As dating has changed and evolved in the past few years, so have the terms and language used to describe it. Let’s face it, dating is an ever-evolving social relationship that changes with the trends. You need to keep up, or else you’ll start to lag behind the pack.
Thankfully, we’re here to help you. We’ve compiled a list of all the news dating terms from 2022, what they mean, and if we think they’ve caught on. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end of this, but it might be helpful to know some of the internet’s most-used dating trends in the past year and to see if you can spot any of them in your life today.
Some of us know all too well what this trend looks like in the real world. The term benching refers to keeping someone you’re talking to or interested in on the sidelines, but not actually committing to them.
This happens when someone is so neutral about how they feel about someone that they aren’t quite comfortable enough to let them go, but they won’t ‘put them in the game.’ If this is happening to you or you’re doing it to someone, you might want to define the relationship or stop talking to them altogether.
This is one of the more popular dating terms that has emerged in 2022’s dating lexicon. OkaySo’s co-founder and sexuality educator, Elise Schuster, defines breadcrumbing as “Leading someone on. More specifically, it’s being in just enough contact and dropping just enough information to make it seem like there’s interest there when most likely there’s not.“
They’re giving you just enough attention and encouragement to lead you on, but your relationship won’t go much further than the breadcrumbs they leave out for you.
We wouldn’t have a complete list of dating terms if we didn’t add some toxic choices to it. Cookie jarring, as the name implies, is what happens when the person you’ve been talking to doesn’t actually intend to settle down with you.
The founder and manager of Ignite Dating, Michelle Begy, says, “Instead, they string you along in order to have a backup plan as they pursue other people. You become a cookie in a jar, which they can dip into whenever they feel like it.”
This term was one we hadn’t heard of before, but we really liked it, so we added it to the list. Cornosety is Corona meets honesty. Dating and relationship expert, Tina Wilson, explains that this is what happens when someone is open and upfront about what they want first thing in the relationship. Corona saw the end of beating around the bush for many people when it came to dating.
Wilson says, “For many months, singles were not able to meet up during quarantine and lockdowns, so their patience for polite chit-chat came to an all-time low. The questions that daters ask each other are far more forward and to the point now.” Honestly, we respect that. Put all your cards out on the table during the next year, and you might find exactly what you want.
Make dating casual and fun again! Dawn dating is one of our favorite new dating terms on this list. People are ditching the nighttime dates and drinks and exchanging them for early morning walks and coffee. The idea of dawn dating originated as a way to make dating more casual, and it creates less pressure for you and your date to go out and get all dressed up. This is one dating trend that we’re all too happy to see popularized.
If you’ve ever been friend zoned, this dating term is your new savior. Facilidating is all about the relationships that were formed from two people being friends first. Badoo dating expert Sophie Mann says, “Many relationships are formed from friendships in 2022; we’ll see more people swiping for people they already know in real life, making dating that much easier.”
It’s true; if you’re swiping right on someone you already knew, you’re cutting your work (and most of the awkwardness) out of the way from the get-go. Badoo’s dating research has found that 32% of daters started dating someone they knew in real life, and 41% of daters said that swiping right on someone they already knew in real life allowed them to be more comfortable. 36% said the familiarity made asking the person out much easier. Hence, the facilitating root of facilidating.
If you’ve experienced a summer romance and then been ghosted quite suddenly by them, you might be a victim of freckling. According to AskMen, “For those of us lucky enough to have them, freckles and their fickle nature are a familiar subject. Your skin might be clear as day from November through to March, but once you start spending more time in the sun, boom, a star map of little dots constellates across your face, only to fade when fall comes around.
The dating analog, of course, is the freckler — someone who dips into your life when the weather’s nice and vanishes, vamoose when the chill sets in.” If you were in the throes of romance throughout the summer and then found yourself without even a text back from them after, you’ve been freckled.
While it’s not a new term, 2022 saw a rise in the popularity of the term gaslighting. The term was so widely-used that Merriam-Webster named it the word of the year. I know, it’s very disappointing.
Gaslighting is a serious form of manipulation that can occur in relationships. It’s one of the most psychologically abusive actions a partner can do to you, and it leads to low self-esteem, mental drainage, and a number of other issues. Schuster explains, “It’s a less obvious form of emotional abuse where the person doing the gaslighting creates a situation where the other person starts to doubt their own feelings or memories.”
If you’re in a relationship with someone you believe might be gaslighting you, get out of it as quickly and safely as possible. Seek professional help and support from your inner circles.
As online dating and casual dating have become normal in everyday relationships, so has ghosting. Ghosting is what happens when a person just disappears from another’s life and becomes unreachable. It’s a way many people have begun to exit their online relationships or ones that don’t have as many strings or real attachments involved. Ghosting can be extremely damaging to someone and hurtful. It also shows emotional immaturity.
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in dating the exact same type of person but still expecting different results every time you get in a relationship with them, you’re ground-hogging.
