The world of online dating introduces more than the promise of a date—or even potential marriage. It also brings new terms everyone looking for love ought to learn. And this means everyone. It may seem like online dating and the jargon that comes with it are just for college kids and millennials, but since online dating is becoming more and more popular with the 50-and-over crowd, even those in the prime of life can learn the lingo of online love.
To help make sure you don’t miss out on a date because you don’t understand the newfangled terms, here’s a list with definitions of some of the hippest and most recent online dating terms to guide you.
If you’re thinking about Hansel and Gretel right now, you’re on the right track. When you put it in online dating terms, breadcrumbing is leading someone on a trail with flirtatious messages but never following through.
Catch and Release
Catch and release is similar to breadcrumbing. These online daters participate in all the steps of wooing, or “catching” a date, but when it comes time for commitment, they “release” and get out of the picture as soon as possible.
A layby is someone to be wary of if you want focus and commitment in a relationship. While still in a relationship, a layby uses online dating apps to find a way out without ever being single. They never want to risk being alone, so they flirt online with many other potential partners, even while they’re currently in a relationship.
Ghosting is when you’ve been engaging online with someone and they suddenly disappear, never to be heard from again. Back in the day, this practice was referred to as “going out for a pack of cigarettes.” While ghosting is 100% inconsiderate, it’s also common. In fact, 80% of millennials report being a victim of ghosting.
Zombie-ing is when someone who has ghosted you starts trying to come back into your life. It’s just like a ghost coming back from the dead. All of a sudden they were out of your life, and now they are trying to creep back into it.
Let’s say you’ve officially broken up with someone. Maybe you ghosted them or maybe you actually had a conversation. Haunting is when the person who you broke up with keeps appearing all over your social media with the intention of staying in your life, whatever the reason may be.
FWB, or friends with benefits, means friends who like to spend time together, aren’t officially in a relationship, and like to have casual sex here and there. If you’re looking for something more serious, you probably want to avoid messaging someone with “FWB” or “casual” in their dating profile.
DTR stands for “define the relationship.” This conversation takes place between you and someone you’re dating to decide if you’re just friends with benefits, officially in a relationship, or ready to break up.
To deep-like is when someone interested in you goes through your social media and likes posts so old that even you forgot about them. Not even your mom is as interested in these posts as they are. So if you get a few “like” notifications on posts from 2007, you may want to look into kindling a relationship because they officially are interested in you.
Benching usually happens right before you feel an oncoming DTR. When one party isn’t exactly sure how they feel, they bench the other partner. They don’t exactly break up with them; they just put them on the sidelines and may or may not come back to the relationship, depending on what else comes along.
The slow fade is slightly different than benching or ghosting. When someone slow fades a partner, they dramatically reduce the amount of communications they have with the other person until, eventually, the other person never hears from them again.
A reference to handcuffing someone to your side, cuffing season starts the same time as the season of hot chocolate, snowfall, and blankets. People who are perfectly happy being single during the summer months suddenly decide to find a relationship. When it becomes colder and more fun to stay in and cuddle than go out on the town, suddenly people care about not being alone.
Sliding into My DMs Like
You’re casually going about your business on social media when suddenly you get a flirtatious direct message (DM) from a stranger. You can say they “slid into your DMs like” because they moved a romantic conversation from a public forum to a private forum (your DMs).
Netflix and Chill
No, Netflix and chill does not mean get together and watch a movie. It means get together, turn on Netflix (maybe), and get it on. Definitely watch out for this term when a prospective date plans your night so you know what you’re saying yes to.
Online dating can seem like a new world and a new language, but don’t let yourself feel intimidated. Familiarize yourself with these terms, and get out there to find the one you’re looking for—and maybe even slide into their DMs if you’re feeling brave.