Your Guide To The Open Casting Dating Trend & Its Benefits

There are plenty of fish in the sea, so it's important to cast a wide net. When it comes to dating, most of us have a "type," whether we admit it or not. This can be a combination of physical and personality traits that we tend to look for when entering the dating pool. But if your dating life has felt a bit repetitive or limited, you might want to try out the "open casting" approach. You may have heard this term in the entertainment world, where directors advertise to get lots of people to audition for roles. But what does this mean for dating?

Open casting simply means dating outside of what you consider your "type" to be. It encourages you to keep your mind (and your heart) open to people who may not necessarily tick all of your boxes and expectations. It could also mean dating outside of what others typically expect from you based on your past relationships.

This term became popular after the famous dating app Bumble included it on their list of 2023 dating trend predictions. In a social media post, the app shared statistics from its poll of over 14,000 Bumble users around the world. 38% of these users shared that they feel more open to dating beyond their type as they entered 2023. Believe it or not, there are benefits of dating outside your type, and you might just find an unexpected match.

Open casting may help you find more connections

"Open casting encourages us to remain open to surprises and discoveries about our own preferences," psychologist Mark Travers shared with Forbes. "It reflects the reality that our actual desires may not align with our perceived preferences, and that we might not truly know what we're looking for in a partner until we see it." We may think we want one thing, but someone may come around and surprise us. 

A 2016 study published in Evolution and Human Behavior explored whether or not we were happier with someone who fits all our preferences. The study found that relationship satisfaction had little to do with how well partners fulfilled each other's preferences. Instead, satisfaction was more about whether your partner was a higher-value mate compared to ourselves and our other options.

Being more open doesn't just mean that you'll date anyone and everyone; it simply means being willing to broaden your own horizons and not limit yourself based on who you tend to go for. Let's say you're typically attracted to tall people. If someone comes along who is a bit short for your liking, still be open to them if you like other things about them. Or perhaps you've limited yourself to people following a certain career path, but maybe you'll find a connection with someone outside of that box. Some of the most beautiful and fulfilling relationships happen when we don't quite expect them to.

Initial attraction doesn't always mean long-term compatibility

When you first have heart-eyes for someone, they might seem perfect on paper. Maybe they're super buff, smart, funny, and work in finance. But over time, they turn about to be quite a jerk. You can probably think of a relationship or situationship that started off really well but then ended up not being the right match despite them being your type.

You may only see that person through a rose-colored lens at first because you're infatuated with them. The relationship is new and your brain is pumping out those happy, lovey-dovey chemicals (aka dopamine). As certified sex therapist, Tanya Dmitrieva explained to Verywell Mind, "[I]ntense attraction can cloud our judgment and make us feel more similar to someone we are attracted to than we are." This may cause us to project potential on a new partner and brush over the things that aren't so good about them. 

Open casting reminds us to try to look past superficial attraction and focus on how we're truly feeling about someone. Relationship expert Maria Sullivan told Stylist, "[F]ocus more on how dating makes you feel emotionally, not just how physically attracted you are to a potential partner at first glance."

Open casting may help you find more fulfillment and break habits

Have you noticed that you've dated very similar types of people over time? While it's great to know what you want, this might be limiting you to all of your options. We often choose partners who are a lot like us, and while it's good to be able to relate to them in that way, it's even more fulfilling to experience newer perspectives. 

Sometimes, solely following your type might not always lead you to the best situations. You may have found yourself with unhealthy or toxic partners time and time again because they fall into your type and who you're attracted to. It might feel safe and familiar to seek out these people, but casting a wider net can help you break free from unhealthy relationship patterns.

It's important to remember that open casting doesn't mean abandoning your standards and values to find someone new. Additionally, this approach isn't just limited to online dating apps. It can also look like trying a new hobby to expand your social circle or trying out a different hangout spot where you can talk to new people (it's scary, but you can do it).