Through my younger friends I have been dishing out relationship advice. Some of them I think are pretty crappy (my advice I mean) and of course made worse under the influence of alcohol. Uncle Agony time as I like to call it. Here’s my conclusion that the convenience of dating apps has made the world of modern romance a pretty insensitive place. There are even new terms to describe the ways you can be poorly treated on today’s dating scene.
Here are a couple that I learnt along the way during the chats.
- Stashing is the latest sly dating technique you may have been a victim of. It occurs when the person you’re dating doesn’t introduce you to their friends or family, and doesn’t post about you on social media. Basically, you’re their secret boyfriend or girlfriend, while they feel justified in “stashing” you in the corner, pretending nothing is going on to the outside world, and keeping their options open.
- Ghosting is probably one of the best-known dating terms out there. It refers to when someone you’ve been seeing vanishes without a trace. You could have been dating someone a few days, or a few months, but one day they simply disappear. They don’t return your texts, and may even block you to avoid having the break-up conversation with you. It’s cowardly, but depressingly common, especially with a vast array of dating apps at our fingertips.
- If you’ve been ghosted, the culprit may resurface one day. This is called zombie-ing. It’s usually a fair amount of time after they disappeared into thin air, and they often act like nothing happened, like a cocky re-animated corpse. An innocuous “hey” might appear on WhatsApp, or something similar to tempt you to reply. Thanks to social media, the zombie might also try to get back into your life by following you and liking your posts on Instagram and Twitter.
- Before you have “the talk” with your new partner about whether you are in an exclusive relationship, you are at risk of being “benched.” Like the sports term, where players are left on the bench as reserves, you might find yourself being someone’s back-up option as they continue to look around. They may come back to you if nobody better comes along, but that doesn’t give one high hopes for the relationship, does it?
- Catch and release is favoured by people who love the thrill of the chase. They’ll put all their effort into flirtatious texts, and trying to date you, until they “catch” you. When you finally agree to the date, they immediately lose interest and seek out their next target. The culprit clearly gets something out of it, but for the victim it’s just confusing and annoying.
- “Breadcrumbing” is when somebody seems to be pursuing you, but really they have no intention of being tied down to a relationship. It might be difficult to tell in the early stages, especially if you met online, because you’ll receive a series of texts that suggest they are interested. However, it soon becomes clear that this person has no intention of following through with anything they’ve said. They just like leaving you breadcrumbs, like a trail in Hansel and Gretel, to string you along.
- If you’re “cushioning” someone, it means you’re dating them but you don’t think it’s going to end well. Instead of cutting loose, you prepare for the break-up by chatting and flirting with several other people, to cushion the blow when it happens. Why they don’t just bite the bullet and initiate the break-up themselves is a mystery.
- The term “catfish” was coined by the documentary film Catfish by Henry Joost, Nev Schulman, and Ariel Schulman, and refers to when a person lures someone into a relationship by pretending to be someone else in an online platform. It has since become a hugely successful show on MTV, where people write in to ask hosts Nev and Max to track down people they are talking to online. They try and figure out whether the person is being catfished. Catfishes often steal photos from strangers’ profiles, and sometimes even create multiple personas to make their stories more believable. Creepy.
- “Kittenfishing” is like a less severe form of catfishing. It refers to when you present yourself in an unrealistically positive way on your dating apps – for example, by only using photos which are years out of date or heavily edited, or lying about your age, job, height, and hobbies. The lies are immediately obvious if you do meet up, so just don’t do it.
- The “slow fade” is a bit like ghosting, without the full commitment. They’re not particularly interested in taking things further, but instead of saying so they gradually start to cut ties. First, they stop being as responsive to texts or calls, then they may cancel plans and be unwilling to arrange new ones. Eventually, the communication between the two of you dwindles into nothing without the decency of having a proper conversation. How mature.
Why did I learn all of these? Just to keep up with the chats either through Skype, Whatsapp or iMessage. You have the admire of the person who came up with these terms and made them popular. And just happy that I can play my role as Uncle Agony to my friends!