Hardballing: A New Dating Trend

Have you heard of hardballing? If you like to meet people through dating apps, but you're tired of being disappointed, this information might be of interest to you.
Hardballing: A New Dating Trend
Brigida Higueras Madsen

Written and verified by the psychologist Brigida Higueras Madsen.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

The era of new technologies has progressively changed the ways in which we relate to each other. For example, in the field of love, in just a few years, we’ve normalized the fact of looking for a partner digitally. Indeed, dating apps are on the rise and their use is already widespread.

This phenomenon is undoubtedly here to stay and the pandemic has only served to consolidate the trend. Today, the first step to hooking up with someone is often sitting behind a screen. Before, there was no choice but to present yourself face to face, which for most meant building up courage before taking the first step. However, now, it’s possible to meet as many new people as you have time for and to arrange dates with ease.

The screens clearly disinhibit us. The initial feeling of anonymity, not having to look each other in the eye, or be rejected in person has only added more fans to this new way of flirting. That said, as humans, we need physical contact.

“As of September 2019, Tinder reported an audience reach of 7.86 million users in the United States, making it the most popular online dating platform.”


Girl on Tinder, depicting hardballing.
​​Society is increasingly turning to dating apps and social media. However people don’t want a digital partner, but a flesh and blood one.


After two years in which the possibility of meeting people was basically reduced to the confines of the online world, hardballing was born. It was promoted by Generation Z or zillennials (born in the late 90s) in the US.

Hardballing is based on the idea of ​​being honest and clear about what we expect and seek in a relationship. In addition, it proposes that this practice be carried out from the very first dates or even before meeting.

Nevertheless, it’s not all positive. Indeed, it’s as easy for people to appear in your life as for them to disappear from one day to the next. Without a doubt, flirting is still complicated. Many of those who’ve gone through the ordeal of dating through dating apps know this all too well.

On the other hand, it certainly makes life easier to learn more about the type of relationship the other person is looking for before dating them.

On the minus side, one of the most unpleasant experiences extremely common among dating app users is ghosting. This technique consists of ending an emotional relationship by cutting off all contact with the person in question, and without giving any explanation. It avoids confrontation and the obligation to give reasons for the breakup. This isn’t the only negative aspect of the online dating world. There’s also breadcrumbing.


In dating apps, usually the time span from when you contact someone you like until you meet in person is really short. Often it’s done impulsively as if it were just another product for immediate consumption. The time that used to be dedicated to flirting and seduction seems to have disappeared forever.

Lakshmi Rengarajan suggests something really interesting about the design of dating apps. He claims that”Dating apps are designed around how we shop, not how we connect.”

Perhaps that’s the reason why the trend of hardballing is triumphing. It promotes greater transparency and increases the user’s sense of control, and they don’t have to blindly go forward into unknown territory.

Couple talking in love
Being honest about what’s expected in a relationship provides calm and reassurance.

How to be a hardballer

If you’re looking for a partner, you can be a hardballer by making it clear in your profile what you’re looking for. You can state whether you want a casual or stable relationship. Honesty is the name of the game.

If you find it awkward to be so direct right from the start, think about how much time and awkwardness you could save yourself by being consistent with your messages. After all, it’s nothing more than a little initial honesty and clarification but it’ll avoid any future misunderstandings.

The person who doesn’t answer your message or backs down isn’t who you’re looking for, so why spend more time on them or worry yourself about it?

As a matter of fact, hardballing is a really useful method to avoid disappointment. That said, let’s not lose sight of the fact that no matter how much you clarify your intentions beforehand, people can change from one moment to another. Make sure you choose someone who’s consistent.

At the end of the day, even if you have really clear ideas, the emotions that another person provokes in you is something that you can’t control. Therefore, as well as being honest, you should also try and be flexible when it comes to flirting.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the entire hardballing movement is the importance of emotional responsibility when looking for a partner. When it’s successful, it certainly saves some unnecessary disappointment and heartache.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Álvarez González, F. J. (2018). El amor en los tiempos modernos.
  • Cerezo, P. (2016). La Generación Z y la información. Revista de estudios de juventud, (114), 95-109.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.