Gen Zers don’t know how to flirt. Experts say it could make dating better.

    Gen Zers are ditching traditional flirting methods, and experts say it could be attributed to the rise in dating apps and social media.

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    Gen Z has ditched traditional flirting methods.Dating apps and the pandemic reduced in-person flirting skills.Experts say it could be a positive change as the younger generation are direct about what they want.

    Gen Zers have put their stamp on many things, but flirting doesn’t seem to be one of them.

    “I think flirting is dying,” Nikki Sanjongco, a 24-year-old from Los Angeles, told NBC News’ Daysia Tolentino.

    “If someone thinks you’re cute, they just ask for your Instagram these days and then DM you or swipe up on your story to show they’re interested,” Sanjongco said.

    Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012 —have grown up with the internet. Most of them don’t remember a time before smartphones.

    For many, interacting with people online is as natural as doing it in person.

    That means that it has become less common for young Americans to receive compliments from strangers or to be asked out by someone they just met in real life, experts say — but that may not be a bad thing.

    The fall of the flirt

    “People are not flirting anymore. I hear this from clients of all ages,” Eimear Draper, founder of Kindling Dating Coaching, told Business Insider.

    Draper, who works with clients between the ages of 26 and 73, said the rise of dating apps and the impact of the pandemic could be to blame.

    “For a long time, that ‘chatting to strangers’ muscle wasn’t exercised, and potentially for some, social anxiety has developed,” she said.

    The popularity of online dating has grown steadily over the past six years. According to the online data platform Statista, the online dating industry was worth $1.89 billion in 2019 and is predicted to grow to $3.15 billion in global revenue by the end of 2024.

    Dating apps are most popular in the US, where the industry made almost $1.4 billion in 2023, according to Statista.

    Maxine Williams, the founder of single events group We Met IRL, told NBC that social isolation during the pandemic prevented young people from developing the skills required to form meaningful connections.

    Gen Zers are changing the way they approach dating.

    Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

    Speaking to BI, relationship coach Railey Molinario said many Gen Zers feel “more comfortable expressing interest through texts, emojis, and social media engagement” rather than “direct, personal encounters” that can be attributed to traditional flirting.

    Young people are also less inclined to date strangers than the generations that came before them.

    A survey conducted by the Survey Center on American Life, previously cited by BI, found that 43% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 were friends with their partner before they started dating.

    In comparison, an estimated 21% of people over 65 said they were friends with their partner before getting into a relationship.

    Molinario said the lack of traditional flirting could lead to a decrease in social skills, “like reading body language, picking up on social cues, and engaging in spontaneous conversation.”

    “This can make it more difficult for young people to form deep, meaningful relationships in person,” she said.

    The dating landscape has changed for good

    Nonetheless, Molinario said the switch to digital has benefits. For example, she said those expressing a romantic interest in someone online can do so “without the immediate pressure of in-person rejection.”

    “It also provides a layer of safety, as interactions can be more easily controlled and monitored in digital spaces,” she said.

    That’s not to say that rejection doesn’t exist online. “Ghosting” — when someone abruptly cuts off communication — and “quiet quitting” — when someone does the bare minimum without officially ending the relationship — can be hurtful. Williams told NBC that the internet has created a buffer for young people when it comes to rejection.

    It’s clear there’s an appetite for the return of in-person interactions. Eventbrite reported that searches on its ticketing platform for in-person events increased by 1.5 million over the last year, according to NBC.

    Williams told the outlet that attendees at her singles events group told her they are “more open to going into events alone.”

    However, it’s worth noting that the fall of traditional flirting isn’t entirely dependent on the rise in digital dating.

    Briana Paruolo, a psychotherapist and founder of On Par Therapy NYC, told BI that traditional flirting has been replaced with a more direct and open communication style that she has witnessed both online and in person.

    “The way Gen Z approaches flirting and relationships has certainly shifted from other generations, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” she said.

    Paruolo said she works with Gen Z clients who approach dating with self-awareness, assertiveness, open communication, and intentionality. She added that young people are more open and explicit about their intentions and desires, “eliminating potential misunderstandings.”

    According to Paruolo, Gen Zers have a greater understanding of their preferences and boundaries when dating compared with other generations, which means they are more likely to form real emotional connections.

    “There is a new form of digital flirting that is also more suited to Gen Z’s communication style and preferences,” she said.

    “This generation’s approach often emphasizes an emotional connection and understanding, which can happen in real life or a digital landscape.”

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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