For many during the pandemic, the isolation provided time to reflect on what we had, perhaps what we were taking for granted, and what we want for the future.
And all this reflection had a direct impact on singles and their dating goals.
One trend that has emerged in the post-Covid world is “Hardballing”, which is the practice of setting relationship expectations with a person, usually before you even meet.
As the name indicates, it’s a no-nonsense approach to communicating your needs before you invest the time and energy into someone.
Originally coined by Logan Ury, Director of Relationship Science at Hinge, she explains it this way – “A lot of what hardballing is is being upfront about what you want, and then asking the other person what they want, and hoping that you want the same thing…when two people actually say what they need to say it’s so much more powerful than making assumptions,”
And that really gets to the heart of Hardballing’s value – it removes the vagueness from dating and forces both people to “put their cards on the table”.
It also eliminates one of the major complaints about dating – being misled.
If we can remove some of the uncertainty in dating, isn’t that a good thing?
“How” to hardball is not clear-cut. For instance, when should one do it?
According to Levy, it’s only after you figure out what you want in a relationship – “Ask yourself, what’s going on for me right now? Do I want to be in a relationship? Am I looking for something fun? Do I have the time and energy to invest in a long-term partnership?”
Only then can you have an honest conversation with someone else.
Hardballing is not about making demands. As Levy puts it, it’s about “reaching a level of commitment that works for both people (or cutting your losses while you’re ahead).”
What do people hardball about?
Whether they’re looking for a serious vs. a casual relationship.
Whether they’re seeking marriage.
Do they want children?
Hardballing may not be for everyone. After all, it’s mostly a Generation-Z creation and right now it’s more common for young adults in their mid-20’s.
But it’s instructive for those over 40 too. If you’ve been married before and/or have kids, there may be less to “hardball” about but it certainly presents an opportunity to gain more clarity in your dating life.
And who doesn’t want that?