Ghosting. Breadcrumbing. Benching. Paperclipping. When it comes to
talking about dating in 2019, you need a whole new vocabulary. And while most of us have heard of ghosting by now, you may find yourself occasionally pretending you know what your friend means when she tells you, "Ugh, I think my Tinder date is kittenfishing me." "Oh good," you might say, thinking that kittens are adorable, so kittenfishing must be something positive. You'd be wrong. Very wrong. To make sure that you never mix up benching and breadcrumbing, ghosting and haunting, we've put together a handy guide to all the new dating terms you should know about. Benching
Going back to around 2016, "
" refers to the act of keeping a potential love interest "on the bench" by texting them and liking their social media posts, but never actually meeting up.
Similar to benching,
means keeping someone interested in you by leaving them "breadcrumbs" — little nuggets of interest, like an occasional Instagram like — but never actually meeting up.
You probably know this one!
happens when you ignore a date's text messages and calls instead of actively calling things off. Most people agree — it's mean!
Yes, haunting is related to ghosting. It's what you call it
when someone ghosts you
... but keeps watching your Instagram Stories or
follows you on social media.
Similar to haunting, "
" happens when a potential love interest follows you on social media and interacts with your post, but won't actually text you. The difference? With "haunting," they've already ghosted you.
This dating term gets its name from Casper, the friendly ghost. When
, you let someone down gently instead of ghosting, saying something like, "I had a great time, but didn't really feel a spark."
been around since the '40s
, the word "catfishing" became popular after the 2010 documentary
, which led to the TV series of the same name. As you probably know by now, "
" happens when someone creates a whole new online identity in order to start a relationship.
is the baby version of catfishing. Instead of constructing a whole new online persona, you emphasize some of your traits and minimize others in order to create an appealing, but not-so-accurate portrayal of yourself. This might mean using out-of-date photos, saying you live in Brooklyn when you actually live in New Jersey, or pretending you love hiking.
"Cockfishing" is catfishing... but with a penis. People who "cockfish" send
fake dick pics
— they might be taken from online images, they might be photos of a former flame, they might be photoshopped, or they might even be simply photographed at a deceptive angle.
More Cuffing season
People debate about when, exactly,
begins — is it September through March or October through May? — but basically, it's the time of year when it's cold outside and you want to start a new relationship so you have someone to snuggle.
More Fielding season Fielding season
is the time before cuffing season, when you're fielding your different options for a cold-weather relationship. Typically, this takes place during the summer and early fall.
More Cushioning Cushioning
means you keep texting and flirting with potential love interests... even though you're already dating someone else. The other people are there to "cushion" the blow of a potential breakup.
More Paperclipping Paperclipping
takes its name from Clippy, the old Microsoft Word mascot. When an ex paperclips you, they pop up back in your life for no particular reason — they don't want to date or meet up, they just want to remind you that they're there, for the ego boost. Like Clippy, paperclipping is annoying and unhelpful.
feels like a relationship, but it's not one — it's a pseudo-relationship. In a situationship, you have sex regularly, connect emotionally, and text often, but you don't officially commit.
More Zombieing Zombieing
happens when an ex, or someone who previously ghosted you, pops up in your life again — usually in the form of a social media interaction.
Hannah Minn More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Paperclipping Is The Latest Annoying Dating Trend When A Ghost Stalks Your Instagram Stories The Best Dating Apps