The dating scene can be overwhelming especially if you’re using apps. Swipe where and what? Is there match? But what about all the other terms? We hear friends say things like “cat-phishing” or is it “cat-fishing”? and find ourselves searching up what the heck it all means!

If you’ve ever scrolled #dating on any social media platform you’ve probably found words you’ve never heard before. “Rizz”, “ick,” and other commonly used phrases often used by younger generations might not enter our conversations but if you’re curious, Tinder recently launched an in-app “dating dictionary”.

We all know what “ghosting” means but here are some more  words you might want to know…

Benching: Keeping a contender on the roster warm without ever making any real plans. This often happens through constant but irregular communication, with no binding date set for a meet up.

Bounceback (season): You’ve gone through the stages of grief, and now you’re ready for your next hot girl/hot boy era. Pulling your life together after a recent breakup = your official bounceback season.

Breadcrumbing: A low-effort form of flirting, with non-committal messages or signals which show potential interest without the intention to actually date someone. Breadcrumbing keeps someone interested without actual commitment to pursuing flirtation further.

dating - bread crumbing

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Cushioning: Refers to keeping several alternatives or backup relationships (safety pillows) in case the main relationship isn’t permanent.

Daterview: A date that feels more like an interview because no natural conversation develops, but a person constantly “processes” their questions.

Gaslight(ing): Manipulating someone by using psychological methods so that you end up questioning your own reasoning and abilities. 0/10 do not recommend.

Hatfishing: A phrase particular to dating sites (i.e. Tinder, cough cough), hatfishing is when someone wears a hat in every single one of their profile pictures. Whether or not they are concealing baldness, they’re certainly concealing something.

Ick: When a small but noticeable negative trait turns you off from continuing a potential relationship. Icks may or may not be sexual, and can be as basic as chewing loudly, but always result in the death of the relationship.

Kittenfishing: Changing aspects of yourself to appear more attractive to others. Unlike catfishing, this refers to things such as falsely depicting your actual physical appearance rather than making up an entire identity.

Link/Sneaky link: The link is a cool and casual way to get together with the person you’re talking to. The sneaky link is an infinitely more fun, secret way to get together (and probably hook up).

Love Bombing: Bombarding someone at the beginning of the relationship with expressions of love, only to switch up their actions as time goes on. A quintessential red flag.

Love Language: Therapy language is creeping into the way that Gen Z dates, as they look to connect based on authentic compatibility. Young daters first rank the five love languages, and then look to find partners with similar ways to express love.

Simp: Leaving behind “whipped”, nowadays young daters “simp” for their significant others. Simps are completely enamoured with their partner and often at their beck and call. Unrelated, they also instantly become the #1 target of getting teased in the group chat.

Situationship: More than a hookup, but not quite a traditional relationship, the situationship is currently evolving. In 2023, the most updated situationships are casual – yet clearly defined – relationships that allow the freedom to explore, and rely on transparency.

Soft / Hard launch: Launching a relationship on social media is serious business. A soft launch refers to sly hints online that share just enough detail to discern that you are dating someone. Hard launches, on the other hand, involve the first official “couple photo” posted with a full face reveal of your partner.

Spin the Block: When you slide back into the dms of an ex or an old situationship. No judgement here – SZA herself said, “I’d rather just f*** on my ex again”.

Rizz: Short for charisma and formerly known as “having game,” someone with rizz has the ultimate ability to charm others.

Roster: Typically recruited during cuffing season, the roster is a group of dating contenders that can be called on at any time, and benched (see below) as necessary.

Uncuffing Season: A counterpart to the ever-popular “cuffing season,” uncuffing season refers to the early summer months when people break off relationships that formed during the winter prior.

Vibing: Crushing is out, and vibing is definitely in for young daters. The best way to determine whether you like someone is to just ~feel the vibe~, and just assess how comfortable you are together.