The Periodic Table of Dating: Dating terms you need to know

With so many online dating sites and apps, you could be forgiven for thinking that dating today is easier now than it ever was before. However, now there are modern terms and definitions which you need to become familiar with to get through your dating experience successfully.

Vivastreet have compiled the periodic table of dating terms to highlight the most popular modern dating terms and their meanings you’re likely to come across during dating. By getting to grips with these terms, you could avoid any misunderstandings, and most importantly help keep you up to speed.

So, if you’ve never heard of ‘orbiting’ or think ‘pokemon-ing’ is just a 90s childhood game, follow the periodic table below to find out more.

*Click on the image to zoom in.

A periodic table of modern dating terms

Category: Keeping it casual

Cushioning: Having on hand a second option to turn to should your relationship fail, and you want to soften those feelings of rejection.

Breadcrumbing: Leaving someone hopeful of keeping the relationship alive by offering just the right amount of attention.

Talking: If you are talking to a person, it usually means you are dating them, albeit casually.

Cuffing Season: The time during winter when those usually content with casually dating or being single, decide they’d prefer to be in a committed relationship.

Non-Date Date: Meeting the person you have been talking to online, but not classing it as a date! It does, however, include a lot of alcohol, flirtatious vines, and intense eye contact.

On A Thing: No longer is ‘seeing someone’ referred to, this is the new dating term. Also used to refer to being in a relationship that is neither official nor casual.

Hangout: Hanging out equals more fun and relaxed dating experience which alleviates any pressure.

NSA: No strings attached.

Bad Pancake: This is the person you date after a breakup who you don’t necessarily see a future with but want to stay in the dating game.

Drafting: One stage before ‘cushioning,’ the time when people play the field to get an idea of whether they’re the type of person to settle for a cushioning season.

Dationship: You’re a couple in a relationship, but you both know the other isn’t the one, so it’s more like dating.

Megadating: Juggling your time dating several people all at once.

It’s Complicated: A relationship whereby you aren’t ready to confirm despite getting on great, spending lots of time with one another and sleeping together.

Seridipidating: Putting off dates, hoping that a better person will soon come along, almost as if leaving it all up to fate.

Sex Interview: Some people use this as a way of determining whether to bother getting to know a person initially.

Situationship: Also referred to by some as ‘On a Thing,’ situationship is a romantic relationship that you can’t quite label or define.

Freckling: A summer fling that disperses as the winter sets in.

Category: Digital dating

Flexting: A digital boast or brag to impress your date before meeting them.

Slide into his/her DMs: A direct message sent on Twitter to flirt with someone unknown.

Orbiting: Continuing to follow someone, despite ghosting.

Textlationship: A relationship or association which never entirely goes beyond the screen.

Slow Fade: Chatting with someone who initially seems keen, but you realise over time that the conversation is slowly fading out alongside any contact.

Haunting: Reappearing to follow and like posts without making any contact.

FBO: Facebook Official.

Deep Like: Showing your crush you like them by subtly indicating interest in their past time-feed.

Meme Mistress: Flirting online by being tagged in specific memes.

Tour Guide Seeker: Using a dating app to date in a new country as well as taking in the local hotspots.

AF: As F**k.

E-Fit: Carefully depicting social media pictures and posts to serve as your online dating profile.

Peacocking: Gaining attention, just like a peacock, by dressing up for Instagram and possibly IRL.

Catfishing: Using social media to shape multiple false identities with the intention of pursuing online relationships.

Kittenfishing: Using old or edited photos to present a less than accurate profile.

Dating Fatigue: A tiredness when trying to look for love successfully.

Instaficial: The first official picture of you as a couple posted on Instagram.

Pen Pal: Someone you message or text regularly but hardly see in real life.

Sexting: Sending or receiving sexual content with another, mainly by phone.

Phil Jonesing: Sending photos to one another, but, unlike yours, theirs lacks effort.

Nonversation: Dating app small talk which does nothing for either party.

Freeclimbing: Stalking social media accounts for the upper hand before meeting with a person.

Nudes: A word used to convince a person to send naked pictures.

Tindstagramming: Sneaking into someone’s Instagram DM’s, despite not matching with them on Tinder.

Fauxbae’ing: Pretending to have a significant other on social media, though single.

Greggsing: Discovering the person you talk to online is not actually who you thought they’d be when meeting in person.

Swiping: Sliding your finger across the screen when looking through profile pictures.

Bot: A robot account made to look like a real person, usually on a dating site.

Category: Hook up

Uncuffing: Ditching your winter cuff in time for summer.

Slay: Someone aiming to hook up for no-strings-attached times.

FWB: Friends with Benefits.

DMFO: Dance Floor Make Out.

Pokemoning: Trying to bed as many partners as possible.

F**k buddy: A FWB scenario, you can depend on this buddy for a hook-up.

Stashing: When one person refuses to acknowledge the relationship publicly. 

Netflix & Chill: Involves no Netflix and no chilling – but quite the opposite!

DTF: Down To F**k.

Zombieing: Communication resumed out of the blue.

Umfriend: No labelled definition of your partners.

Marleying: An ex getting in touch out of nowhere at Christmas time.

