Love and likes: Can TikTok be trusted for dating advice?

Written by Flirtini team

Key takeaways:

  • Some 46% of people now take dating advice from TikTok, with 25% of people relying on the social media platform as their primary source of relationship information.
  • Worryingly, many are quick to trust dating experts without checking their credentials, with 28% almost always showing trust and 33% trusting influencers who publish educational content.
  • That’s despite 73% of people admitting that they believe this content is influenced by social media trends, rather than tried and tested dating principles.
  • Unsurprisingly, 46% of people have faced relationship struggles after following advice from social media, with 23% having experienced a breakup.

There’s no better feeling than falling in love—but before reaching that fairytale ending, most of us have to suffer through misleading profiles, awkward conversations, mixed signals, wasted evenings, and ghosted calls. Ah, the delights of dating!

Even once you find a good one, no relationship is perfect and the occasional problem is bound to arise. Don’t worry, you’re not destined to be forever alone. You just need to deal with Cupid’s challenges as they come. So who do you turn to when your love life isn’t quite going to plan? Friends? Family? A therapist? …TikTok?

Flirtini surveyed 2,000 people on their use of social media when seeking dating advice. While many people today are using TikTok and other platforms to solve their problems, results show that taking the wrong advice can bring strong relationships to a sudden end.

Love and dating advice in the digital era

Who do you turn to when your relationship hits the rocks or dating life dries up? Full of dating gurus willing to share their advice on finding love and fostering lasting relationships, for many, social media now offers a shoulder to cry on or wise words to get them through the difficult moments.

Friends and family are still the go-to support network for daters, with 35% turning to loved ones for help when their love life is in the air.

However, 40% of people are now more likely to turn to digital channels, such as social media, search engines, and artificial intelligence. In particular, TikTok’s influence in the dating sphere is growing, with 25% of people admitting that the video-sharing platform is now their primary source of dating advice.

Filtering fact from fiction: Can daters trust TikTok?

Anyone can create an account and call themselves a love doctor, so how do you know who you can trust and whose opinions you should disregard?

Worryingly, 28% of people almost always believe the dating advice they receive from social media—if it's on the internet, it must be true. Likewise, 13% rely on video likes and follower counts to determine whether they can rely on an expert to diagnose their dating issues and mend their broken hearts… but vitality and credibility don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.

What makes a self-proclaimed “dating expert” trustworthy? For 33% of people, their content just needs to be educational. Likewise, for 20%, they just need to explain everything in simple terms. If the advice they offer is useful and easy to understand, most people will listen, whether it's true or not.

For 15% of people, the content doesn't even have to be particularly informative. They just want to see part of themselves in the influencer.

We put a lot of trust in the people we watch on social media, and yet just 23% of people truly believe that TikTok dating experiences produce content based on genuine relationship principles. Rather, 73% believe that social media trends and the desire for views influences the advice they offer.

Cupid or catfish: The consequences of trusting dating influencers

The #datingadvice and #relationshipadvice hashtags have close to 16 billion views on TikTok, with users searching for the secret formula to a happy and healthy relationship.

With advice ranging from never texting twice in a row to painting your nails a particular shade of red, there's bound to be some useful advice among the masses of content. The problem is, every relationship is different and what works for one might not work for another.

For 10% of people, taking TikTok’s advice has caused them to fight with their partner, while 23% have seen their relationship come to an early end, with social media to blame.

But chances are your favorite influencers aren't out to ruin your relationships. In fact, just 16% of people say advice from TikTok has negatively impacted their dating life overall. In contrast, 30% say it has helped to strengthen it.

Social media is full of good advice and genuine experts—You just have to check that they are who they say they are, take your time getting to know them before you jump in headfirst, and watch out for major red flags. It's a lot like choosing a partner, actually.

Methodology: To create this study, researchers from Flirtini surveyed 2,000 adults.

Respondents considered themselves as single people. They were asked a range of questions on their use of social media when seeking dating advice, especially:

  • Do you turn to TikTok or other social media for dating advice?
  • What is your main source of dating advice?
  • Do you trust dating experts’ advice on TikTok?
  • What makes dating experts on TikTok trustworthy? (multiple choice)
  • Is dating advice on TikTok influenced by trends or sound relationship principles?
  • Have you ever had dating or relationship issues after following TikTok advice?
  • Overall, how do you think TikTok dating advice has influenced your dating life?

Age of participants:

18 - 27 = 40%
28 - 44 = 46%
45 - 61 = 13%
62+ = 1%

The study includes participants of all genders, ethnicities, social backgrounds, and from all geographies.

The data was collected from 29 May 2024 to 03 June 2024.

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