiles and over 1 in 102 surveyed young singles said they prefer situationships as a way to develop a relationship with less pressure. For Aussie members, the main reasons situationships were chosen as a preferred dating status were to give time to develop a relationship with less pressure and to help make way for friendships or other relationships to form2.
#2. Positivity was a major plus. Originally known as the parking symbol, P has been repurposed to represent Pushin P and was the number 1 trending emoji globally on Tinder this year. An interesting shift from the trending emojis of years past ( hand on head in 2019, shrugging shoulders in 2020, and wide eyes in 2021), members turned to P to let the world - and their matches know ‘positivity’ and keeping it real is exactly what they’re looking for1. In Australia, members shared the ghost emoji the most (alongside their snap handles), followed by shrugging shoulders and laughin-crying face emoji.
#3. The dinner date could soon be dead. It seems the activities we took to during the pandemic are here to stay. Some of the top date activities mentioned in Aussie Tinder bios include “walking”, “video games”, “gigs” and “festivals”1, suggesting that singles are meeting for more than just dinner and drinks these days. They’re opting for less traditional, more authentic and sometimes sober (see below) ways to get to know one another. Other creative activities like Camping, BBQs, Trying New Things, and Street Food all made it into the top 10 trending global Interests on Tinder.
#4. More singles are raising a glass to sober dates. 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 year2 and 72%1 of members said on their Tinder profiles that they don’t drink or only drink occasionally . In fact, the beer and wine emojis each decreased (40% and 25% respectively) on Tinder profiles YoY1. For Aussies, 82%1 of members claim on their profiles that they don’t drink or only drink occasionally. There’s also been a local YoY decrease in popularity of interests like Grabbing a Drink and Nightlife, with Travel, Sports, Coffee and Outdoors all increasing this year.3 .
#5. Being Funny, Fresh, and Forward was sexy AF. A sense of humour was what members looked for most when reading a potential match’s profile, and 73%2 of young singles surveyed across all genders said they were looking for someone who is clear about what they want and has good hygiene. When asked what the most important characteristics are in a potential date, young singles prioritised value-based qualities like loyalty (79%), respect (78%) and open-mindedness (61%) over looks (56%)4. Aussies are also looking for people who aren’t self-obsessed (64%) and align with their values (63%)2.
#6. Stances on social issues could make or break a match. Three-quarters (75%) of singles were looking for a match who is respectful of or invested in social issues2. In fact, so many Australian Tinder members mentioned politics, the environment, mental health, Ukraine and BLM in their bios this year, that they all rank in the top 5 local issues1.. Additionally, the Activism and Voters Rights Interests both increased (84% and 37% respectively) in Tinder profiles this year1.
#7. Nostalgia stanning was a flex. Young singles are getting inspo from 90s and noughties dating trends. The fastest growing interests on Tinder were blasts from the past like 90’s Kid, Anime, and Sneakers. Even everyone’s favourite new/old song, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill'' made a comeback and was in the global top 10 Spotify Anthems noted on Tinder profiles1. Tinder's modern take on the traditional Blind Date also launched for the hotter months. The Blind Date feature on Tinder paired members before allowing them to view each other's profile and was used 200,000 times a day on average5. It’s been a tough few years, and it looks like singles are turning to the authenticity and good vibes of a pre-smartphone world. Choosing 90’s Kid as an interest grew rapidly from May 22 for Aussie daters and with “video games” fast becoming a top date activity for many Aussie daters, it’s no surprise that Mario Kart (first released in 1992) was the top mentioned game in Aussie member bios.
#8. The red flag & white flag (gaslighting) emojis were trending for good reason. Toxic relationships aren’t new, but all of the tips and psychoanalysis on social media show that young singles are more clued up about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to dating. More than half (58%) of surveyed young singles said they were confident they could identify a green or red flag2 when dating. In 2022, singles have finally had enough and are dishing on what they consider red and green flags, and all of our BS radars have gotten better because of it. A true public service. In fact, some of the top TikTok trends mentioned on Aussie bios include both red flags and green flags1. Tinder members can check more on green flags here.
#9. Revenge travel racked up the miles on Tinder. After two pandemic-filled trips around the sun, singles were finally able to get back to exploring new horizons with fewer or no restrictions. 18-25 year olds passported on average 9 times a month5 with top passport destinations for Aussies including the US, the UK and New Zealand6. This year, Thailand has entered the top 10 Passport destinations, knocking Korea out of the top 10. Interestingly, Chatswood has been crowned the chattiest city for video chats on Tinder this year, followed by Bondi locals, all using the feature to connect with others around the country, and world.
#10. Amidst uncertainty and a triple mercury retrograde in 2022 singles were looking to the stars for guidance. Star signs were the most popular type of descriptor added to Tinder bios behind smoking preferences, pets and diet. Leos, Scorpios and Cancers were the signs most likely to include their sign in their bios, and surprisingly, all star signs were most likely to match with the exact same zodiac sign1.
Tinder Australia on the Year in Swipe
Tinder Australia spokesperson, Kirsty Dunn, said “Aussie daters are wasting no time in reshaping the dating world in their image, once they could return to IRLdating. We’ve seen singles be incredibly intentional in both who they choose to date and how they choose to date. As we shift into gear for 2023 and (hopefully) a properly sunny summer, the trends of 2022 will definitely guide the way Aussie daters navigate the world of dating, friends, connections and relationships – and we can’t wait to see them continue to embrace situationships, spontaneous trips and sober dates!”
Nick, 29, on the rise of video gaming in online dating
Nick met his fiancé as a result of their shared love for video games, and said that this love continues to play a big part in their relationship to this day. “My fiancé Jess and I are Twitch streamers and we regularly play video games together as a date night activity. It’s so much more hands on than going to the movies or out for dinner and it’s a way to keep doing the thing that brought us together in the first place. We might butt heads whilst playing but it all comes from a place of love – we just want to better each other and win!”
Zoe, 22, on the importance of having a stance social issues
Zoe has been using dating apps for the last 12 months and has gone on multiple dates in that period where she has called things off when her dates’ values don’t align with her own. “I once went on a date with a guy who made really unsavoury comments about children with disabilities, and as someone who is around a lot of people with disabilities in my daily work, I found this derogatory language extremely offensive. I knew in that instant that our value systems did not align and ended things right there.”
The 10 fastest -growing interests on Tinder that capture the shared interests that took off in 2022:
Full assets for the Year in Swipe 2022 can be accessed here