Sunday Night Fever: Texting someone as a distraction for your Sunday night blues.

Half Night Stand: Leaving as soon as sex is over rather than staying the night.

Several Night Stand: Sleeping with someone multiple times but never taking it further.

Category: Polyamorous

Open Relationship: Both partners agree they can sleep with other people.

Monogamish: Going outside of the relationship to explore and fulfil needs.

Micro-cheating: Hiding stuff from your partner, such as messaging an ex.

Monkeying: Swinging from one relationship to another, with little time between each one.

Category: It’s official

A Thing: The period for two people before they officially date. 

IRL: In Real Life.

DTR: Define the Relationship.

BAE: Before All Else.

LDR: Long Distance Relationship.

Hiberdating: Dating indoors.

Exclusive: Where two people are committed to the relationship.

Ship: Endorsing or approving a couple.

Category: Not that into you

Phubbing: Preferring to look at your phone rather than your date.

The Lemming: Someone who instantly ditches a partner when a friend comes out of their relationship.

Ross Kemping: When you haven’t heard from someone for ages, but then they DM you, no explanations given.

Friend-Zoned: One person wants to be just friends, but the other’s interested in something more.

Curving: Turning down advances in a gentle way.

The Ick: Feeling repulsed by a person after just a few dates.

Ghostbusting: Forcing someone to reply.

F**kboy: The bad boy womaniser who causes heartbreak.

R-Bombed: When your message is read but not responded to.

Mooning: When someone turns off all notifications from you, not wanting to bother with you right now.

Submarining: Messaging someone weeks after ghosting them, completely oblivious.

Sidebarring: Checking and using your phone inconsiderably on a date.

Shaveducking: Realising you’re attracted to someone possibly because of their beard.

Catch and Release: Someone who loves the thrill of the chase but rarely stays the relationship distance.

Thirsty: A person desperately needy for attention.

Thirst Trap: A trap laid to gain the attention of a crush with a seductive photo.

Boomerang: A person who never initially responded to you but whose relationship has ended, and they’ve come straight back to you.

Ostriching: Those who block you within 24 hours, rather than wait for you to respond to their messages.

Layby: Dating someone who’s okay but keeping your options open in the fast lane.

On the Hook: Not being interested in someone but dropping enough hints to keep them interested in you.

Emergency Call: A fake get out which excuses you from a disastrous date.

Pie Hunting: When someone deliberately targets vulnerable people for a lower maintenance date.

Serendipidating: When someone constantly waits for a better option.

Backburner Relationship: Maintaining a flirty relationship with an ex in case your current relationship doesn’t work out.

Platonic:  A relationship that is not sexual.

Category: Hot under the collar

Tuning: Wanting a relationship to progress but frustratingly not being clear and upfront about it.

WERK: Putting in a great deal of effort to get someone to agree to go on a date with you finally.

X-Factor: Though you can’t quite explain it, the something about your other half, which is hot.

Breezing: Being direct and forthcoming, saying what you want in your relationship – the total opposite of playing any games or following any rules.

Sapiosexual: A person who finds the intellect of someone one of the most sexist things about them.

Grafting: Working hard to get another person to like you.

Snack: Someone so attractive you want to just eat them.

Category: Toxic

Devaluing and Discarding: Breaking down your date’s confidence and then ridding of them.

Love Bombing: Giving someone the cold shoulder after offering them an elaborate dating experience.

D**ksand: Becoming so obsessed with someone you lose interest in your own life and friends.

Backpedal: Getting back with an ex despite initially instigating your break-up.

Jelly: A slang word for jealous.

Kray Bae: Discovering your new partner is, in fact, crazy and you need to ghost them asap.

Exing: Still obsessed with your ex and all the drama that goes with it.

Blizzard Buddy: Someone you develop a relationship with, merely to see out the harsher weather without being on your own.

Cricketing: Leading someone on over a period, just to torture them.

Stealthing: When a man takes their condom off during sex, despite not informing or asking for his partner’s consent.

Gaslighting: When one person in the relationship emotionally abuses, making the other continually question everything about themselves.

Mosting:  When someone comes onto you with solid compliments – but then ghosts. A high level of connection and intimacy but the lowest level of personal emotions.

Yodo: You Only Dump Once, and in no way have any intentions of going back to those who’ve dumped this way – for good reasons.

Roaching: Finding out your other half’s casually seeking someone else, though haven’t yet cheated but claim they didn’t realise this was a monogamous relationship – thereby shifting the blame.

Preating: This happens right before infidelity when you intentionally get close to someone but don’t actually cheat.

Firedooring: When one person seems to have all the power in your relationship.

Recycling: Going back to an ex or constantly breaking up and getting back together with an ex.

Keep yourself safe with dating lingo

Though this may seem like a minefield to wade through before you even get an actual date, it’s worth bearing in mind here that you won’t necessarily need or also come across every single one of these terms during your dating experience.

However, by being prepared for all possibilities, you ensure that you can get the most positive dating experience, bypass any unusual or troublesome behaviour, and ultimately connect with someone else on a better level who may be fully conversant with such terms. Therefore, you give yourself a head start towards a potentially beautiful and fulfilling relationship in the process.



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