The Rise of Meaningful Connections in Dating

April 9, 2024 |Gideon Hanekom

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As people become more aware of the limitations of relying solely on physical attractiveness, they are seeking more profound, meaningful connections that are based on shared values and emotional compatibility. In a world where it is easy to swipe left or right based on a person’s appearance, individuals seem to long for something more substantial.

Emotional intelligence, which refers to the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and empathize with others, seems to have become a highly sought-after trait in the dating world.

It looks like people are realizing that a partner who can communicate effectively, express empathy, and navigate conflicts with maturity is more likely to contribute to a healthy and fulfilling relationship.

And so they want that.

Shared values have also become a crucial aspect of forming meaningful connections.

In a society that is becoming increasingly diverse, people seem to recognise the importance of aligning with a partner who shares their core beliefs and values.

Whether it is political views, religious beliefs, or lifestyle choices, finding someone who is on the same page can create a strong foundation for a lasting relationship, and people want more of that.

This emerging shift in dating preferences seems to reflect a broader cultural change.

As society becomes more interconnected, individuals are realizing that true happiness lies in forming connections built on mutual understanding, respect, and support.

The emphasis on physical appearance is gradually being replaced by a focus on emotional connection and compatibility.

Furthermore, the rise of social media and online dating platforms has made it easier for people to connect with others who share their interests and values.

These platforms provide a space for individuals to showcase their personality, values, and hobbies, allowing potential partners to get a glimpse into their lives before even meeting in person.

This increased transparency and accessibility have facilitated the search for meaningful connections, which means people have more options than before, so they don’t have to settle for anything less than what they really want.

Overall, the rise of meaningful connections in dating seems to signify a shift towards a more authentic and fulfilling approach to relationships.

meaningful connections

People seem increasingly less satisfied with surface-level connections based solely on physical attraction.

Instead, they are seeking partners who can engage them intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

In a world that can often feel disconnected and superficial, the desire for meaningful connections highlights the innate human need for love, understanding, and companionship.

However, despite this changing landscape, many still use certain dating tactics that undermine the pursuit of authenticity.

One such tactic is known as “kittenfishing.”

‘Kittenfishing’ refers to the act of embellishing one’s profile on dating platforms to appear more appealing. It involves presenting oneself in a way that may not entirely align with reality, often through the use of heavily edited photos, minor lies about age or interests, or even misrepresenting one’s height.

Now, while some may argue that kittenfishing is a harmless way to enhance one’s chances of finding a match, it does raise important questions about authenticity and trust.

We can argue, for instance, that by presenting an altered version of oneself, individuals engaging in kittenfishing basically start any potential relationship on a foundation of deceit.

That not only undermines the trust between two people but also hinders the possibility of building a genuine connection with someone special, which, after all, is the goal for many.

Furthermore, kittenfishing can also lead to disappointment and frustration when the truth eventually comes to light.

I’ve seen this happen, which often leaves a lasting sour taste in the mouth.

When two people meet in person after connecting online, they may realize that the person they thought they were getting to know is different from the one they actually met.

That can easily lead to feelings of betrayal and a sense of wasted time and effort.

Moreover, and perhaps more important for our conversation in this post, antics like ‘kittenfishing’ perpetuate a culture of superficiality and unrealistic expectations.

By presenting a carefully crafted version of oneself, individuals are contributing to the idea that appearance and presentation are more important than genuine compatibility and shared values.

This can easily create a shallow dating culture in which people are more focused on creating a perfect image than on forming meaningful connections.

Moreover, it also sets the scene where EVERYONE must keep playing the same game because one can never be sure about the person on your screen.

But let’s assume two people manage to look past all that and do meet.

One could easily see how something like kittenfishing could have long-term consequences for both individuals involved.

If a relationship begins with false pretences, it can be difficult to maintain once the truth is revealed.

We all know that trust is a crucial component of any successful relationship, and starting off with deception can make it challenging to establish a solid foundation of trust and honesty in the long run.

So, while kittenfishing may seem harmless in enhancing one’s online dating experience, it ultimately undermines the pursuit of authenticity and genuine connections.

By presenting an altered version of oneself, we can argue that individuals engaging in kittenfishing risk starting any potential relationship based on deceit, leading to disappointment, frustration, and long-term consequences.

In my opinion, if you want more from the dating scene, then honesty and authenticity must be prioritized to foster meaningful connections and build relationships based on trust and genuine compatibility.

This culture of instant gratification and endless choices has led to a sense of disillusionment and detachment.

Many individuals have experienced the frustration of engaging in shallow conversations and superficial connections, leaving them longing for something more meaningful.

However, authenticity offers a refreshing alternative to this culture of shallowness because it allows individuals to break free from the constraints of online dating algorithms and present themselves as they truly are without fear of judgment or rejection.

By embracing authenticity, people can foster genuine connections based on shared values, interests, and goals.

Authenticity also plays a crucial role in building trust and intimacy in relationships.

When both partners are authentic with each other, they create a safe space for vulnerability and sharing of true thoughts and feelings.

That level of openness tends to foster a deep sense of connection and allows for genuine emotional intimacy to develop.

At the end of the day, I’ll guess that the desire for authenticity in dating seems to stem from the human need for genuine connections and meaningful relationships.

It is essentially a response to the superficiality and transactional nature of modern dating culture.

Building Genuine Connections

While kittenfishing may initially seem like a shortcut to attracting potential partners, it ultimately hinders the formation of genuine connections.

Instead of relying on superficial embellishments, individuals should focus on cultivating meaningful relationships based on honesty and shared values.

One way to foster authenticity in the dating world is by encouraging open and honest communication.

By being transparent about one’s intentions, desires, and even insecurities, individuals can create an environment where both parties feel comfortable being their true selves.

That allows for a deeper understanding of each other and lays the foundation for a more meaningful connection.

Additionally, it is crucial to remember that physical appearance is just one aspect of a person.

Also, it changes over time.

So while it may initially attract attention, emotional and intellectual compatibility sustains a relationship in the long run.

Therefore, by prioritizing emotional intelligence and shared values over superficial qualities, individuals can navigate the dating world with a focus on building genuine connections.

Furthermore, building genuine connections requires investing time and effort into getting to know someone on a deeper level.

That means going beyond surface-level conversations and engaging in meaningful discussions about hopes, dreams, fears, and aspirations.

Now, another important aspect of building genuine connections is being vulnerable and allowing oneself to be seen for who one truly is.

This means embracing imperfections and being willing to share both the highs and lows of life.

By opening up and showing vulnerability, individuals create an environment that encourages the other person to do the same, fostering a more profound sense of connection and intimacy.

Moreover, building genuine connections involves mutual respect and support, something we’ve frequently discussed on this site.

It is essential to celebrate each other’s achievements and provide a shoulder to lean on during challenging times.

By being there for one another and offering unwavering support, individuals can strengthen their bonds and create lasting connections.

So, in conclusion, while kittenfishing may offer temporary satisfaction, it ultimately hinders the formation of genuine connections.

It’s not a wise strategy if you’re serious about building meaningful connections with someone and building a life together.

Instead, individuals should prioritize things like open and honest communication, emotional intelligence, shared values, investing time and effort, vulnerability, and mutual respect to build meaningful relationships.

By focusing on these aspects, individuals have the best chance of navigating the dating world with authenticity and creating connections that are built to last.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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