In many ways, romantic anticipation is dead. We’re not spending hours to get ready for the first date. Instead, Gen-Z and millennials anticipate bills, trying to pay down student loan debt, and discovering ways to make more money, all while keeping their mental health intact. Who can even think about dating at this moment in time? If anyone is still interested in dating and reworking their schedule to juggle multiple partners, they opt for a more low-pressure approach. According to Tinder’s 2023 Future of Dating report, around 51 percent of global Tinder users ages 18 to 25 choose to make dating without the extra pressure part of their daily lives. This looks like planning dates to grab a coffee or salad with their potential partner or taking a causal stroll with them before meeting up with their girlfriends; this era of dating is called “stack dating” or “errand dating” to fit in dates whenever and wherever it works for their schedules. You may be thinking, Well, that’s not too romantic. Yes, we know, but that’s the point!
We may have been going about romance and dating all wrong previously. We should bring new romantic interests into our daily lives and not reserve them only for happy hour or candle-lit dinners. Although dating can be considered an important aspect of our lives, maybe it doesn’t have to be seen as a huge ordeal, and instead, a regular practice we participate in, similar to doing laundry or walking the dog, another item to check off on our to-do list. According to Tinder’s report, 32 percent of Gen Z Tinder users meet for dates during the work day. Does that take the fun, excitement, and glamour out of dating? Stack dating allows for more realism in our romantic lives, which can help budding partnerships. The approach can also be empowering, given it’s a proactive and not a reactive way to date; think of it as a modern-day way to speed date. Most importantly, this dating technique allows for flexibility with our schedules, taking the pressure off trying to make something work for the sake of dating, which helps us become more intentional with partnerships and connections overall. By letting their schedules influence and guide their potential relationships, some are becoming more confident and sure of who they’ll be compatible with long-term, depending on how well their suitor fits into their lives.
Although it may not seem like there’s a difference between stack dating and regular dating, it is. Errand dating or stack dating is where you fit in dates among other activities in your dating schedule, such as a breakfast date between your workday or meeting up for a quick drink before dinner with your girls. Sometimes, it can mean having multiple simple dates in a row if you have time.
It’s about time management without all the muss and fuss of prepping for the actual date (like getting dolled up or planning an entire night out, which may lead to extra anxiety). Gen-Z prioritizes easy-going dates that aren’t time-consuming and will allow you to show your most authentic self.
Even though regular dating still involves finding time for your date, it also includes a ton of prep work and sacrifice to meet up with someone for the first time, still not knowing if it’ll be worth it. Stack dating takes all that away by positioning dating as just another part of your regular day, minus the production.
However, there can be some cons to stack dating, like forgoing your lunch break to meet someone or feeling rushed throughout the date. Also, while multiple dates in a row allow you to run a comparative study of how each date went, having too many options can lead to confusion, stress, and exhaustion, which can defeat the purpose of dating in the first place.
You can make stack dating work for you by not treating it like another chore or errand you need to accomplish. Be present and engaged on your date and have respect for the other person. Although stack dating means you’re putting less pressure on the date and the result, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the interaction seriously and provide 100 percent of your energy while you’re there. Remember to show up as your authentic self, as it’s important to honor your personhood and weed out the folks who aren’t aligned with you.