Forget casual hookups: We're living in the era of 'hesidating' and 'fear of dating again'

Business Insider US
Singles are apprehension towards dating after the pandemic.
Stock-eye/Getty Images
  • Dating experts say the pandemic has led to a rise in "hesidating" and "FODA" — fear of dating again.
  • Some people are worried about their rusty social skills and a date's Covid-related social comfort levels.
  • To overcome their dating anxieties, some people are pre-screening potential dates in video meet-ups
  • For more stories go to

Pandemic restrictions are slowly being lifted across the globe, but many singles are still unwilling to rush into a relationship.

That's according to dating experts who said that "hesidating" and "FODA" — fear of dating again — have been on the rise in the past two years. Such apprehension comes from lingering Covid-19 trauma and concerns over different social-comfort levels, Rachel Dealto, the chief dating expert at, told Mashable last March.  

People who experience hesidating are usually indifferent towards dating, while those with FODA view dating as terrifying, Dr. Quratulain Zaidi, a clinical psychologist, told the South China Morning Post in May. 

When it comes to FODA, people are worried about their rusty social skills and not knowing what to talk about, Logan Ury, the director of relationship science for dating app Hinge, told The New York Times in June. Zaidi said hesidating is a common protective mechanism that people turn to to cope with stress, per the SCMP. 

Maria Sullivan, the vice president of, agrees with Zaidi's perspective when it comes to hesidating. 

"For many hesidaters, the idea of a long-term relationship with someone who isn't a true match is overwhelming and scary, as coming out of Covid-19, nobody wants to lose even more time," Sullivan told InStyle in April.

People don't want to waste more time and get into a long-term relationship with someone who isn't a true match.
Urbazon/Getty Images

Zaidi told the SCMP that one of the ways to get past hesidating is to ask yourself if you're really ready for a meaningful relationship. But for some people, video screeners have proven to be a lower effort solution to the anxiety of going on a first date. In June, Jake Bunger, 27, told The New York Times that he worked around his dating anxiety by using FaceTime to gauge if he and his dates are a good match. 

Bunger's method worked out well for him, and he has since connected with someone in person after two FaceTime dates. "We were super honest off the bat and told each other we might be a little socially awkward," he told The Times.

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo