In case you haven’t noticed, dating in 2019 is complicated — not rocket science-complicated, but rubik’s cube-complicated at the very least. Despite the process being dissected and analysed by everyone from relationship therapists to your Sunday brunch group chat; it remains a mystery to most of us. Add in some ultra-confusing and ultra-new dating terms (like, is ‘ghosting’ not a thing anymore?) and we’re officially out of our depth.
If you’ve been finding yourself in some specific situations only social-media jargon can untangle, we got you. Here, your dating dictionary decoded.
Picture this: you’re really getting along well with the person you’ve just started dating. The chemistry is good, the conversation is cracking and they are showering you with more affection than Jay-Z did Beyoncé post-Lemonade. They initiate talk of trips, buy you gifts, compliment you, call you just to say hello, and it goes on like this for a few weeks or months. And then… nothing. You, dear friend, just got ‘love bombed’.
While it may sound a bit like ‘ghosting’, the focus here is on the intensity of their affections. Typical of those with narcissistic tendencies as well as those who are ‘in love with love’, love bombing is a largely unconscious behaviour. In some scenarios, it happens because the instigator becomes frightened by the extent of their feelings, and in others, it can come from the more sinister notion of having ‘got’ the object of their affections.
Unlike traditional ghosting which involves a person going AWOL without a trace, ‘soft ghosting’ is the infuriating act of simply ‘liking’ your text instead of actually replying.
It puts the ball back in the messenger’s court, without really giving them anything to work with, basically saying: “Hi, I have nothing to add nor do I want to continue this line of communication, so please accept this ‘like’ as a token of my acknowledgement. Buh-bye.”
Referring to a court side bench over a park-side one, ‘benching’ is when you put a potential relationship on ice in favour of a more promising one. If you have two people on your radar and one is giving you better vibes, you might ‘bench’ the other — by easing off the pedal and talking less — and then come back to them if the other option falls through.
‘Flirting’ is so 2018. ‘Caking’ is a slight variation on flirting where you’re sweeter and more receptive than usual to the person you’re trying to connect with. Think more easy laughter and interest.
Consider ‘cloaking’ the new ‘ghosting’ — only much, much crueller. If Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak sprang to mind, you’re not far off. Where being ‘ghosted’ involved your potential love interest simply going radio silent on all channels of communication (charming), getting ‘cloaked’ means they have not only disappeared — they’ve straight up unmatched and blocked you on all of the apps. Rude.
The reverse form of benching. If you’ve been seeing someone and have yet to DTR (that is: defined the relationship), and then find out they’ve been seeing someone else behind your back, you’ve been ‘cookie-jarred.’ That is, keeping you handy in case their other person doesn’t work out.
You know those bad dates that come off more like job interviews than natural flirting? Yep, that’s a ‘daterview.’ If you spent the entire meal being pounded with serious question after question — ‘When was your last relationship?’ ‘Do you want kids?’ ‘What’s your opinion on moving to the coast to live in a restored farmhouse?’ — it was a daterview.
Next On Deck
Kind of like waiting in the wings, having someone be ‘next on deck’ means they’re a cute option that you’ll call up if your current thing doesn’t work out.
Ever had a relationship fizzle out and then keep realising that person constantly watches your Instagram Stories, opens your Snapchat and likes your post? Maybe you’re being orbited. Orbiting is a trick some people use to let a former fling know they’re still interested.
If you’ve been seeing someone for a while but they won’t introduce you to their friends or family, it’s possible you’re being pocketed. This means they’re keeping you on the down-low — ‘in their pocket’ — until they decide how they feel about you.
Things with your partner slowing down to an almost crawl? Have the texts, calls, dates and DMs become much less frequent? This is what the kids call a ‘slow fade.’ Skipping over the mess of breaking up with someone, ‘slow fading’ is the drawn-out version of ghosting.
This article first appeared on ELLE AU.