Navigating the dating world can be a daunting experience, especially with all the new terms and phrases that have emerged in recent years. As the way we talk about relationships has drastically evolved in recent years, it’s essential to stay updated on the latest dating lingo.
To help you stay ahead of the game, we present a comprehensive glossary of 52 popular words and phrases you should know to navigate the modern dating world with ease.
Online Dating Terms
Ghosting refers to the sudden disappearance of a person from someone’s life without any warning or explanation. In the dating world, this usually means cutting off all communication with a romantic interest, leaving them feeling confused and hurt.
Breadcrumbing is the act of giving someone just enough attention to keep them interested, without ever committing to a genuine relationship. This can involve sporadic texts, vague plans, and compliments, all while avoiding any real connection.
When someone creates a fake online persona to deceive others, they’re catfishing. This term is most commonly used in the context of online dating, where the catfisher uses fake photos and personal details to lure unsuspecting victims into a false sense of intimacy.
In the dating world, benching is when someone keeps a romantic prospect on the sidelines, just in case their current relationship doesn’t work out. This may involve occasional communication and flirtation, but never committing to a real relationship.
Cushioning occurs when someone keeps multiple romantic prospects on the backburner as a safety net. This ensures that if their main relationship ends, they have someone to fall back on. Cushioners often engage in light flirting and texting, while avoiding any real commitment.
Orbiting is when someone maintains a digital presence in another person’s life without ever directly communicating with them. This can involve watching their Instagram stories, liking their social media posts, or lurking in their online circles, but never actually engaging in conversation.
Love bombing is the act of showering someone with affection, attention, and gifts in the early stages of a relationship, only to withdraw it all suddenly once they’ve secured their partner’s trust. This manipulative tactic is often used by people with narcissistic tendencies or those seeking control in a relationship.
When a person who previously ghosted someone suddenly reappears in their life, it’s called zombieing. This often involves the zombie sending a casual text or liking a social media post, seemingly coming back from the dead to reestablish contact.
Roaching occurs when someone secretly dates multiple people at once, without their knowledge. When confronted, the roacher may claim that they never agreed to exclusivity, even though they’ve led their partners to believe they were in a committed relationship.
Cuffing season is the time of year, usually during the colder months, when people feel a stronger desire to be in a relationship. During this period, singles may be more likely to settle down with a partner for companionship and warmth, even if it’s just temporary.
Rizz refers to the act of intentionally maintaining a low profile on dating apps or social media to avoid attracting unwanted attention. This can involve using ambiguous photos, limiting personal information, or only engaging with a select few potential partners.
The Three Flags: Green, Red, Beige
The Three Flags concept is used to evaluate potential partners based on their behavior. Green flags indicate positive traits and compatibility, red flags signal potential issues or dealbreakers, and beige flags represent neutral or unclear aspects that may require further exploration.
Cobwebbing is the act of purging any mementos from previous relationships, such as old sweaters, text threads, or photos, in an effort to move on. By letting go of these emotional ties, one can be more present and invested in their current dating journey.
Cyberflashing refers to the act of sending unsolicited explicit images or videos to someone online, typically through direct messages on social media or dating apps. This invasive and nonconsensual behavior is a form of digital harassment.
Cookie-jarring occurs when someone treats a romantic interest as a backup option, keeping them around for occasional attention and validation while prioritizing other relationships. The person being “cookie-jarred” often feels undervalued and uncertain of their place in the other person’s life.
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic in which someone attempts to make another person doubt their own perceptions, feelings, or memories. This form of emotional abuse can leave the victim feeling confused and powerless, questioning their own sanity.
Dating Apps Terms
A Tinderella is a woman who frequently uses the dating app Tinder to find potential partners. The term is a playful combination of “Tinder” and “Cinderella,” suggesting a fairytale-like search for love through online dating.
A Bumble-bee refers to an individual who actively uses the Bumble dating app, where women must initiate conversation with potential matches. This term highlights the app’s unique approach to empowering women in the dating process.
If a potential match on the dating app Hinge is considered “Hinge-worthy,” it means they are seen as a high-quality prospect based on their profile, photos, and conversation starters. This term implies that the person is worth investing time and effort into.
On dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, users “swipe left” to reject a potential match and “swipe right” to express interest. These phrases have become synonymous with making quick judgments and decisions in the dating world.
A Super Like is a feature on Tinder that allows users to express heightened interest in a potential match. By using a Super Like, the recipient is notified of the sender’s interest, increasing the likelihood of a match and conversation.
Boost is a paid feature on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble that temporarily increases a user’s visibility to potential matches. By utilizing a boost, users increase their chances of being seen and matched with others.
To unmatch someone on a dating app is to remove them as a connection, typically due to a lack of interest or negative interaction. Unmatching prevents further communication between the two parties.
Soft-launching is the act of slowly and subtly introducing a new romantic partner to one’s social circle, usually through casual social media posts or low-key group gatherings. This approach allows the couple to test the waters without making a big public announcement.
Relationship Status Terms
DTR (Define The Relationship)
DTR stands for “define the relationship,” which refers to the conversation couples have to establish the nature and boundaries of their relationship. This often includes discussing exclusivity, commitment, and expectations for the future.
A situationship is a romantic connection that exists somewhere between a friendship and a committed relationship. In a situationship, both parties are typically involved on a casual, non-exclusive basis, without any clear expectations or labels.
