A Weird Year of Pandemic Dating, as Told by Tinder’s 2020 Year in Swipe Report

From pandemic pickup lines to "Tiger King" discourse, this is what dating looked like in 2020

Tinder's top emojis of the year tell us everything we need to know about 2020.

It was a sad, hard year, but we didn’t let that get in the way of our swiping habits. Quite the opposite, in fact. With real-life interactions stalled amid the pandemic, online dating not only survived, but thrived in 2020. As homebound singles increasingly turned to dating apps out of boredom and/or sheer desperation for human contact, apps got a front-row seat to love in pandemic times, and Tinder captured it all.

The platform that launched the app-dating boom back in 2012 just released its annual Year in Swipe report, revealing all the ways the various trends and trials of 2020 spilled over into our dating lives this year. From pandemic pickup lines to Carole Baskin shoutouts, this was dating in 2020 as told by Tinder.

Swiping was up, big time

We may have all been busy navigating a Russian nesting doll of global crises this year, but we still found plenty of time to swipe our little hearts out. According to Tinder, both messaging and swiping on the app were up double digits by the end of the year compared to the distant pre-pandemic days of February.

“In an unprecedented year, when faced with new obstacles, Tinder
members adapted and got creative about how they connected,” reads the release. With IRL interaction off the table for most, dating apps became a lifeline for many singles, with Tinder proving an “an essential survival tool” for its largely Gen-Z user base.

Pandemic talk became flirting fodder

The pandemic was one thing we all had in common this year, which made it easy (if almost immediately overplayed) fodder for ice-breakers and pickup lines.

According to Tinder, pandemic pickup lines mentioning “quarantine & chill,” hand washing, and other COVID-19 talking points took over the platform in March, while mask talk was up nearly 10 times compared to 2019 — a much simpler time when most people would have had no reason to be talking about masks at all, much less flirting about them.

Things got political

Last year, Tinder’s 2019 year in swipe review found the app’s Gen Z users weren’t afraid to mix love and politics, and that emphasis on social activism didn’t fade at all in 2020.

According to this year’s report, politics were a hotter topic than ever before, with many users laying down political deal-breakers right in their bios. Mentions of Black Lives Matter on the platform were up 55 times amid the summer’s great racial reckoning, while talk of voting doubled as the nation prepared for the 2020 election.

The trends that made 2020

Remember the Tiger King phase of the pandemic? Tinder does — along with just about every other major trend that wormed its way into the collective consciousness this year.

Carole Baskin debates, WAP discourse, and Animal Crossing all had their time in the Tinder spotlight this year as we desperately clung to pop culture pan flashes and the blissful mindlessness of app-dating to distract us from the dull, dark reality of everyday life in 2020.

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