What is zero dating? Yes, another buzzword has hit the scene

Ghosting? Haunting? That's SO last year. Zero dating is the latest term to gain traction

illustration of women on online dating app
(Image credit: Getty Images/Annika McFarlane)

Zero dating has emerged as one of the hot buzzwords of 2022. Honestly, keeping track of this romantic-focused vocabulary list is more overwhelming than meeting a potential match. 

One minute we're caught up with the paranormal ghosting and haunting phenomena. The next, we're keeping our eyes peeled for negging culprits. Now, we have to familiarize ourselves with zero dating. Should we be taking notes? 

Remember when this used to be as simple as grabbing dinner with someone? We don't, either. Allow us to introduce you to the new zero dating movement. 

Zero dating definition: what is it?

Gen Z and Millennial daters are on the hunt for love this year, and it seems they're keen on defining every little move until said love is discovered. 

Enter "zero dating," essentially a trial run to see if your potential suitor is worth meeting for an actual date. It's a screening process, in a sense—a "pre date."

COVID's negative dating impact might be responsible for this term; now that virtual chats are the norm, they act as a precursor to what we might experience once we're out with a Hinge or Bumble match. And, consequently, the virtual zero date could potentially nix a budding romance within minutes. 

Things are changing, feelings are fleeting and finding your person is stressful, to say the least. Plus, throwing in such a turbulent environment is not without its challenges.  

"It's a different game," Jaime Bronstein (opens in new tab), relationship therapist, coach and host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio, says of dating in 2022. "But it's all about your own personal journey."

Her best piece of advice, regardless of the situation or viral vocab word making the rounds, is to remain positive and trust that what's meant for you will find its way. 

Do not get caught up in fads, what others say or your received expectation for how things should be—just do what works for you! No one is counting the number of zero dates you've been on.

Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos, new TV shows and relationship trends.  

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)