The term was coined from the app Inner Circle when they surveyed their singles and found that three in four people have a type, but that type didn’t make much of a difference in their romantic lives and choices. If you’re stuck in a rut and feel like you’re going through an endless loop of dates and people who all seem the same, maybe you should expand your dating pool and open your options up.
Sadly, this might be the term on the list that’s the most relatable (and guilt-inducing). Haunting is what dating experts call keeping track of your ex on social media. Whether or not you two still keep in contact, many of us like to check in or ‘haunt’ our exes to see how they’re doing, who they’re with, and where they are now.
It’s honestly and bit like social media stalking, and even if you follow each other and are on good terms, you might want to reassess why you’re still checking in on your ex. If someone is haunting you (liking your posts, commenting on them, or viewing your stories), you might want to block them so both of you can move on and get closure.
By now, we’ve all heard of catfishing (you may have even seen the brilliantly funny and slightly uncomfortable show!) but allow us to present kittenfishing! This term was coined by the dating app Hinge, and it refers to saying or presenting little white lies throughout your time online dating.
These little lies can be saying you’re 6’0” when you’re really 5’10” or saying you’re interested in something when you have no interest in it whatsoever. They’re not necessarily damaging or dramatic lies, but they can bite you in the butt if you’re not careful.
Another sneaky form of emotional abuse for the list, love bombing became a trending word this year. Love bombing happens when your partner showers you or ‘bombs’ you with affirmations, over-the-top gestures, affections, and much more. It’s a tactic used to sweep you off your feet, only to manipulate and use you later on.
Once your partner ‘secures’ you through their love bombing, they’ll often withdraw or become emotionally abusive. It’s not only confusing, but it’s also psychologically damaging. If you notice a potential partner constantly going over the top in the way they show their love to you and then retreating as soon as they have you in their clutches, you might be getting love bombed.
Orbiting and haunting are pretty similar when it comes to dating. Orbiting refers to when a former ex, fling, or love connection continues to interact with you online even though you haven’t talked in months and are not in a relationship anymore. This tactic is often used when people want to remain on your radar or social orbit, but they don’t want to actually commit to you and being in your life.
There is a huge need for the dating lexicon to embrace happy singles, and the term ‘oystering’ does just that. Oystering is a term that was coined by Badoo, and it’s all about embracing your season of singleness and the fun times you can have in that season when you’re post-break-up. Oystering is the antidote for cuffing season, and it provides some much-needed love and appreciation for anyone who wants to celebrate whatever singleness has to offer them.
As we’re well into the holiday season and cuffing season, you might fall victim to pocketing. Many people also refer to this term as ‘stashing,’ and it’s pretty terrible. This is when your partner will keep you in their ‘pockets’ and not introduce you to their friends, family, or anyone else in their lives.
While some people might wait a while to introduce you to their family for personal reasons, and we should respect their boundaries. There comes a point when you can distinguish if they’re keeping you a secret or just being safe. Whether or not you’re uncertain if your romantic partner is pocketing you or if they’re just being cautious, it’s a good idea to bring it up to them.
Similar to the bug this term is named after, roaching refers to a disgusting dating trend when your new partner is hiding that they’re still dating other people and even sleeping with them behind your back. It’s called roaching because “When you see one cockroach, there are many more you don’t see.” Just like with sexual and romantic partners, your significant other might be hiding. It’s also disgusting and needs to be squashed.
Sitautionships are one of the most popular dating terms in 2022, a year of confusing and undefined relationships. Situationships happen when you and your potential partner find yourselves in the in-between stage where you’re not in a committed relationship, but you’re also something more than friends.
While dawn dating might be our favorite new dating term on this list, we’re deeming situationships ars the most relevant one from this year. Hinge came out with a report saying that 34% of their users have found themselves in a situationship before.
No, this isn’t about music. Instead, it’s a painful way for a relationship to slowly fizzle out. If you notice communication, calls, texts, dates, and other vital things in your relationship starting to teeter out, no matter how much you try to keep up with them, you’re probably on the receiving end of a slow fade. Slow fades often lead to someone ghosting you, so make sure to get closure or have a frank conversation with someone if you’re noticing them slowly fading out of their lives.
Soft Launching and Hard Launching
Online dating and social media, in general, have made soft launching and hard launching your relationship a competitive sport. Many people are ‘soft-launching’ their relationships by taking low-key and secretive photos of their partner’s hands, their apartment, a stray arm in the shot, or whatever might allude to the fact that they’re in a relationship with someone.
Hard launching is the polar opposite, where you post a picture of your significant other as soon as possible, tag them, and maybe even update your Facebook status if you feel like it.
Conversely, if you are groundhogging and want to move on to another type of person, you might want to try untyping. This is when you move on from your usual type and start to expand your dating pool.
Research has found that people who continue to only date the ‘type’ that they want don’t usually find success. And as more research comes out in favor of people expanding their horizons in the dating world, more and more people are becoming open to dating outside of their type.