Why is ‘nostalgia-stanning’ the green flag that millennial daters are looking for?

Written by Leah Sinclair

Nostalgia-stanning is a dating trend where people evaluate their matches based on the dating habits and trends of the 00s-era

When it comes to dating, there’s nothing like the power of endless conversation.

After all, having the ability to talk to your potential partner for hours on end about everything under the sun is always a good sign, especially in those early stages – and nothing unifies us more than a shared love for pop culture – particularly for us millennials.

Whether it’s being able to reference a popular meme or a shared joke from our favourite nostalgic TV shows, these references can have a surprisingly positive impact on relationships and serve as a way to explore common ground and a shared love for things from the past. According to dating app Plenty of Fish, this aspect of dating is something that’s on the rise and has been coined ‘nostalgia-stanning’.

What is nostalgia-stanning?

According to the dating app, nostalgia-stanning is a dating trend whereby people evaluate their matches based on 00s-era dating habits and trends.

Sharing the same interests and pop cultural reference points from that time period – from music to movies and television – is considered a green flag when making a match and often serves as an indicator that you’ll have things in common, shared interests or a similar sense of humour.

Plenty of Fish’s report found that 57% of singles agreed that nostalgia-stanning is a turn-on when they’re on a date with someone who gets the same references.

According to the research, 29% say music is the primary point of reference while 27% favoured movies.

“The phenomenon of nostalgia-stanning has become massively popular with young people and millennials alike,” says Darren Stanton, a behavioural and psychological expert at Slingo.

“Delving into shared connections through means of nostalgic references allows a person to establish a strong rapport with a potential partner. It helps us to build a deeper understanding of this person in the early stages of a relationship and easily establish common grounds and interests.

“There’s nothing worse than cracking a joke or making reference to something in popular culture from back in the day, only to then see your date with nothing but a blank and vacant expression on their face because they’re unsure of what you’re talking about. Such an exchange can leave you feeling deflated, bruise your ego and can result in feeling like your confidence has been knocked.”

Why are people nostalgia-stanning?

This yearning for nostalgia doesn’t just begin and end with pop culture, but it also filters through to an appreciation of the dating habits of the 00s.

The Plenty of Fish survey also revealed 39% of millennial daters said they’re still very much into talking over the phone while getting to know someone – a popular pastime that has seen a change in the age of dating apps and voice notes.

At a time when people are favouring IRL dating, it seems the 00s way of dating – which prioritises in-person interaction, phone calls and an absence of technology – is on the rise, along with an appreciation for shared experiences that pop culture allows us to explore no matter where in the world we’re based (I still remember watching the Friends finale like it was yesterday).

This also coincides with the difficult conditions we’re facing right now. From the Covid-19 pandemic to the cost of living crisis, things seem and feel harder at the moment, and a yearning for simpler times is fueling the desire for nostalgia within us.

In fact, the Plenty of Fish survey found that 67% of respondents admitted to being nostalgia-stanners because life felt easier back then.

Is nostalgia-stanning good or bad?

While constantly yearning for the past can lead you to being absent in your present, being nostalgic on occasion certainly doesn’t hurt – and if it serves as a way to connect and bring joy to your dating experiences, there’s no reason why it should be considered a bad thing.

Nostalgia-stanning can represent an opportunity to bond over shared experiences and references that can assist in building the foundations or, at the very least, help to add a playful and fun element to a date.

“Nostalgia-stanning allows people to connect over things they like,” agrees Stanton. “When a common interest, say a particular movie or period of time, is shared, it helps us validate our relationship with that partner, as it makes you believe they are just like you. 

“You begin to think they share similar values, beliefs and outlooks on life as you do. Psychologically, we tend to like people who we think are the same as ourselves – that interest or shared sense of nostalgia acts as a glue that essentially binds us together and acts as a foundation for a deeper connection to be built on.”

Image: Getty

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