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17 Modern Dating Terms to Help You Master the Evolving Dating Game

Are you looking for relationship advice and overwhelmed by the influx of confusing modern dating terms? Here is the dictionary you’ve been looking for.

Back in the day, dating terms were pretty limited to going steady, courting, or getting pinned. Beyond that, dating terms of the olden days weren’t all too confusing. Now, there are so many modern dating terms it is hard to keep them all straight.

Since dating has become more complicated than asking for someone’s number, calling them, and going on a date, the dating terms have also evolved. You may be familiar with ones like ghosting or DTF, but what about cuffing, breadcrumbing, and haunting?

If you are searching for dating advice, especially online, these terms will surely arise, and learning their true meanings will definitely help you make sense of it all.

[Read: Should you dump these modern dating trends immediately?]

What are modern dating terms?

If you have dated in the last 10 or so years, you’ve probably interacted with one or more of these behaviors… without even knowing there was a term for it.

I mean, I was ghosted before ghosting was the popular word for it.

A lot of these modern dating terms have come to light more recently because nearly all of them are linked to modern technology. They refer to texting, social media, or online dating which are all more common than they once were.

[Read: 9 almost-relationship labels of the modern dating world]

The thing is, you may want to know why a guy is stringing you along or a why girl keeps liking your Instagram posts without talking to you. But, you aren’t sure how to word those questions to the interwebs.

Knowing the modern dating terms to label these circumstances will help you find more information about them and make sense of why they might be happening.

Modern dating terms

I know learning modern dating terms is like learning a whole new language created by millennials and Gen Z, but I promise, they aren’t as bad they may seem.

#1 Ghosting. I’m starting with ghosting because this was one of the first modern dating terms to be created. You are probably the most familiar with it. Ghosting is the unexpected and abrupt stop to all communication.

Out of the blue, someone will stop texting, stop responding, and may even go dark on social media. This is a coward’s way of ending a flirtation, relationship, or anything along those lines. [Read: Haunting vs. ghosting: Why haunting is so much worse in every way]

#2 Haunting. Another ghostly term, haunting is an aftermath of ghosting, but with a bit more dramatic flair. Once ghosted, haunting is the act of subtly showing up. So, they still aren’t communicating with you but might watch all of your Instagram stories or like your posts.

#3 Benching. Benching is a baseball term. It is when someone is there and waiting but without any actual action. It is the same in terms of dating.

If you’ve been benched, it means someone is essentially stringing you along but with no intentions. They just want you to wait for an indefinite amount of time until they may want to date you. [Read: What is benching and the signs you’re being strung along right now]

#4 Catfishing. I almost didn’t include catfishing in my glossary because it is pretty well-known, but it could be new to some. Catfishing presents a fake version of yourself online to catch a match.

This is done in various ways. It could be using someone else’s photos, heavily editing your own, or providing false or misleading information about yourself to potential dates. A lot of dating apps now offer photo verification to deter this behavior, but it happens often enough there is a TV show all about it. [Read: 13 quick ways to catch a catfish instantly]

#5 Breadcrumbing. This is similar to benching. Breadcrumbing is the act of sending cute, flirty, or flattering messages to keep you intrigued and interested but without actually talking or putting in effort. [Read: The shameless signs of breadcrumbing people use for an ego boost]

#6 Orbiting. This is essentially a minor form of stalking an ex. Instead of lingering around your ex’s desk at work or asking their friends who they’re dating, they just roam around on their social media. This can include liking posts, DMing, and more to stay within their galaxy.

#7 Cloaking. Ouch. Cloaking is the even worse version of ghosting. Instead of someone just going radio silent, they actually go through the process of blocking you on social media too.

#8 Cuffing. Cuffing is dating during the colder months. It is finding someone to cuddle and be in a relationship with during fall and winter, but usually dumping them when the weather warms up. [Read: What is cuffing season and how to make sure you’re not left lonely]

#9 Left on read. I know this is pretty self-explanatory, but it must be included. Being left on read means someone has their read receipts on, saw your message and chose not to reply. It is very frustrating.

#10 Negging. Negging is a back-handed compliment. This can be something like, “wow you’re funny for a girl,” or “I’m surprised you know so much about baseball when you look like that.” It is all about attacking your confidence. Then, they’re the person to lift it up so that you crave their approval. [Read: The philosophy of the negging game and how to use it right]

#11 Phubbing. Phubbing is the act of ignoring someone for your phone. You could be on a date and giving your attention to your phone instead of your date.

#12 Dateview. A dateview is the merging of a date and an interview. Rather than joking, flirting, and getting to know someone, a dateview consists of a gentle interrogation. You could be asked questions about kids, marriage, weddings, and more.

#13 Paperclipping. This one is funny but also entirely accurate. If you are old enough to remember the old Microsoft Word digital mascot, Clippy, you’ll know how annoying he was. He would pop up in the middle of writing a paper to ask you a question or offer you unneeded assistance.

Paperclipping is when an ex pops up out of thin air to ask a question or just see how you are for no particular reason. They usually don’t want to catch up or meet up. They just want to see if you’ll respond to boost their bruised ego.

#14 Situationship. This is that murky area we have all been in. It is when you feel like you’re in a relationship, but it isn’t quite official. You aren’t sure what you are or what label you have but are sharing all the normal aspects of a relationship. [Read: The relationship of convenience and why people get into one]

#15 Kittenfishing. This is the smaller version of catfishing. Instead of straight-up lying about who you are, as with catfishing, kittenfishing is lying on a smaller scale. This person will use a photo of themselves. However, it may be 5-15 years old or altered just enough to be misleading.

#16 Bad pancake. If you have ever made pancakes, you know that the first one is always a little off. It may be misshapen or burnt or too raw or have too much oil to cook properly. This is the bad pancake. In terms of modern dating, it is the first person you date after a breakup. You probably don’t have a connection or see anything serious with them. You are dating again just to see what it’s like. [Read: What is a rebound relationship? The signs that say you’re in one]

#17 Slow fade. This is the more subtle version of ghosting. Instead of just falling off the face of the earth, this person will slowly back away. They may not stop texting at first, then take longer to respond and respond with shorter answers until they slip away without the abrupt halt of ghosting.

[Read: The 20 definitive signs you’re on the verge of being ghosted]

Are there any more modern dating terms you’ve heard but are unfamiliar with? Keep growing your dating dictionary!

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