Don't get hung up on Dating Sunday

Modern dating can be likened to an obstacle course, especially over the last two years. From early pandemic days of virtual-only meetups to a lackluster hot vax summer to now fielding yet another COVID variant, singles haven’t caught a break. With a new year on the horizon, will that change?

The answer is resoundingly no, because Dating Sunday is almost here. 

Landing in the sweet spot between the winter holiday season and Valentine’s Day, Dating Sunday — typically the first Sunday of the year — is when eager singles emerge from hibernation to swipe on dating apps in droves. The term traces back to 2016, when apps took notice of the post-New Year’s Day frenzy. In 2020, Match’s chief dating expert Rachel DeAlto went so far as to call the day the “Super Bowl of dating apps.”

With this kind of marketing, it’s easy to have high expectations for Dating Sunday, which falls on Jan. 2, 2022. As a seasoned veteran of both the day and dating apps in general, however, I’m here to tell you that those hopes may not be met. You may not find the love of your life on Dating Sunday — and that’s OK.

To the apps’ credit, there are stats behind the hoopla: OkCupid typically sees a 70 percent increase in user activity on Dating Sunday. Tinder estimates that 10 percent of all January swipes occur on that date as well.

The reasoning behind it also makes sense. People may take time off dating during the holidays to focus on family, yet the time can remind us of our singleness; December is “proposal season,” after all. Plus, January is often seen as a “fresh start,” and daters may have newfound optimism to go out and find a partner. Throw in the close proximity to Valentine’s Day, and it’s totally logical that our thumbs are a-swiping. 


One day — or even a month — of swiping won’t determine what the rest of the year will be like. 

The promise of Dating Sunday ignores the societal reality we’re all facing, however. This will be the second pandemic Dating Sunday, and while many of the U.S. population is vaccinated (unlike last year), we’re also seeing a surge of the highly transmissible omicron variant

Unsurprisingly, this makes dating that much harder. Folks may want to skip out on dining indoors or meeting others in-person in the immediate future. They may also feel depressed about the state of the world, and not want to engage in light banter during such a stressful time. 

Then there’s the fact that the actual day is up for debate, at least according to one app. OkCupid said this year is a “double” Dating Sunday, both on Jan. 2 and Jan. 9. On Jan. 2, OKCupid predicts daters will see a flurry of likes, matches, and conversations. But some users will get a later start the following week, and that too will be exceptional, according to the dating app.  

Not only is there a push to participate on one day, then, but two. 

I understand why Dating Sunday falls when it does, but I believe starting out the year with it could be detrimental. If you fail to find a match on Dating Sunday, you may think it’s somehow a sign of what’s to come during this year, that 2022 is doomed to be like last year and the year before. 

This isn’t true. One day — or even a month — of swiping won’t determine what the rest of the year will be like. The most popular apps (like Tinder and Bumble) have millions of users, and they’ll be active well beyond Dating Sunday. There will be more opportunities beyond the first two Sundays of the year. Perhaps the days in between may be lucrative too! Or the days, weeks, and months afterwards.

Remember: How Dating Sunday shakes out won’t be a predictor for the rest of the year. Don’t participate if you don’t want to; you can find love another time. Those excited singles won’t vanish when Monday rolls around.


You want a potential match that puts in the effort, so you should do so too.

If you do want to put your best foot forward, however, by all means do it. On Dating Sunday, experts recommend that you complete your bio and include at least three photos of yourself. Some apps like Bumble have other fields you can fill out, like interests. You want a potential match that puts in the effort, so you should do so too.

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir in terms of managing expectations. Throughout the pandemic and even before, dating wasn’t for the faint of heart. Know, however, that Dating Sunday is just another obstacle on the course to finding a match. 

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