Zero Dating: What is this new dating trend?

The concept is a 2022 makeover of a phenomenon that’s been around for a while.

Zero Dating: What is this new dating trend?
© Urbanzo/Getty
Zero Dating: What is this new dating trend?

From breadcrumbing, through love- bombing to zombieing, there’s a phrase to describe the oft-times confusing and overwhelming experience that is modern dating. People’s effort to screen and vet potential love interests appear not to be yielding desired results. Enter ‘Zero Dating’.

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This is simply a way of cutting down the talking stage before deciding if someone is worth going on a date with. It is essentially a pre-first date meeting or vetting.

It may be the newest buzzphrase in the ever-evolving lexicon of contemporary dating, but clinical sexologist and relationship coach, Ness Cooper says, the concept is not necessarily new. She told Metro, people have been practising various forms of zero date since time immemorial.

Speed dating has worked on a similar concept, but rather than being at an arranged event with a host to move things along, with zero dates the individual is being their own agent in the process from arranging to deciding whether or not it’s time to move onto the next date

In these days of virtual dating, zero dates do not have to happen in-person. You can screen a potential love interest via phone, video call.

Dr Becky Spelman, a psychologist and clinical director at Private Therapy Clinic said, zero dating should be about efficiency and getting to know just about enough about a person to decide whether to go on a date with them.

Text communication leaves out so many communication cues, so it’s very difficult to make a judgment based on this. So I would try and avoid text communication at all costs and get out of that as quickly as possible. When you do match with someone online, the first message should ask if they want to have a call – and that could be a phone or video call.
Zero dating should ultimately come down to dating more effectively and saving time. Peter Dazeley


Dr Spelman says that you can use this as an opportunity to assess how you feel after the call – and then decide whether it’s worth a date. If you are left feeling anxious or uncomfortable after a call, it could be your guts telling you to back off.

But, if you like how they spoke to you, you might want to consider going on a that date with them.

Some people don’t like to do calls because it’s anxiety-provoking for them, but I would say it’s even riskier to meet a complete stranger and then end up on a date when you realise you don’t even like the person, and that you would actually prefer to leave after five minutes.

One thing to keep in mind is that zero dating should ultimately come down to dating more effectively and saving time. The point is to have the most authentic interaction with a person within a short period of time. Dr Spelman adds:

Sometimes just a 15-minute call can be enough to know whether you want to date someone or not. Then you’ve only wasted 15 minutes of your time, rather than going out, getting ready and commuting out to spend at least an hour or more with someone you don’t want to meet again.
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