NATO Dating (And Four Other Trends That Topped Tinder in 2023)

By Marie-Antoinette Issa
on 31 December 2023

Tinder has unveiled its annual Year in Swipe report. Offering an interesting insight into the dating trends that defined the year. Standing out among the highlights was the surge in popularity of NATO dating – aka Not Attached To an Outcome.

And, with Tinder’s data revealing 27% of 18-25-year-olds are open to exploring and 22% still figuring it out, NATO dating actually delivers a diplomatic (albeit unexpected) approach. The kind where singles focus on connections, unburdened by rigid outcomes. And remain open to the possibilities that come from meeting new people.

According to Melissa Hobley, Chief Marketing Officer at Tinder, NATO dating reflects a mindset where individuals are less concerned about the final outcome of a relationship. And more interested in enjoying the process of getting to know someone. This approach is a departure from old-school goal-oriented dating mentality. And allows singles to embrace a more open and exploratory attitude toward relationships.

In the era of Gen Z, conventional dating norms are being challenged, and individuals are liberating themselves from societal pressures, choosing to craft their own unique stories. “This new generation of daters is showing us what it means to date for the possibilities. Freeing themselves from traditional expectations, allowing them to write their own, worthwhile stories.” adds Melissa. Other key dating trends highlighted in Tinder’s Year in Swipe report include:

Main character energy

Singles embraced a “main character” mentality, rejecting the pressure to rush towards a “happily ever after.” Instead, they used dating as a means to build a roster of new experiences and memories, contributing to their personal stories.

Dating for the plot

The general shift towards dating for the journey rather than the end was significant in 2023. Singles were open to meeting new people for the sake of experiencing new things and creating memorable stories, deviating from a goal-oriented approach.

In fact, Tinder’s data reveals that 1 in 3 Australians set their Relationship Type as “open to exploring.” This signalled a shift in mindset where singles are less fixated on relationship destinations and more focused on the journey itself. This aligns with the overarching theme of 2023 – an emphasis on personal journeys, positivity, and exploring all possibilities.

Girl power as a superpower

Feminine energy took center stage, with top Spotify artists like Taylor Swift and empowering anthems from female pop stars dominating Tinder profiles.

Time was the most valuable currency

Singles valued their time, leading to trends like stack dating, multi-dating, and alphabet dating. Over 50% of young singles preferred spending time together, emphasising the importance of meaningful connections.

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