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‘Hardballing’ Is the New Dating Trend Striking Singles (But Is It As Sexy As It Sounds?)

It seems that in the time it takes you to swipe left or right, a new dating trend – and accompanying term – has emerged. The latest is called “hardballing,” and (we hate to break it to you) it’s not as sexy as it sounds.

This behavior, made increasingly common by Gen Z daters, is when single people drop truth bombs right at the start of a relationship, outlining exactly what their expectations are, sometimes in brutally honest fashion. If your dating goals don’t align with theirs, well, you’re likely to get dumped.

So what are the deal-breakers daters are getting hardballed over? It could be something as simple as only wanting a casual fling, or as complicated as disagreeing on whether or not you hope to marry and how many kids you want to have someday.

“They may tell you that they are just looking for something casual, or they may tell you they are actually looking for their special someone as well,” 36-year-old sexpert Jana Hocking wrote on “It’s straight to the point and will help avoid any tricky ‘what are we’ confusion later down the track.”

But it’s a delicate dance. On the one hand, daters want to be upfront about their expectations from the get-go. If a couple doesn’t agree on what they hope to get out of a relationship, a breakup is inevitable, so why bother putting your heart on the line if you’re just going to end up in Splitsville? On the other hand, being too forward too soon can send potential partners running for the hills.

“If a conversation like that does scare them off, well then clearly, they weren’t for you anyway. Count it as a blessing,” Hocking wrote. She says in 2022, “I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone and give this dating trend a red hot crack, because it sure beats playing games.”

Come on, now. We kind of like playing games. And let’s not pretend that anyone knows what life will bring a year or more from now – people’s feelings and plans change, so rejecting someone based on dreams of a distant future might be premature. You will definitely cheat yourself out of some fun romps doing so.

We’re exhausted just (over)thinking about all this and we haven’t even gone on an actual date! Maybe we should start a new dating trend that just involves balling and we can save all the hard stuff for our mid-life crises.

Cover Photo: Erdark (Getty Images)



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