Modern-day dating terms

Whether you’re eavesdropp­ing on the woman at the next table as she relates her latest dating mishap, trying to understand your grown-up child, or playing the dating game yourself, it helps to stay on top of the latest terms and trends. You might just find out that you’re a closet kittenfish­er. (It happens.) GHOSTING

Quite possibly the worst form of rejection: one day he’s there, the next day, poof, gone. No texts, no calls, no formal break-up, no closure – nothing. Or, worse yet, you find yourself blocked, unfriended, unfollowed. Some people feel that performing a vanishing act sends the ‘I’m no longer interested’ message better than any actual message could. This is not a recommende­d practice, obvs. But should you ever experience it, always remember that it says more about them than it does about you.


A member of the ghosting family, zombie-ing is pretty much what it sounds like: when someone drops out of your life so suddenly that the only logical conclusion is that they’ve died – only for them to resurface months later, as if nothing happened. All of a sudden your phone is blowing up with texts and comments from the same person who so casually disappeare­d. You’ve been zombied – but that doesn’t mean you have to let them back into your life.


Orbiting may seem like ghosting at first. An orbiter will cut off all direct communicat­ion, whether physical or online, but will continue to view and interact with all your social media content. So they will like all your photos and view all your stories but never actually talk to you or respond to messages. According to Anna Iovine, the writer who coined the term, ‘keeping you in their orbit’ means they remain close enough to keep an eye on you, ‘but far enough to never talk’. It might be time to take a serious look at the ‘block’ button.


Benching is essentiall­y a sports metaphor: it refers to being kept as a backup while your love interest plays the field (sports metaphor #2) and keeps their options open. Perhaps they’ll take you on an occasional date or send the odd flirty message, but nothing that indicates any commitment. There are various opinions on this one; some feel that dating multiple people until you find the best fit is normal and healthy. So is that what’s happening, or is he just stringing you along? To borrow a phrase from a once-popular dating manual: maybe he’s just not that into you.


Curving is the more polite cousin of benching. They are happy to chat on Whatsapp, but whenever you try to lock down plans they’ll claim to be busy or respond with a vague ‘Let’s catch up soon’, or ‘Maybe next week’. Perhaps they really are swamped. But generally, if someone really wants to see you, they will. Onwards and upwards.


This is when a person enters into an online-based romantic relationsh­ip using someone else’s personal info. The term went mainstream in 2010 when Ariel Schulman made a documentar­y (Catfish) that explored the phenomenon. Catfishing is basically identity theft, and can even end up in a courtroom if the victim decides to act. The catfisher not only creates an online profile with a photo of someone else, but can take it as far as using their videos, personal info, their family’s informatio­n – basically, anything that is publicly available online – to trick you into thinking they’re someone else. Pay attention to the

subtle signs here, especially when it comes to their social media interactio­n. The biggest giveaway is often when the person has a small number of followers or friends, they do not have any comments or interactio­ns on their pictures, they refuse any video calls and they’re reluctant (or flat-out refuse) to meet in person. Major red flags!


This one was coined by a dating app called Hinge and is the lighter version of catfishing. Kittenfish­ing is the use of heavily edited or extremely outdated pictures as a display picture, usually on dating apps. Yes, filters smooth out your skin like nothing else and you love that pic of yourself from 2007, but using it as your Tinder profile pic is a tad misleading, don’t you think? People don’t take kindly to meeting someone who looks completely different to (or 10 years older than) their online photos.

Best avoid this practice. And if you are engaging in an online chat, try to make it a Skype video chat to see who’s really behind the screen.


When your single friend suddenly starts to post sexy selfies or slightly-out-of-character ‘Look at how much fun I am having!’ pics on her Instagram account, she may well be Instagrand­standing – tailoring her photos to get a certain someone’s attention on social media. Suddenly she’s sharing ‘Go, team!’ pics of herself at a rugby game (when she’s never shown any interest in the Stormers before) or snapping photos of the thriller she’s supposedly reading, when you know for a fact she has nothing but Marian Keyes lining her shelves. It’s a tactical move.


So you’ve just met someone, and things are going well, but you have a trip coming up that you’ve been planning for ages. Hey, why not invite them along? It will be fun, and spontaneit­y is good, right? The only problem is this: when you’re sipping cocktails in a romantic destinatio­n or having adventures together, all the holiday feels may well make you think there’s more of a connection than there really is when you’re back home just being yourselves. Travel can also force you to be more intimate than you’d usually be at this point, possibly sharing a bed or a bathroom, and getting a close-up look at their private habits (flossing in bed, leaving their clothes strewn across the floor…). Or, the budding romance will crash and burn, and ruin your trip – not everyone makes for a good travel partner. Proceed with caution.

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