‘Stack Dating’ Is the New Low-Pressure Trend Taking Over Gen Z Love Lives

‘Stack Dating’ Is the New Low-Pressure Trend Taking Over Gen Z Love Lives

We’re all busier than ever with work, family, friends, self-care and life admin, so carving out time to gamble on a stranger you matched with on an app can feel like a massive ask. But Gen Z may have found a solution in stack dating. 

What is stack dating?

stack dating gen z
Credit: Netflix

According to Tinder’s 2023 Future of Dating report, around 51 per cent of global Tinder users aged 18 to 25 are making dating a low-pressure part of their daily lives. This means they’ve said goodbye to spending hours in the bathroom getting ready for a fancy date and hello to slotting them in whenever works for them. Basically, they’re treating dating like booking an exercise class, meeting up with a friend or doing the weekly laundry haul. 

We know comparing a date with errands might not sound sexy or romantic (and chivalry isn’t entirely dead, or so we hope), but that’s kind of the point. 

“Gen X are (sic) more interested in authentic connections rather than dating as a ‘performance’ of traditional social norms,” explained Christine Rafe, sex and relationship expert for We-Vibe

“It means we can be more efficient with exploring connections without dedicating whole days or nights to someone we may not have a connection with.”

Some Gen Z-ers are even making this trend work for them by lining dates up back-to-back (call it modern-day speed dating, if you will). 

What are the positives of stack dating?

A massive plus of stack dating? It’s a lot more budget-friendly, which is a word we love to hear as we scramble to survive during a time of heightened living costs.

“Meeting someone for a quick coffee is much more affordable than booking a nice dinner and drinks, which can become a huge financial expense if you are dating more than one person,” Rafe noted.  

Plus, “many are opting for casual and quick dates that align more closely with how they would spend their time and what they would typically wear.” 

For example, dates during your lunch break mean you’re meeting in work clothes or activewear rather than spending hours getting ready for dinner. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, this shows potential partners who you really are from the get-go, which they’ll eventually find out later down the track, anyway. 

Ultimately, stacking is a healthier approach to dating because it leads to more “authentic interactions” rather than “executed” dates that “take you away from your ‘real life’”. 

“It removes some of the pressure we can otherwise place on ourselves while dating, where we feel more comfortable to be ourselves rather than ‘performing’ the best version of ourselves,” Rafe said.

“Because of the shorter nature of the dates, it means you don’t have to compromise or give up on the things in your life that are important to you such as self-care, socialising, family commitments, study or work.”

And meeting people in a more authentic and genuine way “means you are more quickly learning about this person in their typical routine and environment, understanding their interests, priorities and values.”

Are there any downsides?

Well, you run the risk of coming off a tad insensitive, even if you don’t intend to. 

“There is the potential that people you are stack dating feel undervalued by you,” Rafe mentioned.

To avoid the likelihood of this, she recommends prioritising open communication about the expectations and intentions of your interaction from the get-go. 

Additionally, “you may miss opportunities to deepen connections” if you’re rushing to the next date. 

While stack dating is an efficient way to meet people, Rafe says it shouldn’t be a long-term approach. 

“Stack dating is a great way to meet new people during early dating stages, but I would suggest prioritising more intentional time with those you feel a connection with.”

How can you make the trend work for you?

It’s hard enough mustering up the energy to go on one meet-up, let alone two or three — in a row. Trust us, we understand. 

But to date these days, you need to be proactive (read: your love life isn’t going to come to fruition when you’re sitting at home binge-watching Netflix with your dog every night), which is why this realistic new trend makes meeting potential lovers much more effortless once you get the hang of it. 

Rafe shared her top tips to help you get started:

  • Consider each date as an opportunity to learn something new about someone else, or yourself, rather than something important and serious. 
  • Show up as yourself, knowing that we will not connect with everyone — and that’s OK!
  • Don’t spend weeks speaking to someone before meeting in person. If you feel good about the initial app interactions, organise a meet-up and be open to being spontaneous — for example, asking if they’re around later that day or the next. While you could talk to someone on an app for days or even weeks and feel a connection, until you meet them in real life, it can be really hard to gauge who they are and what is genuine. 
  • If you meet someone you feel you have a strong or genuine connection with from stack dating, consider planning a longer or more intentional date with that person. 

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