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Modern Dating Terms and Their Meanings

Finally! A Dating Dictionary to Decode Your Love Life

There comes that moment in everyone's life when someone, usually someone younger, uses lingo you don't understand. At first, you panic — has it happened, am I old, do I need to start collecting batteries and worrying about interest rates?

Next, you nod along, too afraid to ask what it means. Finally, your flight instinct kicks in and you head to the nearest corner to Google, "SMH meaning".

To make matters worse, there's one place where the rules are changing daily — the dating game. Back in our parents' day, dating consisted of two steps — 'going steady' and getting married. Nowadays, you require a degree to figure out what's going on and even then, it involves a lot of guesswork.

Luckily for you, we've compiled a list of the latest dating terms and defined exactly what they mean. Read on, romancers.


Arguably the most popular of the new breed terms, ghosting is what happens when someone who you are dating/seeing/texting suddenly disappears. They're not replying to your messages, they won't agree to see you, they have become like Casper, except less friendly and more mysterious.

What you can do: Everything I learnt about getting rid of ghosts comes from Ghostbusters . . . So I guess you have to track down Bill Murray and ask him to help out? Otherwise just cut your losses and run.


This may sound delicious, but in the dating world, breadcrumbing is bad news. Basically, it involves someone showing you just enough attention to keep you interested but not enough to make a commitment. So while you may get a bi-monthly like on Insta, don't expect much else.

What you can do: As much as it goes against every instinct you may have, it's time to stop picking up the crumbs. Don't reply to any DMs, don't let your heart flutter when a Facebook message appears. Crumbs are for seagulls, not superstars.


Also known as "haunting", this is a graduation from ghosting and it refers to the 'back from the dead' vibes you may cop from your former ghost. Picture this: You post a semi-cute picture of you and your best friend on a random guy's boat and it's going off on social media. Within the hour, your old ghost reappears, trying to win you back with a poorly constructed "Yo, how you been" direct message. You've just been zombied.

What you can do: Nothing. The power is all yours. You can either vanquish your zombie, Walking Dead style, or make love to them, Twilight style. Your call.

Cuffing season

The minute the mercury drops below twenty degrees, cuffing season begins. Basically, this refers to the time when #SingleandSexySummer is over and suddenly everyone wants to shack up and bunker down for the cooler months.

What you can do: If the House of Stark has taught us anything, it's that Winter is always Coming, so it pays to get used to being cold and alone. Don't get shacked up for one season, just for no reason.


Has your latest crush kept up semi-regular communication but failed to actually show face at any real life meetings? Welcome to the bench. Essentially, you're a safety net. Much like riding the bench in sport, if things got horribly wrong you might be required, but don't expect much action otherwise.

What you can do: Benching is beneath you. If you suspect you're being benched, then immediately cut all ties or bench the person who is benching you. Yeah, that's right, the revenge bench. Strong move.

Thirst Trap

Similar to a humble brag, a thirst trap is a sneaky way of pretending to do one thing while really doing another. The intention is to make someone else thirsty or jealous, but in a subtle manner. So if your latest lover is starting to ice you out, you might post a picture of yourself with a cup of coffee. The caption reads . . . Coffee = Lifesaver #CaffeineKween #DownToOneADay.

After some heavy editing, you know full well you look like Emily Ratajkowski and so, you post it, knowing the effect it will have. Congrats, you've just set a thirst trap.

What you can do: Keep killing it. Or admit that the simple act of setting a trap is a loss in itself.

Image Source: Paramount Pictures
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