Guardrailing Is The Dating Trend Here To Protect Your Peace

Gone are the days when you’d put up with all kinds of nonsense from prospective partners in the dating world. There was a time when you dealt with inconsistency, hot and cold behavior, and an inability to commit. You thought everyone deserved the benefit of the doubt, and most of all, you didn’t want to be alone. However, you’ve learned from your mistakes and boosted your self-worth. These days, it’s all about guardrailing as you look for love. This dating trend is so refreshing, you wonder why you ever waited so long to try it.

What is the guardrailing dating trend all about?

Coined by the dating app Bumble, guardrailing is all about protecting your peace in dating. It’s all about putting healthy boundaries and expectations in place in order to avoid wasting your time or letting anyone who has bad juju mess up your vibe. You have better things to do and there are people out there who take love and dating as seriously as you, so you have no time for anything less.

“The trends we’re predicting for 2023 say a lot about how single people feel after a tumultuous year,” explains Lucille McCart, Bumble’s communications director. “Guardrailing is all about setting boundaries and protecting our energy. “This has forced us all to prioritize our boundaries and more than half have established more boundaries over the last year. This includes being clearer about our emotional needs and boundaries, being more thoughtful and intentional about how we put ourselves out there, and not overcommitting socially.”

Sounds like something we can all get behind.

Why it’s picking up steam in 2023

To be honest, guardrailing is something we should have been doing for a long time. So, why now? After the COVID-19 pandemic, people gained a whole new perspective on life and what they want in theirs. Dealing with time wasters, liars, cheaters, and players has never been worth it. However, these days, they’re not even worth entertaining.

The American Psychological Association reports that 87% of U.S. adults no longer find shame in having mental health issues. Plus, thanks to the pandemic, 70% of people have begun to practice self-care, with nearly 40% of adults doing meditation at least once a week. With everyone developing a great compassion for themselves and prioritizing wellness, it’s no wonder we’re changing our approach. We value the lives we have so much more these days, so letting things and people into it who don’t show us respect just isn’t worth it.

How you can practice this in your own life

  1. Be open about what you’re looking for upfront. While you may be tempted to downplay your desire for a serious relationship or hesitate to mention that you’d like to get married and have kids in the near future, don’t. This topic will eventually come up and you’ll still feel the same about it. Guardrailing is a lot about self-preservation, and part of that is in your own hands. By being honest from the beginning, you can weed out a lot of people who aren’t right for you.
  2. Communicate your needs, desires, and expectations clearly. When you’re dating someone, there are certain things you want and need from a partner. Don’t shy away from voicing those things. After all, your partner can’t meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are. Also, you don’t want to get into a miserable relationship because you never communicated with your partner.
  3. Don’t engage in pettiness or game playing. It can be tempting at times to stoop to the level of the people who screw us over, but that’s not going to help anything. If you want to take part in guardrailing, you have to rise above the BS because you are above it. You don’t need revenge on someone who hurt you or to ruin their life because they hurt you. You’re too good for that.
  4. Don’t give second, third, or fourth chances. Your kind heart and your ability to see the best in people is commendable. However, don’t let it make you a fool. If people mess up, they’re out. If they wanted to keep the plans you made, get in touch when they said they would, or concentrate only on dating you and then they don’t, they’re not on your level.
  5. Respond based on people’s actions rather than their words. Words are cheap and they come far too easily for many people. However, they mean nothing if not backed up by actions. If they say all the right things but act like they couldn’t care less, believe what they do rather than what they say. You’ll save so much time and energy this way.
  6. Prioritize self-care as much as dating. Finding love is important, of course. However, you can’t be a good partner if you’re not doing well in your own skin. Take time to do the things that make you feel fulfilled, happy, and at peace. Maybe it’s taking a bath every night, journaling, going for a long run, whatever. Make sure you’re good with you, because you’re important.
  7. Let go of anything that doesn’t serve you. That’s not to say that you should be the center of anyone’s world. That’s not what guardrailing is about. Instead, it’s making sure the people you let into your life are offering you as much as you are to them. If they’re not on the same page or are simply unable to give you what you want or need, it’s okay to let go. In fact, it’s necessary.
  8. Be honest with yourself and listen to your gut. At the end of the day, your gut knows what’s up. Fighting against it is only going to work against you in the end. If something doesn’t feel right or you realize you’re ignoring red flags, be honest with yourself about it. Then, act accordingly. Your intuition will never lead you astray, so make sure you’re listening to it.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill