Dating language has gone way beyond BF/GF level these days. No longer are little acronyms like 'ilu' and 'bae' scrolled all over people's social DMs - it's big, loaded terms like 'orbiting' that we're all gravitating towards. What do they mean?
We all know the term ‘ghosting’ by now (it’s even the title of a particularly chill Ariana Grande song) but do people also know about haunting? How about zombie-ing?
Don’t worry about feeling lost in the language of modern love. A wide range of relationship experts have put together research, social sites have held polls, and of course, everyday people have chimed in with their own definitions on Urban Dictionary. To avoid sifting through all that information, we've compiled a list of 20 new-to-2019 terms that everyone involved in the current dating world needs to know.
Some of these terms were explained in a massive Plenty of Fish dating site poll, revealing which words people use most along with which trends couples are guilty of actually committing most often. More explanations come from dating expert Dennie Smith who advised readers of Glamour UK which terms to beware of in the modern app dating scene.
Words like pocketing, stashing, benching, and cookie-jarring are handy terms for toxic trends that are actually happening in the real world, while Grande-ing, instagranding, and monkeying are actually pretty harmless. People can’t know the difference if we don’t know the meanings, so scroll down for insight that will help us all IRL.
Let’s say you were seeing someone for a while and things didn’t work out. It might not have been the right time, the right fit, or the right person in general. Whatever the cause of the breakup, it happened and things are over between you two. Orbiting is when a guy keeps popping up in your life despite all that.
If he still likes your pictures and watches your stories, he’s orbiting. He’s subtly reminding you that he exists and he’s keeping an eye on you. Guys who orbit are usually still up for getting back together, and will be offended at any new relationship pics you post. Sorry, dudes!
This term is as new as Ariana Grande’s latest album. It refers to when people go wild after a breakup, treating themselves to luxuries, parties with friends, and major me-time. It’s basically all about celebrating in a loud, obvious way after your relationship ends.
If a girl posts snaps of her crew living it up right after she dumps a guy, with a caption that mentions ‘freedom’ or ‘real love,’ she is Grande-ing. She might not go the full nine and get matching diamonds for six of her girlfriends, but even having a girls' night after a relationship ends is pulling a Grande in 2019.
Do you ever feel like you’re not somebody’s full focus when you’re on a date? It’s like even though you’re right there in front of them, you’re not the main attraction. There’s something pulling their attention away, and more often than not, it’s their phone.
According to relationship expert Dennie Smith, someone ignoring you in favour of their phone is “distracted, unable to be completely present with you." Agreed. That’s the main issue we have with side-barring: the distraction factor. Let’s all agree to put our phones away sometimes. Why even go out if you’re just going to side-bar the person you’re with?
When partners are really into each other and decide not to date anyone else for the foreseeable future, they get cuffed. Like handcuffing, cuffing is when two people get locked together in a commitment to continue dating in a serious way. Less romantic than an engagement ring, but hey.
Cuffing is such a ‘thing’ now that it even has its own season. Cuffing season is generally when it starts to get cold out up until summertime. It’s the time of year that people who are dating decide to seriously couple up and lock down their relationship throughout the chilliest and loneliest months of the year. It’s almost cute.
Throning is when you date someone only to boost your own reputation or social status. You see a lot of this in celebrity culture. Who would Selena Gomez be without her career being boosted by Bieber back in their dating days? Would Kim Kardashian ever have landed a Vogue cover without the culture cred she got from marrying Kanye? We doubt it.
Your whole life can get an upgrade when you couple up with someone who’s got it going on. Whether throning is actually an ethical reason to date someone, you’ll need to decide. Only 7 percent of people admitted to it in the Plenty of Fish poll, but who knows how many of us actually do it?
Getting curved is a tragedy of our time. It’s when you get rejected so smoothly that you don’t even realize you’re getting rejected at all. Confusing? We know. An example of being curved is when he says ‘I’m really busy, we should definitely hang sometime soon though,’ and then never bothers to set a date. If she cancels a date last-minute because of some fake emergency, that’s curving too.
Curvers don’t actually tell you they don’t want to date you, they just keep slyly tweaking their schedules or excuses to make it seem like they would like to, ‘but.’ Take the hint and move on before they curve you again.
Sometimes, you might be dating someone when your spidey senses start tingling and you realize that the relationship could come to an end soon. If, when that happens, you start to get friendly with somebody else, you are guilty of cookie jarring. You’re keeping yourself safe in case you get dumped so you’ll have someone to fall back on.
You can’t keep your hand in the cookie jar when you already have a cookie (a.k.a. boyfriend). Either act up and end the relationship you’re in so you can start a new one with a clean slate, or be happy with your current relationship playing out however it does.
We are all guilty of this one. Instagranding is when you use your IG account to get one particular person’s attention. It’s when you curate every single post with that one person in mind. You want to send them a low-key message through your social media presence.
That message could be ‘look how hot I am!’ It could be ‘look how many friends I have who love me and think I’m cool!’ It could even be ‘look how happy I am without you,’ and often it is. However your life is edited on IG to impress a special someone, you’re instagranding.
Prowlers are all about the hunt. They love the thrill of the chase more than the security of a lasting relationship. That’s why guys (and girls) who dip once they’ve finally landed a long-term relationship are called prowlers these days.
You might already have been the victim of prowling. Have you ever been on a few great dates with someone who then goes totally cold on you before coming around for attention again a few months later? That person is on the prowl. They’re more interested in playing the field than sticking with one person, so if cuffing is what you’re looking for, keep moving.
