12 Typical 1990s Dating Habits That Disappeared Over the Last Three Decades

Written By Wise Healthy n Wealthy

In the age of swiping left and right on dating apps, are you yearning for the simplicity of ’90s dating? Well, you’re not alone. Hop on the wave of nostalgia as Reddit users reminisce about 12 charming aspects of ’90s dating that have become a lost art:

12. Writing Notes to Your Crush

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If you liked someone at school back in the 90s, you couldn’t just tell them in a discrete text that you could delete all evidence of straight after. No, you did it the old fashioned way: slipping them a crumpled up note with your feelings written on it. Seeing how they’d respond was nerve-wracking. Getting one back was the best.

11. Making People Mixtapes

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Remember the days of mixtapes? You’d spend hours finding a bunch of songs you thought your crush would like, then use a cassette deck to create a unique mixtape for them. By the end of the decade, you might burn them onto a CD instead, but the result was the same: a cute and thoughtful gift that always went down well.

10. You Discovered Everything on the Date

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People these days take for granted how much you can find out about someone before going on a date with them. There’s all the info in their Tinder profile, for one thing. But then you can check their social media profiles, too, or Google them to see what comes up. In the 90s, you only knew what you knew already, then found out everything else on the date itself…by actually talking to them.

9. You Had to Pluck Up the Courage to Ask

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Asking people out is a bazillion times easier these days. You can do it at home in your underwear on your mobile instead of having to approach someone in real life and try to make an actual good first impression. Back in the 90s, there wasn’t really any other choice but to actually ask people out to their face…and risk the humiliation of being rejected in public. Of course, it was similar if/when you came to break up…

8. Texting Is the New Talking

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Leading on from the last point, we have the fact that people – especially when they’re first courting – don’t talk on the phone as much. In the 90s that was the only option. But today it’s more about texting. And it’s a totally different ballgame.

For instance, you can spend time crafting a message in a way you can’t on the phone. We’d argue that sometimes makes it harder to get to know someone properly in the early days of a relationship.

7. You’d Speak on the Landline

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For most of the nineties, if you wanted to chat to someone you fancied outside of work or school, you’d call them…on the landline. And, if they still lived at their folks’ place that often meant talking to their mom, dad, or sibling first.

It was like a stepping stone to meeting the family. Oh, and you never knew whether or not someone was listening on another line – until you heard your crush yell, “Moooom, get off the phooooone!! Aaarrghh!!”

6. Finding a Date Was Ten Times Harder

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These days, there’s Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, Hinge, Match.com, Grindr, Her, EHarmony, and countless other dating apps available.

It’s like having a catalog of potential partners to choose from. There was none of that back in the 1990s. The best you could expect was one of your friends to set you up with some they knew (but not before they’d described in detail what the person looked like).

5. They’d Pick You Up

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In the 1990s, it wasn’t unusual for whoever you were going to go out with to drive to your house and pick you up/drop you home.

That’s much harder to imagine in today’s world. It’s not necessarily a bad thing (after all, there are some weirdos out there who you wouldn’t want rocking up at your house), but waiting for your date to arrive was definitely more exciting than waiting for an Uber…

4. Online Dating Was Desperate

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Back in the early 1990s, if you looked for your soulmate online, you were seen as desperate – it was a last-ditch effort for someone who couldn’t find a partner in “real life.” Fast forward to the present day and it’s 100% normal. In fact, these days you’re often the odd one out for finding a partner anywhere but the internet.

3. Organizing a Date Was Very Different

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Dinner and a movie, a picnic in the park, or wandering aimlessly around the mall were classic dates back in the 90s – partly because you couldn’t go too far wrong with them. After all, there was no Google Maps, TripAdvisor reviews, or Uber to help you decide what to do or how to get there. You had to rely on local knowledge, recommendations from mates, and some good old-fashioned imagination.

2. The Pre-Date Process Was a Bigger Deal

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If you had a big date in the 1990s, your friends would almost always swing by your place beforehand to help you get ready. They’d tell you what to wear, what not to wear, how to act, what to talk about, give you a pep talk, and so on. In other words, generally speaking, the pre-date process was much more involved than it is today – when you might just message a pal on WhatsApp or text them your plans. Ultimately, it made dating more exciting; it was a special occasion and another excuse to see your friends face-to-face.

1. You’d Dedicate Songs to Your Crush on the Radio

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More people listened to the radio thirty years ago. And that meant one thing if you really wanted to impress your crush: you’d do whatever it took to call up the local radio station and have them dedicate a song to them! If you knew they’d be listening, it was the perfect way to make them swoon – or so you hoped. 

Can You Think of Anything Else?

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Can you think of any other ways dating in the nineties differs to today? Anything you can remember from back then that would never happen in 2023? Drop a comment with your thoughts!




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