21st Century Dating Terms You Need To Know About

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Add these to your dictionary, pronto!

Online dating has spawned a whole new world with its own distinct vocabulary, making us wonder if we need a PHD in dating to figure out what “sidebarring” and “zombieing” mean. 

Here’s our guide to the most popular used dating terms around right now. No textbook required.

Ghosting: Currently trending, ghosting refers to the brutal action of completely ignoring further communication from a person you once had a good interaction with. Their existence and messages are disregarded suddenly with no closure or explanation for the person on the other side. Divided opinion on whether it’s just cowardly or a harmless way to end contact. FYI, spookier themed words to come.

Breadcrumbing: Borrowed from the tale of Hansel and Gretel, breadcrumbing is when your online conversations are going great until you’re lead by someone who has no intentions of meeting up in real life. Fine if you’re after an online pen pal, not so sure if you’re after a committed relationship. 

Wingman: Our favourite, Wingman refers to a friend who supports your chances at romantic prospects. Here’s what to look for in a good one.

FB Official: Defining relationship statuses from the noughties till now, a relationship isn’t a relationship if you haven’t made it Facebook official. Cue the couple photos and soppy anniversary posts… until you break up and ghost each other obviously (see previously).

IRL: Short for ‘In real life’. Enough said.

Peacocking: A term used to describe heavily flattering social media posts. Profiles usually display the best 10/10 version of a person, designed to get the most attention, much like a peacock spreading its glorious feathers. Go easy on the editing/filtering if you want to meet in IRL.

Friend zoned: The classic case of starting out with romantic potential but ending up being better as friends. An easier way than getting ghosted but nonetheless disappointing if you wanted more. 

BAE: Stands for “Before Anyone Else”. Usually accompanied by a hashtag, BAE is an endearing term used to address your significant other. Largely used in social media posts (15.9m + counting!)

Catfish: One of the first terms to start the trend, catfish or catfishing is when you pretend to be someone else online. Whether that’s through using photos that aren’t of yourself or deceiving the person you’re talking to about who you really are. Usually, non-committal to meeting in real life for the fear of being caught out. Made famous by these guys.

Netflix and Chill: Code for spending the night in and getting right down to business. Netflix on the background optional.

Cuffing: When the thought of being single in the fall is too miserable so you get into a relationship just so you have someone to spend nights in with when it’s too cold to go out. Single pringle by summer.   

Sliding into the DM’s: In other words, direct messaging each other on social media. Online equivalent of flirting by liking each other’s pictures and commenting on social media posts (emoji’s accepted).

DTR (define the relationship): When you reach the point of having the ‘talk’ and defining where the relationship is at.

Friends with Benefits: When you engage in a non-committal and physical with no-strings attached situation with a friend. Having fun but with a healthy respect for each other.

Zombieing/Haunting: When a past acquaintance/relationship returns by liking your social posts as a sign of wanting to rekindle the romance. In this instance, ghosting is acceptable if you’re not reciprocating. 

Pied: When you get rejected after asking someone out, often causing embarrassment and fear being laughed at like a ‘clown’.

Stashing/benching: When you feel like the relationship is hidden. You’re not introduced to their friends or family or even mentioned on their social media. They might be “benching” you when they’re not ready to commit or looking for someone better to come along. Sign of 'Dump Immediately', you ain’t no second best!

Sidebarring: Not exclusive to dating, sidebarring is when you look at your phone more than the person you’re talking to. Hey, eyes up here!

A few words of our own… 

  • A Watercolour: Profiles that rely on pictures to do all the talking and say very little in their profile (like a painting)
  • Badger: Friends who can’t help getting involved in their friend’s love life
  • MTF: (Met through friends) People who met or were set up through friends 
  • Match Queen/ King: describes a person who is talented at matchmaking

Some are more casually thrown in conversation than others so beware coming across as someone who has just swallowed a dating dictionary.

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Photo Credit: Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash