Anecdating: The Trend Infusing Joy Into Even The Worst Dates

We've all been there: you're on a first date with a really cute person, and you've been really looking forward to this outing all week, but you're nervous. You stumble over your words, your hair falls out of place, and then as you're reaching for your glass of vino, you accidentally tip it all over their pants. But hark! They too, are nervous. So, as they get up to clean their pants in the bathroom, they trip on the tablecloth and fall flat on their face in the restaurant. You both could #facepalm, admit this bad date has gone completely sour, and try to make a discreet escape ... or you could take comfort that you are experiencing what dating app Badoo calls one of the hottest dating trends of 2023: anecdating. 


In 2020, one Twitter user defined anecdating as "when you go on a lot of first dates that go so amazingly sideways that your friends ask you to repeat the stories for years," which is certainly true. In fact, Badoo polled its app users and found that 65% of daters loved the idea of mining their bad dates for incredible stories to regale their besties with. It's not an anecdote, it's an anecdote, and it's a way to remind yourself that there is still joy in even the most bonkers or sideways dates. 

Anecdating removes the pressure of expectations

Anecdating is a great way to embrace the unknown, shed your expectations, and just enjoy your dating life for what it is rather than try to steer your dates into what you want them to be. "If you're going to date, you've got to stay optimistic and go into each date with an open mind," psychotherapist and author Rachel Sussman told Refinery29. Agreeing with Sussman is dating and relationship coach Kate Mansfield via Badoo, saying this is the ethos of anecdating. "By going into a date with an open mind, you'll feel more relaxed and be able to better enjoy the moment, rather than get caught up in any expectations," Mansfield told Badoo. 


It turns out that in these post-pandemic times, more daters are looking forward to dates without expectations. Badoo's data survey found that 73% of polled users embraced the no-goal-oriented dating trend. Mansfield also spoke with Metro and revealed, "It seems that since the pandemic, people aren't taking themselves or life too seriously — they're more open for adventure, putting themselves out there and exploring connections."

So you've had the wacky date, laughed about it in your besties What's App group, and have the bumper sticker. Does that mean you should abandon your relationship goals?

Anecdating helps you achieve your relationship goals

We know we should always strive for what we want in this world, including the romantic partner we want — nay, deserve. However, when embracing anecdating, you might feel you're giving up on your relationship goals for the idea of just having a laugh. Not true, says dating and relationship coach Kate Mansfield. In fact, she suggests that if you keep an open mind, you might find that the very person you were joking about with your friends is actually the person you want to see again. 


"It all depends on the situation," Mansfield told Metro, "but if you do like them and want to explore the connection further then maybe try doing a different activity to the first date and see how you feel." Mansfield also believes your long-term relationship goals aren't mutually exclusive to enjoying dating without "attachment to the outcome." It should inform how you date going forward. "It is also important to remember that you can always learn from a date – dating is about the anecdotes and memorable experiences that come with it, and you'll find you look back fondly on awkward moments, whether a connection progresses or not."

To that end, we love harnessing the idea of an anecdating reality dating TV show one Twitter user suggested called "Anecdate." "The two parties will tell each other their best story. And then they can decide whether they want to be with this person ... You're welcome."


Honestly, thank you!