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All The Dating Terms You Need To Know

All The Dating Terms You Need To Know

Written by Natasha Lawrence

Welcome back to The Dating Diaries.  A series on the trials and tribulations of our collective dating experiences. Our rants, our raves, our first dates and our worst dates. It feels good to get this all off our chests.

As if the dating world wasn’t complicated enough: Will they? Won’t they? They love me. They love me not – there is also a whole slew of dating terms we have to learn to understand what exactly is happening. What ever happened to “first, second and third base”? We’ve talked a little about Cuffing Season and Submarining, but we need to go a little deeper. If you currently find yourself navigating the dating landscape, let us help you figure out what exactly is going on.

Benching vs. Breadcrumbing

Benching: If you’re aware of sports terminology, this one is used much the same as it is in sports – Keeping a potential lover “on the bench” by texting them occasionally and being active on their social media, but never actually making plans to meet up, until another option falls through and some company would be nice. The person is not into you enough to fully commit, but they don’t want to give up on potential opportunities for sex and casual dates.

Breadcrumbing: Keeping someone interested by leaving them proverbial “breadcrumbs”, but never actually meeting up. Breadcrumbers leave little hints of interest – the occasional Instagram like, watching your Stories every now and then, possibly a DM saying “you look cute”, but have no intention of taking things further.

Ghosting vs. Haunting vs. Orbiting vs. Zombieing vs. Caspering

Yeah. It’s a lot. We know.

Ghosting: Quite possibly everyone’s favourite dating term (we mean that sarcastically). Ghosting is suddenly disappearing off the face of the planet without any explanation. They were in your life one minute, and completely gone the next.

Haunting: Probably the most annoying of all. After ghosting, a ‘haunter’ will still be active on your social media, but never make direct contact.

Orbiting: While this term is similar to haunting, there is one crucial difference. Orbiting is when someone who ghosted you still watches your Instagram Stories, checks your Snaps, and likes your posts, all with the intention of letting you know they’re still interested. They want to make sure they are still a part of your life, but don’t want to make any more effort. How do you know if you’re being haunted or orbited? You don’t!

Zombieing: When someone who ghosted you initially, re-appears. They restart conversation as though nothing ever happened. Yay! Don’t you just love it when things come back from the dead?

Caspering: We all know who Casper was. He was “the friendly ghost.” Caspering is when you let someone down gently, instead of full-out ghosting. Instead of ignoring your texts, Casper will respond much later with a simple, but friendly reply, until, you eventually get the point.

Catfishing vs. Kittenfishing

Catfishing: We all watched an episode or two of the MTV show. Catfishing is when a person (ah, more like predator), creates an online identity to trick people into relationships. They’ll use fake photos, names and profiles and never want to meet in person.

Kittenfishing: A less severe form of catfishing. It’s the act of presenting oneself in an unrealistic way on dating apps. Using old or heavily edited photos, lying about your age, job, etc., all done so with the intent of one day meeting up.

Cushioning vs. Paperclipping

Cushioning: Dating someone, but preparing for things to not end well. Instead of ending things, cushion-ers will prepare for the inevitable break-up by flirting with several other people to cushion the blow of the break-up for themselves.

Paperclipping: The term was inspired by the artwork of Samantha Rothenberg via her Instagram, VioletClair. Her page shares illustrations on the ups and downs of dating in the 21st century. One of her posts featured the annoying Microsoft Office digital assistant of yester-year, Clippy, who popped up unexpectedly while using the operating system. Much like it’s namesake, Clippy, Paperclipping is when someone has you on the back burner, but will reach out to re-stroke the flame to make sure you still see them as an option. However, they have no intention of moving things beyond that. They give you false hope of something more.

Cuffing Vs. Fielding

Cuffing: We’ve talked about this one before. Cuffing is a relationship that is meant specifically for the colder months. It’s a relationship that lasts typically between November to February, and both parties are (hopefully) aware that it was never meant to last.

Fielding: Fielding begins just before Cuffing Season. You’re fielding your options for your cold-weather relationship. This begins late summer to early fall.


Situationship: While a stiuationship may feel a lot like a relationship, it’s not. You have sex on the regular, you connect emotionally and text constantly, but you’re not officially committed to each other.

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