Trust us: you do not want to be pocketed. Putting someone in a pocket is basically the idea of hiding a person you’re dating from the rest of your social circle.
If you’ve been dating someone for a while and you think things are going really well but they still won’t introduce you to their friends or family members, you might be a victim of pocketing. You’re in love but being forced to hide it from the world, like some kind of twisted Romeo or Juliet. If you sense some pocketing, tell your partner you deserve to be shown off ASAP.
Imagine a monkey in the jungle, swinging from vine to vine one arm at a time. That’s where the dating term ‘monkeying’ comes from. It refers to when we go from one relationship to the next at a really fast pace. We jump from one breakup right into a new partnership, over and over again.
What makes this a negative thing is that the lack of time in-between relationships doesn’t let us get a lot of clarity. If we’re monkeying, we’re not taking any me-time to find out what we really want and need. When it comes to love, there’s no rush! Lay back and eat a banana every once in a while.
Ever feel like someone is stringing you along one sweet message at a time? Welcome to breadcrumbing. Urban dictionary defines this trend as “the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (ie. "breadcrumbs") in order to lure a partner without expending much effort."
Are people who drop breadcrumbs actually going to date us? Probably not, but maybe. Sometimes people leave crumbs of affection to see if we’re worthy of the whole cookie (see ‘Cookie Jarring’), but who has time for those kinds of games? If you value your own time and know your worth is precious, you won’t be interested.
Relationship expert Dennie Smith calls stashing "a real indicator of a manipulator and someone who wants to end up controlling your activity." That’s because stashing involves someone cutting you off from the people around you and keeping you all to themselves, like a little stash of goodies they aren’t willing to share.
If your SO keeps trying to stop you from seeing your friends and other people in your inner circle, they need to get the chop. No man is an island! We all need more than one person in our lives to keep us afloat, so ditch anyone who tries to cut you off from your own community.
Kittenfishing is like the baby sister of catfishing. People who kittenfish are putting forward a way-too-flattering version of themselves online or on dating profiles for potential partners to find. While catfishers are completely different people than the ones they present online, kittenfishers are the same people, just less photoshopped.
It’s a softer, smaller, and less severe kind of lying. Is it still technically lying? Yes. But who among us hasn’t edited their photos to smooth out some acne or tame some fly-away hairs? There are kittenfishers everywhere, so beware not to believe every photo you see on other people’s socials.
Remember earlier this year when artist Banksy designed a painting to shred itself when it was auctioned off? He built a shredder right into the frame that was set to destroy the painting as soon as it was bought. This kind of thinking ahead is what ‘Banksying’ in dating is all about.
According to The Sun, Banksying is when people are already making plans to end a relationship weeks or months before they follow through with it. The Sun reports that a quarter of respondents to the Plenty of Fish poll said they’d done this before, and “48 percent reckon they’d been on the receiving end.” Ouch.
We all know Scrooge is a bummer in human form. He dumps negativity on everything he touches – at least for the first half of the Dickens story, anyway. Scrooging in 2019 is all about being a hater around the holidays. If you’re a Scrooge, you choose the days right before a vacation, festival, or other romantic moment to dump somebody, basically ruining those experiences for them.
The Scrooge character is also stingy, and so are people who Scrooge. If you break up with someone right before a special holiday or relationship milestone, you avoid having to buy them a gift for that particular holiday or milestone. So cheap!
Ghosting is bad enough without you being reminded of the ghost at every turn. Haunting is when someone who has ghosted you clearly keeps following your social media, but doesn’t make any direct contact with you. It’s like if a guy stopped responding to your messages months ago, but you can still see that he watches your stories every day. Yikes!
The best and boldest remedy for a haunting is to completely cut off the ghost, deleting them from all your social accounts. If you’re too chicken to go through with that, you just might have to put up with them watching you from beyond the dating grave.
Worse than ghosting, worse even than haunting: zombie-ing is when you see someone who ghosted you IN REAL LIFE. How awkward can it get? Zombies pop up in the real world after weeks of disappearing on you with no explanation, and then act like nothing has happened. They’ve basically risen from the dead but they’re playing it cool so you don’t have to talk about where they disappeared to in the first place.
If you’ve ever stopped speaking to someone and then seen them IRL, said hello, and awkwardly walked away, we’re sorry to say that you have been a zombie yourself. It happens to the best of us…almost like it’s contagious…
Benching is the love life equivalent of waiting on the sidelines. If you get benched, you are essentially dating someone who is dating a bunch of people at once and putting you on hold while they explore their options.
It sucks to be benched. The person you’re dating takes forever to return your calls/ messages, and just isn’t prioritizing you over the other relationships in their life. They’re still keeping you on the hook though, just in case they want you later on. In Smith's words: "Benching is when you are clearly someone's Plan B or C while they shop around for a better deal." Oof, that’s harsh.
It’s been said that beards for guys are like makeup for girls. We can see how! A nice line of stubble can camouflage a weak jaw or wonky chin like nothing else. More and more guys have beards these days, and some people are loving it.
Shaveducking is when someone is just attracted to the beard on a guy’s face, not actually the face itself. People who show up to dates expecting someone with a beard but getting disappointed by a smooth face are shaveducking. It’s literally like they duck when they see a shaved face. Keep that stubble growing strong to avoid this epidemic, single men! What do you think: shallow or valid?
Sources: Glamour, The Sun, Plenty Of Fish, Daily Mail, GirlBoss