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    ‘Soft launching’ is the dating trend you’ve probably already experienced without even realising

    ‘Soft launching’ is the dating trend you’ve almost certainly experienced, but never had a word for. So, let us clue you in. After all, it’s ALL over social media and right under your nose. 

    Back in the day, when Facebook was king, if we got into a new relationship the first thing we’d do is update our Facebook relationship status. We wanted everyone and their mum to know who our new beau was. We’d make a big deal out of it, we’d snap a million and one selfies, we’d write statuses when we on and then off, we’d air all of our dirty laundry and we’d lap up the attention. But as we’ve got older and social media has seen a massive shift, we’ve become ever so slightly more secretive.

    These days, it’s all about an air of mystery, keeping things quiet, and not letting everybody know all of your business. In a world dominated by social media and posting about our every movement, a lot of people are finding solace in keeping their love lives private. 

    When we get a new partner in 2020s it’s all about ‘soft launching’ them onto social media. ‘Soft launching’ is the dating trend that means you’ll take to Instagram in a sneaky way. Maybe you’ll be chinking your glasses in an Insta story boomerang and their hand will tip into the frame. Or maybe you’ll post hints that you’re with someone when having dinner or hitting the shops.

    In 2021 the dating game is muddled to say the least. We use dating apps and zoom, we meet up in bars and we drag out the process so that we don’t jump into commitment too fast. We’re dating, then we’re seeing each other, then we get asked if we want to be exclusive, and then a month or so down the line one of us *might* pop the question. No, not that question – the “will you be my boyfriend/girlfriend?” question. Dating in 2021 is confusing – so could this be why we don’t want to splash a photo of our new beau over social media?

    “It used to be that social media was the place to disclose everything to everyone but that has changed,” explains senior therapist and dating expert Sally Baker. Speaking about the current dating landscape, she said that the last year and a half of lockdowns and restricted ‘in real life’ romantic opportunities, and this means many singletons are “returning to dating with a different, more considered mindset.”

    Sally explained that pre-pandemic online dating was a ‘fairly throw away activity’ that everyone was weary and cynical about, “many played the numbers game hoping that by kissing enough frogs one of their dates will prove to be worth the aggravation of getting the night bus home.”

    With ‘slow dating’ on the rise thanks to the pandemic, Sally told us how singletons are dragging out the dating process, while also curating their romantic options by getting to know someone online first. She said that taking time to get to know prospective partners before an IRL date means everything is potentially more ‘emotionally loaded’.

    Because people are becoming more invested more early on, the act of ‘keeping your cards close to your chest’ is becoming more and more popular. Sally explained that the act of soft launching is a way to protect yourself from becoming an ‘object of public pity’. “It also reflects how the boundaries of who we interact with on social media has expanded from friends and family to work connections to potential future squeezes. Information is power and early declarations can just feel like too much information.”

    With singletons in 2021 having experienced a loneliness and uncertainty like never before, Sally told us that they’re just holding out for the one and on the look out for the real thing, “They want to find their true love,” she said, “they’re just scared it could all slip through their fingers and all they’ll be left with is making a TikTok breakup clip.”

    Maybe we’re just more secretive than we once were, or maybe we’re vulnerable and scared of jumping in too quickly. Either way, posting less of our love lives isn’t a bad thing, and you should always do what makes you feel comfortable.

    UPI

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