Online Dating Terms

If you are going to be out there in the dating world there are some terms you should familiarize yourself with. This is not a comprehensive list, so if I missed any please feel free to add them in the comments!

Bae: A term of endearment, a shortened version of babe or baby. Because apparently those words aren’t already short enough. It is also a Danish word for poop, and the acronym for “before anyone else”, “best at everything” and “bacon and eggs”. Use at your own risk.

Bread crumbing: Sending occasional flirty texts or giving just enough attention to keep someone’s hope of a relationship alive. Also known as “Hansel and Gretelling” for those of you who remember fairy tales that don’t involve vampires that sparkle in the sun.

Bot: A fictitious account on a dating app, designed to get you to hit a link or give up an email address and eventually pay money to see more.

Catfishing: So common that Merriam-Webster has actually added the term to the dictionary, it is used to refer to internet predators that fabricate identities in order to trick people into emotional relationships. Bottom feeders, much like an actual catfish.

Cuffing Season: That period during the fall and winter months when people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves desiring to be tied down by a relationship. Essentially the hibernation of the dating world, it is about as far from the kinky thing it sounds like as possible.

Curving: Like ghosting, but instead of just leaving you hanging their replies will get further and further apart, and will contain lots of “I’m sorry, I got caught up with <insert predictable excuse here>.”

Cushioning (or benching): A technique where you have a main partner or potential partner, but you are chatting and flirting with other people that you are keeping on the bench to cushion the potential fall if your better option doesn’t work out.

DTF: If you don’t know this one, congratulations, you have led the perfect life. Or a really boring one. Either way, if you see a profile with “DTF” on it, or someone asks you if you are “DTF”, make sure all of your personal maintenance is in order and that you are freshly showered.

DTR: The natural follow up to “we need to talk”, this one stands for Define the Relationship.

Firedooring: Just like that safety door at work, this is when access is entirely one sided. Any attempt to make initiating contact, meeting needs, or confirming plans go both ways is met with a flat, hard, impenetrable surface.

Ghosting: When a person cuts off all communication with a partner or potential partner and completely disappears, with no notice or explanation given.

Haunting: Occurring after ghosting, this is when the ghoster continues indirect contact by liking your social media content, but is still not responding to any direct communication attempts.

Kittenfishing: The most commonly used tactic when online dating, kittenfishing is making yourself seem way different online than you are in person. This means using really old pictures, fibbing about things like height, weight, or size, or exaggerating your interest, skills, or talents. Basically wasting everyone’s time.

Meet-cute: A scenario in which two people are brought together in some crazy, unlikely, destined to be together forever kind of way. See any romantic comedy for an example. If anyone has seen it happen in real life let me know, I certainly haven’t.  

Pied Pipers or Pie Hunters: People who deliberately seek out singles who have a disastrous dating history, so they can hook up with them when they are at their most vulnerable.

Sapiosexual: Originally defined as a person who is attracted to someone’s mind before their body, many online daters are now using it as a statement against the current hookup culture, to let others know they want more than just sex.

Stashing: When you are in a relationship with someone but you refuse to introduce them to your friends or family. Likely because you view them as temporary, replaceable, or lacking in some way. A nice word for being an asshole.

Sup: If you hear this from someone, move on. Anyone too lazy to say or write all 7 letters of what’s up is also going to be too lazy to satisfy you in any other way.

Thirsty: When you are so eager for attention, sexual or otherwise, that you basically look like a dehydrated fool wandering in the desert, willing to lap up anything thrown your way.  

Author: The Happy Traveler

The Happy Traveler lives in a northern Canadian community of about 80,000 people. She has a professional career, a wicked sense of humor, and a teenage son that spends a lot of time shaking his head at her. She is taller than most women, more robust than a fashion model, and smiles incessantly. In her spare time she immerses herself in sci-fi and fantasy culture, plays card and board games, and explores the outdoors whenever possible. She eats meat, nuts, and bread, and cannot stand the taste of artificial pumpkin spice.

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