2014: The Year in Dating, According to Lulu

Since we're already looking at the year in review according to everything from Facebook to Play-Doh, let's take a moment to see where we stand on the dating front, too, shall we? Lulu, an online dating tool that kind of functions like the Yelp of relationships, dug into their wealth of user data to create their very first “Relationship Zeitgeist” for 2014. Although it obviously doesn’t tell us everything about the state of dating — for one, it’s limited to solely to those who use Lulu, which, while not an insignificant number, might apply to some specific types of people — but it does give us a window into the dating world into which to look. We can’t draw conclusions about everyone everywhere from it; we can, however, make some educated guesses about the kinds of things people like and don’t like — and, from there, take a good, hard look at ourselves and figure out what types of qualities and behaviors we might want to cultivate or curb.

Hashtag It

Like many other forms of social media, Lulu relies heavily on hashtags—although in this case, they’re used as a way to file and sort guys instead of your favorite Throwback Thursday photos or whatever. For the purposes of the Relationship Zeitgeist, Lulu took at a look at the most frequently used hashtags and ranked them in two lists. One of them features the kinds of qualities looked upon positively; the other features the ones which definitely fall in the “negative” category.

I find it telling that most — not all, but most — of the hashtags on both ends of the spectrum refer to behavior, rather than looks. If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly what straight women are looking for in straight guys? This might give you a pretty good idea.

The Best of the Best

Here’s a look at the top 10 best hashtags:

  1. #MakesMeLaugh
  2. #WillActSilly
  3. #RespectsWomen
  4. #CleansUpGood
  5. #LovesHisFamily
  6. #EpicSmile
  7. #OneOfTheGoodOnes
  8. #NotADick
  9. #KissableLips
  10. #TrueFriend

Put it all together and it’s a relatively clear picture of what women — or at least, the straight women of Lulu — prefer, doesn’t it? He’s respectful, doesn’t mind acting silly, demonstrates loyalty, and isn’t a dick (that one is my favorite, by the way); if he has a few cosmetically appealing qualities like an awesome smile, then they’re added bonuses. Stamp of approval, right?

The Worst of the Worst

Meanwhile, here are the top 10 worst hashtags — that is, the things you don’t want to be described as:

  1. #SelfAbsorbed
  2. #ManChild
  3. #ShouldComeWithAWarning
  4. #WanderingEye
  5. #JustFriends
  6. #ThatGuy
  7. #Meh
  8. #WorkInProgress
  9. #NothingBadAboutHim
  10. #QuestionableSearchHistory

At best, the undesirable guy is mostly inoffensive, although possibly boring; he also may not have himself figured out enough to be dating at the moment. That’s fine — there’s a time for everything, and once he’s worked through whatever he’s working through, he’ll probably be a real catch. At his worst, though, he’s a self-absorbed manchild who is likely to cheat on you and Googles some troubling subjects. Don’t be that guy. Actually, scratch that — don’t be that person. It’s excellent life advice for everyone to actively combat self-absorption, adultchild-ness, and infidelity. No matter who it is, those qualities add up to a reaction like this:

What’s On Your Mind?

Hashtags aren’t all Lulu’s data crunchers have up their sleeves, though; they also took a look at the most popular Truth Bomb topics for 2014 to get an idea about what kinds of questions most of us have had on our minds while dating this year. Truth Bombs debuted on Lulu earlier in 2014 as a way to provide an anonymous forum in which users could safely ask just about anything they could think of; it’s proved to be a popular feature, generating five million views in its first month alone, so clearly they were onto something.

So which topics ended up being the most-commented on? Well, people mostly seem to be preoccupied with the numbers game:

Sexy hookup stories:

And what’s going on in everyone else’s heads:

Do with that what you will.

Head on over to Lulu to for more, including who exactly the most popular guys on the platform were this year. If you're looking for a keeper... well, let's just say it's a good place to start.

Visit our Year In Review Explore page for more stories about the best and worst moments in 2014, and enjoy the best sounds of the year with this Spotify playlist.

Images: Poetprince/Flickr; Giphy (2); Lulu (3)