Gen Z is notoriously more anxious than any generation before. Add to that a coming of age during a global pandemic, and this anxiety has created a group of singles who are afraid to make dating decisions for themselves. Compared to millennials, younger singles rely more on their friends for dating advice, and it’s ruining their dating lives.

Logan Ury, Hinge’s director of relationship science and author of How to Not Die Alone.

Courtesy of Hinge

Dating amid an ongoing pandemic is rough, let’s not sugarcoat it. From dating online to meeting people in person to awkwardly having on-and-off conversations with people that never actually lead anywhere, dating in today’s modern-day society presents a mix of ups and downs, which can make it hard for Gen Z and millennials to truly be able to trust in themselves and in their own decisions. 

“I’m hearing more and more from singles who can’t make a dating decision without checking in with their group chat. Gone are the days of discussing dating with your friends at brunch. Now every Hinge profile, text message, and Instagram story can be screenshotted and shared with friends for analysis. No wonder Gen Z singles are 30% more likely than millennials to say they’d feel stressed if they couldn’t talk to their friends about a major dating decision. The problem is — you’re the one in the relationship, not your friends. It’s critical that you learn how to tune into your own feelings and needs and figure out how you feel about someone,” Logan Ury, Hinge’s director of relationship science, said. Our inability to trust in ourselves when it comes to an infinite pool of swipes can make it difficult for us to really move our dating lives forward, and social media, societal norms and the expectations of those around us all make it even more impossible for us to trust in that inner voice.

If you’ve been allowing others to influence your dating decisions in any way, here are a few expert tips and tricks on how we can begin to take our power back from limiting societal beliefs that may actually be harming us instead of helping us. 

Courtesy of Hinge

Use your friends for accountability instead of advice.

“Get in tune with yourself. Fifty-three percent of Gen Z Hinge singles say they wish they were more comfortable making dating decisions without asking their friends for feedback because they have a hard time knowing what to do. One of the best ways to change your dating habits is to understand what’s holding you back in the first place,” Ury said in a statement. In order for us to begin taking our power back from the external noise, we must consciously choose what it is that we want for ourselves and our own lives. Though the advice of friends and family can help us to make mindful and insightful decisions, the experiences of others is not something you necessarily have to carry, or in turn, have to live by. Creating healthy boundaries can help us to move forward in a conscious way while also helping us to decide the things we truly want for ourselves in the process. Ury also explained to “check out books and podcasts on dating, attachment theory, what makes love last and more. Consider getting a therapist to learn more about yourself. The more in touch with your own feelings you are, the less you’ll rely on your friends to know what to do.”

Don’t ask your friends for feedback before sending a text to a significant other.

One of the biggest mistakes in dating often results in asking our friends and family for feedback before sending a text. And though the feedback of others can help us to feel more empowered and confident, it can also hinder our own ability to make conscious decisions for ourselves. When we learn to trust in ourselves we can not only create a better relationship with others, but also help to build a better relationship with ourselves. Journaling can also help to bridge this common dating mistake and can help us to really plan our own moves without the influence of others.

Talk to your friends about your dating life, but only after you’ve been on a few dates.

Sometimes the external noise of others can really hinder us and our ability to move things forward in our dating lives. It’s okay to keep your friends in the loop, but only after you’ve gone on a few dates and have a decent amount of background information to equip them with. Having valuable information on what a person is like a few dates in can also help to give you the information you need to decide whether or not you want to keep pursuing the relationship.

“Great relationships are built, not discovered. A lasting relationship doesn’t just happen,” Ury said. “It is the culmination of a series of decisions, including when to get out there, whom to date, how to end it with the wrong person, when to settle down with the right one and everything in between. Make good decisions, and you propel yourself toward a great love story. Make bad ones, and you veer off course, doomed to repeat the same harmful patterns over and over. It’s critical that you develop the skills to make your own decisions, without checking in with your friends. You are the one in this relationship.”

Now that the dating pool has primarily surfaced online due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s only right that we begin to tackle the many misconceptions that come with it, while also changing the narrative surrounding what constitutes a positive dating experience. If you’ve been looking to date, but don’t know where to start, Hinge can help you in taking matters into your own hands when it comes to your love life and your dating journey moving forward.