Could Date Stacking Improve Your Love Life?
You'd need some stamina...
Picture the scene: you’re on a date with someone you quite like. You’re getting on well. They’re making you laugh and, most importantly, they look like their dating profile. Suddenly, the clock chimes 7pm and you’re out of there – but not because you’re dying to leave, because you’ve got another date lined up tonight… And another date after that.
No, you’re not losing your mind, you’re date stacking – because you are super invested in finding The One, and not wasting your own time in the process.
Date stacking is the latest dating trend to take TikTok by storm, which sees singletons meticulously plan multiple dates per day in a bid to meet as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Think speed dating, but with a twist. At 2pm you’re on a coffee date with Ellen. By 4pm you’re playing mini golf with Chad. By the time 8pm rolls around you’re enjoying a cocktail with Marcel at a rooftop bar.
When it comes to date stacking, the possibilities are endless. You could have a date in a bar followed by a sober meet up. You could top off the evening with dinner for two or a trip to the cinema. You could go for a pint with all three of your suitors and actively compare everyone’s performance and engagement via an Excel sheet afterwards. Or you could be normal, and not do that at all.
Date stacking is particularly popular with Gen-Z, ie; people who have more stamina and general gumption than I currently do when it comes to romance. The trend initially went viral after a woman named Taylor shared a TikTok documenting her ‘back to back dates’ in Brooklyn. Shot over the course of one Friday evening (I know), the woman booked in three dates for one hour slots each.
The first guy worked in finance, the second guy was a little shorter than anticipated, and the third guy was a Scorpio (but was “giving not Scorpio”, which says a lot). The evening ended with Taylor recounting an awkward kiss from guy three, walking home alone, and declaring that she didn’t regret a thing. Get it girl, you’re a more determined woman than I.
Talia Koren is a seasoned date stacker. The podcaster and blogger (@dating.intentionally) generally stacks two dates per day, mainly on weekends. The odd time she’ll organise three, but says that can be exhausting. “The key is keeping the dates short,” she says. “I’d have one at 2pm for coffee and/or a walk, then another at 6pm or later for drinks. I usually stack first or second dates. Beyond that, it gets more complicated. Stacking a few first dates on a weekend is way easier!”
Date stackers tend to be keenly interested in boundaries. Each date has their allotted time slot, and chances are, that time will be kept. If you (like me) are a person who often finds themselves extending less-than-exciting first dates to beyond the five drink limit despite the fact that you’re not overly committed to being there, then date stacking may actually be quite helpful.
Plus, you’re meeting more people in a shorter space of time, so chances are you’re going to meet someone you really like a lot sooner… Right? Talia says yes.”It’s not about always looking for a better match or stronger connection – it’s about knowing what you want and stopping when you find it,” she says. “This is the approach people take when they’re not date stacking, but it can be easily applied to date stacking when you keep your needs and wants front and centre. It’s way more efficient than doing one date at a time with one person.”
According to a 2019 study by Match, Millennials are going on fewer dates due to how expensive they are… and considering the cost of living crisis, it makes sense that this trend has continued into 2023. Gen-Z, however, have been quite adept at getting creative with their dates and taking more romantic excursions that won’t break the bank like hikes, home-cooked meals, and mini-golf. It’s no surprise then that the younger generation would seemingly be more open to date stacking, when each date doesn’t have to cost a bomb.
Plus, they’re getting the added benefit of using their time efficiently. How many times have you cleared your schedule for a date that seems promising, only to discover that you’d have been better off sitting at home catching up on Love Island with a Deliveroo en route?
TikTok dating and relationships expert Alexis Germany Fox says date stacking can reduce the pain of the dreaded unfulfilling first date. After all, chances are not all of your dates that day are going to be a dud. Probably. “Sometimes, first dates can almost feel like a waste of time,” she says on TikTok. “You’re going to get there and it’s going to be awkward and you don’t feel a connection and you think ‘I could’ve just stayed at home.’ But if we stay at home, we’re not meeting anyone.”
She goes on: “I recommend only doing this for first dates when there’s no skin in the game. You have an easy out if the date isn’t the best, and you do have other plans so it’s very authentic when you’re like ‘I’ve got to go.’”
Sure, date stacking might give you more options in a shorter space of time, but isn’t it overwhelming, exhausting, and just generally a bit much? And could it even wreak havoc on your energy levels if you do it too often?
Talia says the key is to avoid planning too many dates at once – and to remember that you shouldn’t be putting pressure on your romantic life, whether you’re dating stacking or not. “The point of a first date is to see if you want a second date,” she says. “If you go into it hyperfocused on seeing if they’re The One you’ll be very emotionally and mentally drained. See if you can easily talk to them for 45 minutes over a coffee or a drink and then decide if you want to do round 2!”
So does date stacking have its merits? Sure, of course. Will I be trying it anytime soon? Probably not.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of STELLAR Magazine.
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