DBLs, WAW And 'Cringe Mode': This Is How Gen Z Are Dating In 2024

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Quick confession: I had to look up the acronym “IJBOL” the other day. Mortifying. I’m 34, I know I’m veering ever-closer to being out of touch but I thought that, as somebody who is addicted to social media, I was still down with current trends. Sadly, it looks like I’m closer than ever.

It means “I Just Burst Out Laughing”, in case you were wondering. What was wrong with a good old “LMAO”?!

Thankfully, the dating experts at Hinge have got mine, and every other clueless person’s back. Thanks to their latest data on dating trends, language and behaviours for this year, they have ensured that nobody thinks we’re as out of the loop as we are.

You’ll never find me breaking out a little “IJBOL” mid-sentence though, to be clear.

The dating trends we’re expected to see in 2024

Hinge reports that a whopping 90% of Gen Z daters on the dating app are looking for love but the relationship specialists warn that “their collective worries about rejection are standing in the way.”

According to their report: “Gen Z daters look to *DBL* (Digital Body Language) to determine if a match is interested— but they’re playing it *too cool* with their
responses, so that they don’t appear overeager. In order to end the
guessing game cycle, they’ll need to be clear in their DBL.”

So, what exactly is DBL and how do you master it?

Hinge says: “It’s all about non-verbal subtext. It’s emojis, punctuation, message length, and response time. It’s all those subtle cues that suggest a dater is into
someone—or not. And 77% of Hinge daters say DBL reveals a lot about a
match’s interest.”

However, while Gen Z do admit that they’ve overanalysed somebody’s Digital Body Language, Only 13% of Hinge daters say double-texting gives them “the ick.

Essentially, if somebody likes you, they don’t care if you aren’t one for playing it cool.

Hinge’s director of Relationship Science, Logan Ury said to keep these in mind when it comes to DBL:

  • Don’t immediately assume that a lack of texting means a lack of interest. Instead, pay attention to words and actions
  • Be yourself from the beginning and be honest about it. This means if you like to text, ask your date how often they’d like to talk between dates. If you’re not much of a texter, let them know that delayed responses aren’t personal
  • If you enjoy hearing from someone, tell them!
  • If your match isn’t a texter but you are, let them know that you’d like to hear from them in smaller ways such as texts letting you know that they’re thinking of you or even just a meme that makes them think of you

The What Are We (WAW) conversation

Of course, asking somebody you’re dating what the two of you “are” isn’t new but in 2024, we’re doing it more intentionally.

Hinge says: “Having the WAW discussion is essential. Daters need to know where they stand with someone they’re seeing if they’re looking to avoid another cycle of uncertainty. But still, so many Gen Z daters are avoiding it at all costs.”

If you’re tired of situationships, this is a sure-fire way to end them, one way or another.

More than half of Gen Z Hinge daters confessed that they’ve held back from telling someone how they feel because they’re worried it’d be a turn-off. However, Hinge says: “It’s time for a romantic vibe check: 2024 is the year for Gen Z to push past their cringe-inhibitions and rejection fears, in favour of being bold and open.”

Logan Ury says to keep these in mind when you’re addressing WAW:

  • If somebody doesn’t want to be with you, it’s better to know now so that you can make the right decision for yourself
  • There’s no perfect time to bring it up so do it when you’re feeling like you don’t want to see other people. If you tend to rush into things, ask some friends for their advice
  • Have the conversation in person. If you feel awkward or vulnerable bringing it up, say that! “I feel awkward mentioning this but...”
  • Clearly communicate what you’d like to know, whether it’s clarity on labels, exclusivity or even deleting apps, let them know where you are
  • Of course, remember that you might not hear what you want to but use the information to guide what’s next for you
  • Express gratitude for their honesty, even if it hurts

Embrace “Cringe Mode”

Hinge insists that now is the time to be cringe but free.

According to their research, daters are tiptoeing around direct communication as they don’t want to seem cringe or overeager, hiding behind memes and jokes instead of expressing sincere emotions.

However, in 2024, we’re doing radical honesty. 95% of Hinge users are afraid of rejection but, as Moe Ari Brown, Hinge’s Love and Connection expert said: “The trick is acknowledging the feeling and accepting that you don’t need to be rid of it to date successfully. In reality, you need the presence of something much more deliberate, like courage, to push beyond your worry and show up vulnerably in your dating life.”

Honesty, assessing digital body language, and embracing cringe? Got it.

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