Single people have been put through the wringer over the past few years: First, they were ghosted, then they were mosted. (With mosting, your romantic interest lays it on thick, more or less convincing you that you’re The One, then ghosts you.)
Some got submarined. Unlike a ghoster, a submariner will pop back up months later, “much like an olden days sailor who shipped off, went under the sea and then came back triumphant from his mission,” as Metro described it.
Others were orbited. The orbiter doesn’t make meaningful contact again, but they watch every one of your Instagram stories.
Sure, all these dating terms sound a little silly, but they capture an underlying reality of modern dating: Millennials and Gen Z-ers have a certain ineptitude when it comes to making their intentions known, which is why situationships are now gratingly common. But finally, there’s a newly coined dating term that actually sounds positive for the singles among us: hardballing.
As defined by Logan Ury, the director of relationship science at Hinge, “Hardballing is a new dating term that means someone is being clear about their expectations of a relationship, whether you want a serious long-term partnership or a casual fling.”
Some have called it “dating like a CEO.” It’s your love life; why shouldn’t you call the shots on what you expect and want from the experience? But if you’re not one for cutesy dating terms, you could just call it dating with intention.
“When I’m dating, even if it’s just as simple as, ‘I am only looking for sex’ or ‘I want someone to go on fun dates with,’ I like to know what the other person wants.”
– Katie Ussery, spiritual practitioner in Chicago
Kimmy Seltzer, an LA-based dating strategist and the host of “Charisma Quotient” podcast, said she’s seen clients adopt this attitude more and more. She sees it as a backlash to all the aforementioned noncommittal dating patterns.
“I call it the ‘pendulum effect,’” she told HuffPost. “We were seeing a lot of transactional dating patterns ― things like bread-crumbing and ghosting ― but a trend can get to be too much.”
Now the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction: No-nonsense, no surprises, transparent dating. Dating with discernment and an eye on the prize, Seltzer said.
“People are looking for and demanding more security, especially
during a time of uncertainty that the pandemic brings,” she explained. “So in essence, I think hardballing is a way to recalibrate what singles had gotten used to: the ghosting era.”
“I definitely believe that COVID highlighted what it feels like to really be alone and eliminated all the distractions of dating,” said Julia Bekker, a matchmaker and dating coach.
Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, thinks the pandemic may have something to do with more serious-minded dating, too.
“The pandemic has taught us all that life is short and if you know what you are looking for in a partner, why not say it outright so you can move on if the other person is not aligned with your ‘no compromise list.’”
Julia Bekker, a matchmaker and dating coach, agrees.
“I definitely believe that COVID highlighted what it feels like to really be alone and eliminated all the distractions of dating,” she said. “When all …….