As a millennial, I’d like to believe that I had a balanced dating experience.
Pre-pandemic times, getting to know someone involved heading out for a night of drinks, going clubbing or even just meeting someone through friends.
I was also using apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge to meet and chat with people. Looking back, I’m fortunate I got the chance to meet people this way.
Unfortunately, I feel the same can’t really be said for Gen Zers.
For the uninitiated, Gen Zers are those born between 1997 and 2012, which means they’re currently between the ages of 10 and 25.
Unlike millennials, Gen Zers have had to be content with spending their late teenage years and early 20s under pandemic restrictions for the past three years or so.
Which got me thinking, how did they end up going on dates and meeting people? After all, some might say your early 20s are the prime time to start dating properly. It’s also a great time to start figuring out what you’re into in relationships.
Curious, I reached out to friends in the demographic.
“I used social media and dating apps a lot. Sliding into DMs on Instagram, going on Tinder, and following girls I thought were attractive on TikTok was the norm,” says *Nigel, 23.
“In fact, I’ve met all my past girlfriends from Tinder,” he shares.
What about meeting people through friends?
“Nah, there wasn’t a lot of socialising to be done, anyway,” he reveals.
In some ways, this was true. For many months following the circuit breaker, there were limits to group sizes in Singapore, which, if we’re being honest, put a damper on everyone’s motivation to head out.
Plus, given how most were so used to working from and staying at home, socialising felt more like a chore.
With restrictions lifted, what now?
Now that clubs, bars, and other night time entertainment venues can open past 10.30pm, I’m wondering how this would change the way Gen Zers operate while dating.
“Frankly, I’m nervous about meeting people and having to spend loads more time with them. In the past, after meeting someone through an app, I could just plan to stay for an hour or two, then make up an excuse to leave,” says *Rachel, 22, “I definitely feel my attention span has gotten shorter.”
According to relationship and career coach, Meiling Wong, those in the Gen Z and millennial brackets have found it difficult to meet the “right” person at the height of the pandemic.
However, she’s also positive about the ways interactions will change.
“The opening of clubs and lifts on restrictions will help young adults interact, and get to know their potential partner’s behaviours and reactions,” she shares, “It may also increase opportunities to meet potential partners through friends, associates, and the like.”
I reckon Gen Zers might arguably struggle a little when it comes to dating now that restrictions have been lifted.
However, I think they’ll adapt wonderfully.
After all, they’ve sort of pioneered Zoom dates and the whole idea of watching Netflix remotely. I’d argue that they’ve had to work even harder to make things fun on dates. In fact, they’d had to be a lot more creative.
A generational shift
Lately, I’ve also noticed a shift in how Gen Zers approach dating.
Unlike their predecessors (ahem, people like me), their priorities are different. They’re just not out there to find commitment anymore and hooking up isn’t necessarily on their radar either.
Instead, they’re opting to make friends through apps and find people they can vibe with to experience life together. If it leads to a relationship, it leads to a relationship. Otherwise, they’re happy for things to just be.
And perhaps, that’s actually great. Without feeling like they need to find someone, Gen Zers might be able to decide what they’d want to do for themselves and what they might enjoy out of dating.
On the flipside, some might argue that this laissez-faire approach to dating might breed commitment phobes that cannot and will not make a lasting relationship work.
Honestly, that’s fair.
At the same time though, the concept of ghosting and the entire idea of hook-up culture came from us millennials. So really, who are we to judge that?
*Some names have been changed on request
A Millennial's Dating Diary series explores real-life interactions and the hurdles of dating in Southeast Asia. The series features the dating stories and misadventures of Arika – a 26-year-old, straight female marketing manager with a penchant for over drinking — and fellow millennials.