From “DTR” to “DTF”. This is your 2020 Dating Dictionary.

Swiping your way to be the real thing, or next fling, has left many people understandably bamboozled and frustrated. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. As the dating landscape has evolved, so has the language; especially when we’re focusing on the language of millennials. So to help navigate your way through the modern dating world, I’ve collated a handy little list on some of the latest terms, phrases and acronyms.

Benching
Think of sports. When you’re on the bench, you’re not actually playing but you’re still on the team, ready and waiting… until the coach decides to bring you back into play – which might not happen. The person who chose to bench someone will make minimal effort to keep you as an available option. This means a few texts here and there, making plans to meet up that never come to fruition.

Breadcrumbing
Now I don’t know if this dating tactic is slightly “better” or worse than “Ghosting”. Either way, it’s a term used when someone is doing exactly what I’ve described in my last two sentences above. Think morsels of bread… a trail of them. Each morsel representing a tiny slice of attention, ie. likes on Instagram photos, maybe a comment if you’re lucky, sporadic flirty text messages, making vague plans with you, setting up a date and cancelling, appears then reappears weeks later like nothing, usually an individual that’s all talk and no action. Breadcrumbs are for the birds – and you’re not one of them!

Catfishing
Personally I find this one creepy. It is the act of someone creating a fake profile to trick people into thinking they are somebody else. This sort of deception can be extremely damaging for victims. The dangers of being catfished include being tricked into a false relationship, fraud, extortion and cyberbullying among others. These people clearly have issues.

Cushioning
I’d describe this like… taking out insurance on your relationship incase it doesn’t work out and you’re scared of being alone. In essence, you’re creating a “cushion” for yourself to fall on. It can be one or several cushions. The tactic is getting people interested in you by having a chat or flirt, you’re building them up and giving them hope that something may occur in the future. Those who fall in the trap don’t even realise that there’s another person in the picture in the first place. It’s dishonest, disrespectful, and it’s something that emotionally insecure people do.

DTF
Down to Fuck. Need I say anymore?

DTR
Define the Relationship

FWB
Friends with Benefits

Gaslighting
It’s a form of psychological manipulation that causes the other party to question or doubt his or her sanity, feelings and judgment. The warning signs are hard to pick up early on but generally the people who do the gaslighting will be habitual and pathological liars. They will blatantly lie to your face and never back down or change their stories even when you call them out. They will also shift blame, twist conversations and be sweet when they want to smooth over a bad situation that they’ve caused. Sickos.

Ghosting
Now you see me, now you don’t. A person who ghosts will simply disappear from a relationship, or even a potential relationship with no explanation because it’s a quick and easy way out. No drama, no questions asked, no need to justify their behaviour, no need to deal with someone else’s feelings. Which brings me to the next term…

Haunting
When the person who was initially ghosting comes back to haunt you. The audacity!
Out of nowhere, they’ll (usually) slide into your DMs on social media and hit you up with the “Hey stranger!” bollocks – they just want to remind you they’re still there and very much alive. 😒

Kittenfishing
I’d describe this as a low-grade version of “Catfishing”. This person is excellent at presenting themselves unrealistically on their dating profile. With their skilled use of Adobe Photoshop, they’ll put up their heavily edited or upload old ass, throwback photos. They might lie about their age, height, lifestyle… all to seem more appealing to their matches.

So there you have it! The lingo of online dating, in a nutshell. Noticeably more absurd words and phrases are being introduced to explain each and every terrible occurrence. I’m sure there’s a good handful of jargon missing from my list (I think I’ve barely scratched the surface) but nonetheless I hope you found this post useful, if not amusing!

The unspoken “rules” of dating.

