Few can argue that online dating hasn’t exploded over the past decade. According to a 2014 Pew Report, one in five adults aged 25 to 34 have taken to the Internet to find their next date. What’s more is that the stigma once associated with it is also a thing of the past. (According to another recent study, fewer and fewer people are labeling online dating as desperate.)
“The quick-pick method of selection and meeting are taking dominance over the slow burn of getting to know one another over time,” says relationship expert Susan Winter. “As our personal time becomes more precious, the dating and mating process is speeding up in correspondence.”
If you’re one of the millions of online daters in the United States, here’s a glimpse of the trends you can expect to see in 2015.
Swiping left and right
Tinder may have spearheaded the swiping trend, but other online dating apps, including Match.com, are following suit. For those who don’t know how Tinder works, users are able to quickly view tons of profiles with the swipe of a finger. If you come across a profile you’re not into, swipe left. But if someone does catch your eye, swiping right alerts them that you like what you see. If both users swipe right for one another, they’re then allowed to chat wihtin the app.
“We’re kind of getting into a phase now where swiping is becoming much more prominent,” says online dating expert Joshua Pompey, who describes it as just another shortcut online daters are using to connect with other singles faster. “It’s just another tool to get the other person to reach out to you.”
Swiping naturally lends itself to shorter, text-style messaging within the chat function of dating apps. In other words, fewer users are sitting down and writing out long-winded, multi-paragraph emails to one another. Playful direct messaging has pretty much replaced traditional emails.
“Who wants to sit for hours every night on a computer?” asks Winter, who says that more and more singles now prefer to look, like, click and meet. “No fuss, in-person connections are gaining momentum with busy professionals.”
Pompey agrees that there has definitely been a decline in pre-date, getting-to-know-you chitchat. While this does speed up the dating process, he warns that it may actually be doing more harm than good.
“After people go on a few dates, they start to get a little frustrated if they don’t find that chemistry right away,” he says, adding that many users will then begin messaging with more people and cramming in as many dates as they can. “But these superficial interactions actually have the opposite effect where they wind up going on more bad dates and taking longer to find the person they’re looking for.”
As online dating becomes more app-oriented, it makes sense that individual dating profiles are also becoming shorter and more lighthearted. Users can literally swipe through hundreds of profiles, which makes people want to stand out from the pack even more.
“Profiles are trending to be more fun and playful on a lot of these sites,” says Pompey. Many are now prompting users to share things like their most embarrassing moment, for example. “These kinds of questions are geared to make online dating a little more fun. And I think it’s leaning in that direction where each site wants to make the experience feel less like homework and more easygoing.”
Even still, you may want to take the profiles you view with a grain of salt. One 2007 study found that 80 percent of online daters lie about their age, weight or height on their profiles.