Friends with Benefits
Friends with benefits (FWB dating) is a term used to describe a casual relationship between two friends who engage in sexual activities without the commitment of a traditional romantic relationship.
NSA (No Strings Attached)
NSA, or no strings attached sex, refers to a casual sexual relationship with no emotional commitment or expectations for a future together. Both parties agree to keep things strictly physical, often prioritizing their individual needs and desires.
An open relationship is a type of romantic partnership where both parties agree to see other people outside of their primary relationship. This arrangement is based on trust, communication, and the mutual understanding that each person is free to explore other connections.
Polyamory is the practice of engaging in multiple romantic or sexual relationships with the consent and knowledge of all parties involved. Polyamorous relationships can take many forms, with different levels of commitment and intimacy depending on the individuals involved.
A monogamish relationship is a predominantly monogamous partnership that allows for occasional outside sexual experiences or flirtations. This term acknowledges that some couples may not strictly adhere to traditional monogamy but still maintain a primary commitment to one another.
LDR (Long-Distance Relationship)
An LDR, or long-distance relationship, is a romantic partnership in which the two individuals involved live far apart geographically and are unable to see each other regularly. LDRs often require strong communication, trust, and commitment to maintain the connection despite the challenges posed by distance.
Dating Styles Terms
Slow dating is the practice of taking time to get to know a potential partner before becoming physically intimate or emotionally invested. This approach prioritizes meaningful connections and long-term compatibility over short-term gratification.
Love at First Sight
Love at first sight is the idea that two people can experience an instant, powerful connection upon meeting for the first time. This romantic notion suggests that certain individuals are destined to be together and can recognize their compatibility immediately.
Caspering is a kinder, more considerate form of ghosting. Named after the friendly cartoon ghost, Casper, this term describes the act of gently and respectfully ending communication with someone by providing an explanation or closure before disappearing.
Stashing occurs when someone hides a romantic partner from their friends, family, and social media. This can be a sign that they are not serious about the relationship or unwilling to fully integrate their partner into their life.
Haunting is similar to orbiting but involves more deliberate and noticeable attempts to stay present in someone’s life after a relationship has ended. This can include frequent interactions on social media or unexpectedly showing up in the same places as the other person.
Submarining is when someone disappears from a relationship without explanation, only to resurface later as if nothing happened. This term is similar to zombieing but implies a more extended period of absence before the person reemerges.
Paperclipping is a term inspired by the infamous Microsoft Office assistant, Clippy. In the dating world, it refers to someone who pops up occasionally to offer unsolicited advice or commentary, often reminding the other person of their presence without any genuine interest in rekindling a relationship.
Kittenfishing is a milder form of catfishing, where someone exaggerates or misrepresents aspects of their life on a dating profile to appear more attractive or interesting. This can include using outdated or edited photos, lying about achievements, or embellishing hobbies and interests.
Serendipidating is the act of postponing or avoiding dates in the hope that a better option will come along. This approach can leave potential partners feeling undervalued and uncertain of their place in the other person’s life.
Microcheating involves small, seemingly harmless actions that may be considered unfaithful or disloyal in the context of a committed relationship. Examples include flirtatious texting, online interactions, or sharing intimate details with someone outside of the relationship.
Slide into DMs
Sliding into someone’s DMs (direct messages) refers to initiating a private conversation on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter, often with romantic or flirtatious intentions. This approach can be a casual and low-pressure way to express interest in someone.
A thirst trap is a provocative or alluring photo or post shared on social media, designed to attract attention and admiration. This term implies that the person posting the image is seeking validation, compliments, or romantic interest from their followers.
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, photos, or videos to another person, typically through text messages or instant messaging apps. This form of communication can be a way for couples to maintain intimacy and excitement in their relationship, though it can also have negative consequences if done without consent or discretion.
Being left “on read” occurs when someone reads a message but does not respond, leaving the sender feeling ignored or rejected. This term is often used in the context of dating and relationships to express frustration over a lack of communication or interest from the other person.
Emoji code refers to the use of emojis as a means of conveying emotions, intentions, or hidden messages in digital communication. In the context of dating, emojis can add a playful or flirtatious element to conversations, though their meanings can sometimes be open to interpretation.
Vaguebooking is the act of posting intentionally vague or cryptic messages on social media platforms like Facebook, often to elicit sympathy, curiosity, or attention from followers. This can be a passive-aggressive way of communicating dissatisfaction or seeking validation in the context of romantic relationships.
Gatsbying is a term inspired by the character Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby.” In the dating world, it refers to the act of posting impressive or glamorous content on social media to catch the attention of a specific person or romantic interest.
Instagrandstanding is the act of curating one’s social media presence to appear more attractive or interesting to a specific person or group. This can involve sharing content that reflects shared interests or values, with the goal of sparking conversation or building a connection.
Tindstagramming is the act of contacting someone on Instagram after seeing their profile on Tinder, even if they did not match on the dating app. This unsolicited approach can be seen as invasive or disrespectful, as it bypasses the mutual consent required for communication on Tinder.
A textlationship is a relationship that exists primarily through text messages, with little to no in-person interaction. While this form of communication can be convenient and low-pressure, it can also limit the depth and intimacy of the connection between the two parties.
Now You Can Date Like a Pro!
Understanding these modern dating terms will help you navigate the dating world like a pro. Remember, open communication and authenticity are key to successful relationships. Embrace the dating landscape and may you find love in 2023!