• Melissa Kartini

13 Modern Dating Terms You Should Know

Updated: Aug 6, 2018

Just when you’ve wrapped your mind around dating terms like “Netflix and Chill”, “DTF” and “ONS”, an entirely new slang word smacks you right in the face, rendering you confused.

Phubbing? Stashing? Benching?

Who comes up with this stuff?

But it is what it is. With the emergence of social media and online dating apps, it comes as to no surprise that the dating landscape has changed as well. Things just aren’t the way they used to be, so here’s a list of modern dating terms to catch you right up to speed:


“Phubbing” is a combination of the words “phone” and “snubbing”. This term is basically used when the person you’re on a date with is on their phone, effectively snubbing you in the process. Of course, there are times when you may use your phone, such as if you are expecting an important call or… Well, that’s pretty much it. When you’re on a date with someone, you should keep your cellphone use to a minimum- or not use it at all.


Stashing is what happens when you think you’re in a relationship with someone, but they’ve failed to introduce you to their family and friends. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they also don’t post about you on social media. Pictures, Facebook statuses, tweets… Not a single whiff of you. It is as though you don’t exist. The reason for this happening is simple: they wish to keep their options open.


If you’re on the verge of striking an exclusive relationship with someone, you may be at the risk of being “benched”. Benching is very much like what it sounds like. Like the sports term where players sit on the bench as reserves, you may be second choice as your special someone continues to date around. If they don’t manage to find someone better, they may fall back to you- their second choice.


Ghosting is one of those newer dating terms that more people are familiar with. Ghosting is essentially what happens when the person you’ve been dating suddenly disappears without so much as a “how do you do”. They don’t answer any of your calls and texts, just so they can avoid having a confrontation with you. Certainly not the bravest thing to do, but it is exceedingly common, especially in this day and age when we can simply Block someone with a click of a button.


When you’ve been ghosted, there is a chance that your dear ghost may reappear. This is what zombie-ing is. As the term implies, zombie-ing is when what was supposed to be dead and gone suddenly comes back to life. After weeks, months or even years of no contact, your zombie may send an innocuous “Hey” to your inbox, in hopes of reigniting that old spark. If they have you on other social media, they may try commenting on and liking your posts as well.


Haunting is when someone you’ve stopped seeing continues to interact with you on social media. It is somewhat similar to zombie-ing, but in a much more passive sense. For instance, instead of commenting on your post or photograph, they may “Like” it instead. Needless to say, this sort of behaviour is enough to drive some people crazy. Do they want to get back together or not? Or are they just messing with you? What do they want?


This is when a person strings you along with no intention of following up. They may send you lots of flirtatious texts, Snapchats and cute memes, anything that would imply that they are into you… except that they are not. You’ll know that you’re in this situation when you’ve been flirting with each other for a while, but the other person never makes any date plans nor do they ever agree to any. Annoying, but it happens.


Cushioning is what happens when the person you’re dating doesn’t think the relationship will end well. So just in case, they have other romantic prospects around to cushion the blow for when the breakup actually happens. Why they don’t initiate the breakup themselves is a question worth asking, but I think we all know the answer to that.

Slow fade

“Slow fade” is similar to ghosting, but not quite as dramatic. Rather than cutting ties abruptly, when a person slow fades on you, they will gradually respond to your texts less and less, won’t be as responsive to your calls, and may cancel plans and be unwilling to make new ones. They’ll keep doing this until finally- silence. Cowardly? Oh, most definitely.


Catfishing is another modern dating term that just about everyone is familiar with. It refers to when a person pretends to be someone else online in order to lure their target into a relationship. Catfishes usually use someone else’s profile picture and make up a persona to make themselves more believable. Creepy, and potentially dangerous.


Kittenfishing is much tamer than catfishing, but still aggravating enough to deserve a term of its own. This is when someone presents themselves in an overly positive manner online. For example, they may use a photograph of themselves from ten years ago, or lie about their age, hobbies or height. This sort of thing is a waste of time for both parties, because the lie(s) would immediately be obvious when it’s time to meet up.

Catch and Release

“Catch and release” is when a person pursues you for the thrill of it. They try all they can to date you. They’ll put a lot of effort into flirting with you, impressing you- just to date you. Once they “catch” you, they’ll lose interest and move on to their next target. It’s a lot like when fishermen catch fish then release them back into the sea.

Cuffing Season

Cuffing season. This is when having a boyfriend or girlfriend seems a lot more appealing during certain times of year. A prime example of this would have to be Valentine’s Day. It is during times like these when a certain breed of people would be on the prowl for someone to be their temporary beau, just so they won’t be lonely during that time. They’ll go as far as to make compromises on their choice of partner too, only to breakup once the season is over. Fun!

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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