It’s been a strange old year in the realm of dating. Not only have we had to become fluent in the art of virtual meetups – negotiating a strange new language of video delays and technical hiccups – we’ve also done so at a time when the entire outside world seems to be falling apart.
The events of this year put everything into perspective, too. Who really cares about the small awkward moments of a first date when we’ve had lockdowns, illness and job losses to contend with? Whether or not you have chemistry suddenly seems tiny in comparison to the common struggles we’ve all faced this year.
With that in mind, social app Bumble has researched the most popular conversations we’ve shared on video dates over the past 12 months. With one billion matches made via the platform in 2020, here are the topics that have got potential couples in the UK talking the most.
Working from home
With nearly 50% of us doing some form of remote working at the height of Britain’s first lockdown in April, working from home emerged as a major talking point for virtual daters. Nearly 60% on Bumble users said it was a frequent topic of conversation on dates this year. Whether it’s the challenge of brewing a great home coffee, the tendency never to switch off or what to do about loneliness, there are so many issues caught up in our sudden exodus from the office; little wonder it was front of our minds.
On the face of it, there’s nothing that exciting to chat about where Zoom is concerned. But this universal video technology – which wasn’t well-known before the outbreak of Covid-19 – managed to dominate as the number one topic of conversation in a quarter of all virtual dates this year. Perhaps we were all shooting the breeze about the new online murder mystery games you can play. Maybe we were trading stories of the inevitable awkward silences that seem to crop up in every virtual work meeting. Or, if the average Zoom chat is anything to go by, it could even have been more basic – along the lines of “you’ve got your mic off!” or “my internet’s just gone dodgy.”
Well, we didn’t have a huge lot else to do this year: TV has probably been the biggest feature in most people’s social lives. This was reflected in a huge spike in lockdown viewing essentials, from Tiger King to Unorthodox and Money Heist – which was officially the most popular Netflix series in the early days of lockdown. It’s more than just small talk, too. Research shows that couples who share a similar taste in TV tend to have stronger and happier relationships. So as long as you’re both on the same page about your Selling Sunset obsession, it’s all good.
Though star signs did not count as a topic of conversation per se, Bumble data found that over a million people in the UK added the Zodiac badge to their profile in the past six months. Though plenty of us continue to reserve a healthy cynicism for astrology, the impact of this icon was undeniable: people who added a star sign to their profile saw a 53% increase in matches as a result. Meanwhile, Bumble’s star sign finder, which allows users to match with specific star signs, is the most commonly used of all its filters. Why the appeal? Well, it’s been a very heavy year. Whether or not you believe in it, perhaps astrology adds the dash of lightness and fun we all need.
The Bumble trends for 2020 also contained one other glimmer of hope.
While the dating app’s most popular emoji worldwide this year was the shrugging icon, in the UK, this changed to the tears of joy/laughter emoji. So at least we’ve kept a sense of humour about it all – dates included.