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Getting to know each other around a game of laser tag, during a hike or during an exhibition visit: this is the principle of “hobby dates”, essentially spicing up your appointments with an activity off the beaten track , at least for a date. .

Identified as one of the major dating trends by US dating app Bumble, hobby dating has gained momentum since the pandemic.

Sabrina Marzaro is a regular user of dating apps. His first experience with them dates back more than six years. But “basic” meetings in a bar or restaurant are not for her.

The 30-year-old bachelor prefers to suggest a jogging session or go see a stand-up comedy act for a potential date.

“I’m lucky to meet people who have the same sense of adventure as me. During one of my first appointments, I suggested that she go tree climbing in a tree climbing park. My date said yes, but only on the condition that I try camping for the first time in my life! she tells us.

And Sabrina is not the only one to prefer dating. This method of dating is certainly not new, but it has developed with the pandemic. The dating app Bumble even identifies it as one of the top dating trends for the year 2022.

“Before the pandemic, the norm was to meet in a bar or a cafe. But the constantly changing health situation for two years is forcing single people to adapt and therefore to be a little more creative.

Now it seems like the norm is to want to share your interests and passions on the first date,” Naomi Walkland, VP of Bumble Europe, told ETX Daily Up.

Flirting while hiking or visiting a museum

This is a trend that can be observed in several countries, but particular interests or “hobbies” can vary from one country to another.

According to several surveys conducted by Bumble, French singles are particularly fond of outdoor activities, such as hiking or running.

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“This is explained by the fact that we are turning more and more towards nature after the periods of confinement that we have experienced. This is a trend we have seen across Europe, but activities vary from country to country, for example skiing, swimming or cycling are more popular in other countries,” comments Naomi Walkland.

In the experience of Sabrina Marzaro – who grew up in the United States and lived in New York for a few years before moving to Paris – French people are more likely than Americans to meet around cultural activities such as museum visits.

“In France, interests are largely cultural: cooking, art, photography and museums are among the most popular, while music and festivals are more popular in other countries,” confirms Naomi Walkland.

“Icebreaker”

Although “hobby dating” consists of experiences centered on hobbies and the desire to have fun, this does not prevent them from being conducive to deeper discussions.

For Sabrina Manzaro, a hobby date is actually a great way to break the ice: “We feel more comfortable opening up to each other on more serious subjects.

I also think these experiences help reveal different sides of our personalities. The choice of activity already says a lot about the person: for example, if he has a sense of adventure or if he has kept something of his child’s soul.

Some people may see casual dating as a way to inject spontaneity into their date, to counterbalance the “form” aspect of dating apps.

“One day I asked my date to organize a surprise activity for me, so I had no idea where he was going to take me. Just in case, I put on a cocktail dress and heels, assuming we’d probably be going to a restaurant or a bar. But I was wrong, since he took me to Disneyland! Sabrina recalls with a burst of laughter.

But it is precisely this element of the unexpected that seduces the young woman. “One of the great pleasures of hobby dates is being able to learn and discover new things, thanks to each person’s interests.

I tried astronomy, I tried new sports. It takes more effort and organization, but it’s worth it because you’re creating experiences together. Great memories are created.

The experience of going on these hobby dates even inspired her to write an illustrated book. Entitled Slip for Prince Charmingthe book tells the story of a girl looking for love in Paris, with stories drawn from the Italian-American’s own adventures.

“It’s a book about the quest for love, but also about self-love and the pleasure one takes from traveling,” says Marzaro.