Tired of the uncertainty of dating? ‘Fast-forwarding’ could be the answer

Written by Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

This new dating trend is all about getting to the point. Fast.

Name: Fast-forwarding

Meaning: Dating, but without all the faff. Fast-forwarding is all about looking ahead to the future and figuring out whether the person you’re seeing fits your plans. If they do? Great. If they don’t? It’s time to wave goodbye. If there’s one thing fast-forwarding is not about, it’s wasting time.

Origin: Fast-forwarding has been around for a while now (in fact, there are blog posts about the term dating back to 2010), but it resurfaced earlier this year after appearing on Bumble’s 2022 dating trends list. And now, as we head into so-called cuffing season, it’s becoming a way for people to work out a potential partner’s true intentions before they invest too much time or effort. Smart, right? 

OK, so we’re moving at 2x speed – but what does fast-forwarding actually involve? In a nutshell, fast-forwarding is the complete opposite of keeping things casual. Forget the days when first dates consisted of small-talk and flirtatious banter; fast-forwarding is all about asking the important questions, and deciding whether or not to pursue someone based on how well their intentions match up with yours.

Wait, what kind of questions are we talking about? I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. For example, some people might want to ask about the kind of relationship someone is looking for, while others might want to question where the person they’re dating sees themselves in five years’ time.

What you just described sounds exactly like a job interview. Hmm, maybe. But it’s not necessarily designed to be a one-way thing. The other person isn’t supposed to feel like they’re being interrogated (dating is supposed to be fun, after all); instead, fast-forwarding is an opportunity for both parties to lay everything out from the beginning, so no one gets any funny surprises.  

They do say communication is key for a good relationship. Exactly. Well done – you’re finally getting a grasp on this relationship thing!

I’d appreciate less of the sarcasm, please. Sorry… 

So, I understand the idea behind fast-forwarding, but doesn’t it make dating a little… boring? I guess it depends on where you’re coming from. Some people might enjoy the uncertainty and ‘not knowing’ that comes with the start of a relationship, but for those who want to know where things could be headed, fast-forwarding provides an opportunity to get things straight. You could also argue that laying everything out on the table creates more room for fun, because it helps the both of you feel more comfortable.  

Right – but how far are we going with these questions? What do you mean?

Well, if someone told me all about their imaginary wedding plans on the first date, I might be a teensy bit freaked out. That makes sense – and while fast-forwarding may seem like an intense approach at first, it’s not supposed to be that intense.

Cool. But what about those of us who don’t know what we want just yet? You can just say that! At the end of the day, all fast-forwarding really means is laying your cards out – and if your cards say you’re feeling a bit confused, that’s OK.

OK, I think I’ve got my head wrapped around this whole fast-forwarding thing. Amazing. So, what kind of questions would be on your list?

Well, first things first, I’ve got to make sure they’re on my wavelength. And how do you plan on doing that?

There’s only one question that’ll work: whether or not they think it’s suitable to play Christmas music in November. And what kind of answer are you looking for?

The only right answer. Yes.  

Image: Getty

Image Design: Amber Sinclair

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