Forget the roses, chocolates, and candlelit dinners. Singles this year were swiping right with an eye for stories instead of soulmates. Tinder’s "Year in Swipe" report found dating in 2023 was all about making memories, not making it official. The year saw new experiences take front and centre, with the excitement of discovery trumping the pursuit of normative relationship milestones.
The more exploratory and carefree approach to dating gave rise to trends like "Not Attached To an Outcome" (N.A.T.O.) dating and "Dating For The Plot," a change from customary courtship. Instead of zeroing in on the endgame, singles embraced spontaneity.
"Data at Tinder shows that 69% of Gen Z want to challenge conventional dating and relationship norms… This new generation of daters is showing us what it means to date for the possibilities, freeing themselves from traditional expectations," said Tinder Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Hobley in a release.
The year was also marked by a sense of optimism and self-exploration. Empowering anthems from Taylor Swift and rebellious beats from Miley Cyrus set the tone for modern love, shaping many of Tinder's memorable connections, and how relationships were perceived and pursued.
Here are the top trends, terms, and tunes that shaped Tinder dating in 2023:
The 🔛 emoji reigned supreme on Tinder this year, becoming emblematic of the "Always On" dating philosophy. It's a concise shorthand for "I'm here for a good time, not a long time," signalling a carefree dive into the dating pool.
In a sea of profiles and bios, it's the digital equivalent of a confident, knowing smile. But beyond its playful appearance, the emoji captures the essence of today’s dating game: fast-paced, fun, and unapologetically non-committal. It encapsulates the ethos of today's dating scene, where swipes are plentiful and commitment is flexible.
In fact, over a quarter (27%) of 18-25-year-olds using Tinder’s Relationship Type feature said they're "open to exploring," and 22% using the Relationship Goals feature said they are "still figuring it out."
When it comes to online dating, words are limited and intentions are nuanced, so emojis become invaluable. They're quick, efficient symbols that convey a wealth of meaning.
Other trending emojis this year reflected evolving dating attitudes. 🧉, suggested a preference for healthy, non-alcoholic socializing, 📿 symbolized a focus on mental well-being and mindfulness, 🩹 represented healing and re-entering the dating scene, and 💐 was either a romantic gesture or a playful nod to "delulu" dating fantasies (more on that later).
New lexicon of love
Two people on a date outside.
Tinder introduced a no-nonsense, snappy dating dialect in 2023 with terms like N.A.T.O. Dating, and Dating For The Plot. Both trends take a more relaxed and exploratory approach to relationships.
Not Attached To an Outcome Dating is about enjoying the present moment and the process of getting to know someone without the immediate pressure of defining the future. It's a practical approach for those who prefer to let relationships unfold naturally, without the weight of long-term expectations from the start.
Dating For The Plot shifts the focus to the experience of dating itself – because who doesn't love a good story? It's about embracing the variety of people you can meet and the unique experiences each interaction can bring. In fact, Tinder saw a 5.5x increase in users using the term in their bios with examples like, "Everything I do is for the plot, let’s make some memories."
Together, the trends are like Tinder's reality check against the "happily ever after." They champion the now, the spontaneous, and the slightly ridiculous side of dating.
Soundtrack of romance
Taylor Swift sings and holds a bedazzled guitar.
The soundtracks of Tinder swipes in 2023 were dominated by influential women artists, whose songs resonated with the dating experience of the time. Taylor Swift, with her knack for capturing the emotional spectrum of relationships, provided a musical backdrop for many profiles, becoming the top Spotify artist on the app. Her tracks, echoing her own experiences, became anthems for those feeling the ups and downs of modern love on Tinder.
Miley Cyrus added a bold and unapologetic flavour with songs like "Flowers." Her track, the second most-played in Canada, celebrated self-empowerment and struck a chord with those embracing single life or rediscovering themselves post-breakup.
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s musical versatility, spanning soulful to upbeat tunes, also made a significant impact. Her songs saw a 52% spike on Tinder profiles after the Super Bowl, often themed around resilience and self-strength.
In Canada, the top Spotify artists on Tinder included Morgan Wallen, Zach Bryan, SZA, The Weeknd, and Taylor Swift. The most popular anthems were tracks like Morgan Wallen's "Last Night," Miley Cyrus's "Flowers," and Doja Cat's "Paint The Town Red."
The rise of self-focussed narratives
The Tinder dating world in 2023 was all about starring in your own love story, with singles embracing "main character energy." The trend transcended the quest for a partner, focusing instead on celebrating personal growth and experiences.
Users viewed their dating lives as personal adventures, focusing on what each interaction and experience brought to their own development.
The focus was less on crafting a profile to attract a partner and more on showcasing the unique traits of a user's personality. This approach empowered users to take control of their dating experiences, celebrating their own narratives and enjoying the process of connecting with others in a more authentic and self-reflective way.
Time as a currency
Two people in winter coats chat and hold coffees by an ice rink.
Tinder's users got a reality check with the concept of "Delulu" in dating, adding a playful side to romantic expectations. Riffing on "delusional," the term spiked 58x in September 2023 with bios reading "If you are delulu, I’m your solulu" and “Turn my delulu into trululu."
"Delulu" is all about leaning into the fun and sometimes unrealistic side of dating. It's a nod to those daydream-like scenarios where you plan your entire future with someone after a first good date – kind of silly but definitely part of the modern dating experience.
Then there's the whole rethinking of time as a dating currency. Singles dropped the old-school one-at-a-time approach in favour of stack dating and multi-dating — kind of like speed chess but with romance. Stack dating means lining up several dates, keeping your options open and your calendar full. Multi-dating is keeping a few connections simmering at the same time, a sort of "why put all your eggs in one basket?'" mentality.
51% of surveyed young singles said they were open to new ways of fitting dating around their daily schedules. That meant Tinder users emphasizing efficiency and variety. No more waiting around for Mx. Right, but rather turning dating into a buffet of experiences rather than a three-course meal.
What got people swiping on Tinder
Someone looks at a Tinder profile on their phone.
Tinder's global trends were a smorgasbord of quirks and passions. "Horror movies" grabbed the top spot, proving nothing bonds like a good scare. "Hip hop" slid into second and "tennis" swung into third, serving up matches for the athletically inclined. "Voguing" danced into fourth, and the simple joy of "Walking my dog" trotted into fifth.
Meanwhile, "Otaku" led the list of most attractive interests, turning anime and manga fandom into a hot ticket. "Cheerleading" and "pilates" followed, flexing the appeal of energy and fitness. "Biryani" spiced up the fourth spot, and being an "LGBTQ+ Ally" rounded out the top five, signalling open-minded and inclusive swipes.
Canadian Tinder users waved the flag for social consciousness. "Mental Health" led the top causes, followed by "Human Rights," "Feminism," "Climate Change," and "Environmental" concerns, painting a picture of a community engaged with social issues.
The most attractive interests in Canada had a health and wellness focus, with "Pilates" and "Hot Yoga" leading the pack, followed by "Equestrian," "Yoga," and "Skincare."
Communication preferences on the platform varied, with "Better in person" leading the charge, followed by "Big time texter," "Phone caller," "Bad texter," and "Video chatter."
"Quality time" emerged as the top love style globally, followed by "Touch," "Acts of Service," "Words of Affirmation," and "Gifts," proving that in the Tinder universe, love's not just about the right swipe, but also about speaking the right love language.