Dating Dictionary: what the hell is ‘manifest-dating’?

Written by Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

Welcome to Dating Dictionary, Stylist’s new series unpicking the latest dating trends and terminology everyone’s talking about. This week, we’re exploring the world of ‘manifest-dating’. 

Name: manifest-dating

Meaning: what it says on the tin. Unlike other dating trends, ‘manifest-dating’ is less to do with the specifics of the dates you’re going on and more to do with your mindset while dating – kind of like a positive version of the whole ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ break-up line. And so, in the same way that people talk about manifesting a dream job or opportunity, manifest-dating is all about attracting the partner, dates and relationship you want.

Origin: like many things nowadays, we’ve got TikTok to thank for this little gem. The product of 2020’s manifestation era, ‘manifest-dating’ has found its home on the platform, where you’ll find hundreds of videos explaining the ins and outs of the concept.  

Now I’m intrigued. Tell me more! Some of the videos are more literal than others – there are guides on how to manifest someone texting you back, for example – but they have the same underlying message: that knowing what you want and believing it will happen is a recipe for success. Just recently, a survey of 800 daters from the dating app Badoo found that 63% were considering trying manifest-dating to help them find exactly what they’re looking for.

So, it’s about being more proactive? Not exactly. Instead of spending evenings swiping endlessly, manifest-dating is more about identifying the type of person you’re interested in (for example, someone who loves a Sunday roast just as much as you, enjoys spending time with family or someone who is particularly career-orientated and passionate about what they do), imagining they’re out there waiting for you, and then keeping that image front and centre in your mind as you date. 

Almost like a mental vision board. Sure. But remember, it’s not about envisioning one ‘perfect person’.

But I’d already narrowed my options down to Ryan Gosling and Idris Elba. Even if manifest-dating was about picking one person, both of those people are married.

A woman can’t dream? We’re getting off-topic.

Fine. So how exactly do you manifest-date? The key to manifest-dating is having a general idea about what you’re looking for – the kind of qualities and values you’d like to see in your future partner. 

Cool. From there, all you need to do is adopt a positive mindset and go on dates with that vision of what you’re looking for in mind.

And then we all live happily ever after. That sarcastic energy isn’t welcome here – we’re trying to be positive, remember?

I thought we’d all had enough of toxic positivity. 100% – and just because you’re trying to approach dating with a positive, optimistic mindset, doesn’t mean you have to feel good about it all the time. In fact, many people turn to manifest-dating because they’re finding dating tough, and focusing on what they want (plus being open to new experiences) can simply make the whole process feel fun again.  

One last question – can manifest-dating ever go… wrong? Not really. After all, it’s not some magic ritual or supernatural ceremony – it’s just picturing what you want and being open to it coming true.

Great. I’m ready. OK, so what quality is top of your mental vision board?

Someone who never uses the phrase ‘manifest-dating’. Fair enough. 

Images: Getty

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