The Match Lab

Are There Different Types of Casual Dating?


Dating has evolved over the years. A generation ago, singles seeking romance might hang out in busy locations – bars, clubs, or social settings – keeping an eye out for potential candidates. Blind dates could involve meeting somewhere prominent, say, by a town clock, the respective parties identifying themselves with some pre-planned signal. “I’ll be carrying a bunch of roses!” Nowadays, the dating landscape has altered completely, not least due to the influence of the digital world. People are still dating casually by heading off to those trendy pubs or nightclubs to seek ‘one-night stands.’ But more and more singles are simply downloading matchmaking apps to their smartphones, then flirting with prospective partners without even having to leave the house. If you’re single and keen on arranging casual hookups nearby, you might be surprised by the many available options.

Casual Dating vs Committed Relationships

Firstly, are you aware of the differences between dating that might be termed ‘casual’ and the type of relationship which would be described as committed? Casual flings and hookups are never intended to be long-lasting, while the alternative scenario often leads to marriage, families, and so on. However, some casual dating involves regular partners, while relaxed get-togethers often lead to something more intense. For those singles who’ve ever asked the question, ‘Where would be the best place to find a hookup near me?’ the answer frequently lies at their fingertips, with the increasing availability of platforms designed to make it easy for people to introduce themselves. Discreet communication channels are conducive to arranging intimate liaisons on a casual basis. But these sites also provide tools aimed at establishing compatibility for anyone searching for their soulmate. There are key differences between casual and committed relationships. Casual usually equates to having fun and moving on, a lifestyle people choose for many reasons. Some don’t feel ready to commit; they’re too busy studying or working to be tied down. Others crave the excitement of fresh experiences every weekend. For many singles, casual encounters are the equivalent of ‘window shopping.’ All along they’re preparing for ‘the real thing.’ Regardless of whether casual dating is intended to be regular or temporary, there are many categories.

Common Types of Casual Relationships

Friends with benefits

This is less a common type of casual dating and more the plot of numerous sitcoms! Think Chandler and Monica getting together in the long-running TV series Friends, or one movie where this subject was the main storyline – it was even called Friends with Benefits – starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Platonic friends can cross a line. There are so many complex areas of relationships, and people typically pick up conflicting signals. You might have a strong appreciation of what gift-giving signifies. But can this ever imply stronger emotions? This can be such a grey area. The key to managing this type of partnership is being adult about it. If you enjoy getting physical, just make sure you can both handle returning to the friend zone!


This is a hugely popular heading. Millennials and Gen Zers might not be looking for ‘the one,’ merely ‘the one for tonight,’ and will have accepted this is romance with a ‘sell by’ date. In many cases, the respective individuals part company without even bothering to exchange names. If love is sometimes likened to a drug, these hookups are a quick shot knocked back at the bar, a cocktail going straight to your head for instant joy. It’s all about physical attraction, with the hormones racing through your bloodstream determining how events unfold.

One-night stands

In many respects, a synonym of the above, the main difference is that one-nighters sometimes do have the occasional string attached. The David Bowie lyric, ‘Wham-bam, thank-you, mam’ might have been penned for either, but with one-night stands, the passion tends to be more long-lasting. Successful get-togethers might lead to further liaisons. Rather than simply disappearing into the sunset, there could be an inclination to at least exchange contact details.

Open relationships

This is the classic example of someone wanting their cake and eating it, too! In many relationships, when one of the parties has an affair, trust will collapse, and their time together might draw to a close. But with open relationships, going astray is accepted as part of the arrangement. The couple have reached a mature decision – they can feel free to have as many casual flings as they wish as long as they always reunite. If they can eradicate jealousy from their emotions, this can work well.

Booty calls

Finally, forget stoking the flames of passion over time or engaging in flirty conversations. Some prefer this direct approach. A phone call or text is all it takes to summon a sexual partner. Casual dating in its purest form. Just double-check you’re texting the correct number!

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