Ready your Hinge profiles, cos there’s a new dating trend coming for your swipes. It’s called ‘hardballing’ and while that might sound like a method of medieval torture, as far as I can tell, it’s essentially just the polar opposite of ghosting.

Basically, hardballing is where you’re really upfront and honest about what you’re looking for from the moment you start seeing someone.

TBH, this feels like a really good thing. Being honest about what you’re looking for from the get-go is probably the best way of minimising hurt if you and someone you’re dating aren’t on the same wavelength.

Openness about what you’re into – whether it’s casual sex, a long-term relo, or a big ‘ol question mark – lets the other person into your headspace.

Plus, after the awfulness of trying to date during lockdown, who has the time or energy to play games?

Logan Ury, head of relationship science on Hinge, gave Jana Hocking a handy little definition of ‘hardballing’ on the Kinda Sorta Dating podcast.

As he put it: “hardballing is a new dating term that means someone is being clear about their expectations of a relationship, whether you want a serious long-term partnership or a casual fling.”

So, if you want to get on your (COVID-safe) Hot Girl Summer while someone else looks for their MatthewMacfayden-as-Mr-Darcy, it’s probably better you know that from date one, as opposed to date seventeen.

Of course, sometimes things naturally fizzle out. It’s completely normal to date casually and realise you want different things from different people. But online dating in particular can lead to messy situationships where you could feasibly get a few months into dating someone before realising they want something you don’t.

So if your two options are between ghosting and hardballing? I’m deff in favour of the latter.

I am a lesbian so, famously, I love a U-Haul. For the non-lesbians among you, that’s when the relationship moves so fast that you’re basically living together after a month. And I’m not ashamed – two dates in and I’ve already named our future cat (he’s called Mr Pringles, btw).

But even in the U-Haul-topia of lesbianiasm, there’s something really scary about being upfront in your communication. It can be feel really vulnerable to admit you actually want to be in a relationship.

Speaking to InStyle Susan Trombetti, CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, said that a lot of the skill of hardballing comes down to really understanding what you want and being open about it:

“Hardballing could help you avoid situationships — undefined romantic relationships that can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty between partners — because it encourages you to be direct about what you’re looking for.”

“It attracts people whose relationship vision aligns with yours and deters the ones who aren’t looking for anything serious.”

So tbh, it kind of just sounds like what we all should be doing already: actively and directly communicating your desires.

Yeah, it can be scary to be upfront about what you want. But let’s be honest: that’s also a better alternative to accidentally ending up in a four-month-long situationship because you didn’t want the discomfort of a slightly awkward conversation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Mr Pringles needs his dinner.

Image: Summit Entertainment