“I think I’ll wait an hour to text back. That way, I won’t seem too eager.”
“I initiated the conversation yesterday, so he/she can initiate today.”
“I’m not going to send multiple messages, I refuse to look desperate.”
“I won’t send paragraphs my response, that shows I’m too interested!”
“Be sure not to kiss on a first date!”
“At least wait until 4th date to have sex!”
“Fuck that, I’ll wait 3 days and then I’ll call them.”
“Time to give them the silent treatment.”
“Shall I follow up or shall I wait for them to do it?”

Sound familiar? Then you must have participated in a few “dating games”… it’s all too common these days and absolute BS. Honestly, someone who chooses plays games with you is not the kind of person you want to be with. It’s a sign that they’re not really being authentic in their dating life — and no grown-ass person has time for that.

But why?

It’s one of the most exhausting parts of dating, so why do many people choose to do it? Well… I’m here to share my thoughts. Disclaimer: I’ve been the game “player” before and have also been the victim! Both sides were not particularly enjoyable. Based on my observation and experience, I would say that game playing usually boils down to 3 things:

1. To manipulate
2. For the chase/challenge
3. To avoid being in a vulnerable position

Notice how all of the above involve some form of self gain? When you’re the “player”, you feel like you have all the power and are in total control, but in reality it’s a complete facade. I guarantee you won’t achieve anything apart from feeling confused, fed up and frustrated. Games don’t last… whether it’s you or them – someone will get bored eventually and throw in the towel. It’s just a question of when.

If your biggest concern is always having the upper hand, then you’re clearly not in the right headspace or at a maturity level for a relationship. Either way, you need to ask yourself why being in that position is so important to you. Is it for an ego boost? Self justification? To feel secure? Relationships thrive on vulnerability and being able to let your guard down. The whole “winning” aspect isn’t the right approach when it comes to feelings and emotions. Besides how do you “win”, when it comes to matters of the heart? You can’t expect to get close to someone when you’re busy strategising on how to manipulate them.

Games people play.

Having been the game player before as well as being on the receiving end, I’ll briefly take you through some of the most popular scenarios. Let’s start with “who can act like they care the least”. How ironic is it that the less you engage with someone you’re interested in, the more power you possess. So what happens if both people involved are too good at this game? I guess you run the risk of never seeing how the relationship could progress. In all areas of our lives, we should learn embrace vulnerability instead of avoiding it. Taking your guard down shows that you’re human, relatable, and allows other people to see the real you. In friendships, romantic relationships, and families, it’s easier to appreciate someone who is honest with themselves and with others. This means relationships can grow organically.

The second scenario is “playing hard to get” – which kind of ties in with “who can act like they care the least”. It’s a way to screen prospective suitors or to discover whether someone is being sincere. But I’ll warn you now… if it continues for too long, the technique fails. Playing hard to get is basically an illusion of confidence and control, but let’s face it – what we really want is to text whenever we feel like it, tell someone when we want to see them next and be straight up when we’re in our feelings.

Lastly we have “the chase”. The person being chased wants to see how far backwards they can make the other bend. Meanwhile, the person doing the chasing just wants to do whatever it takes to win their “trophy”. Personally, I think this sounds rather shit. For some, the pursuit of the chase is more enticing and rewarding than the actual relationship itself… hence why as soon as they’ve got you hook, line and sinker, they let go and move on to the next bait. Reasons for doing this might be for an ego stroke, to feel some sort of accomplishment, the feeling of dominance, maybe they’re after one thing… to put it bluntly, they are all reasons that don’t concern you!

B****, you thought.

It can take a bit of time to figure out who the “players” are. Some people are so good at putting up smoke and mirrors it’s like second nature. I guess games aren’t so bad if you’re not particularly interested in monogamous relationships… as long as you’re both willing to play. Although I still think it’s a pointless exercise.

Maybe it’s time we stop with the games and start looking at the defensive mechanisms we’ve installed. Are these games more helpful or more harmful? If we’re grown adults, then we need to act accordingly and take charge. We need to be brave and get better at being upfront about feelings and expectations. I get that not everyone is able to be direct and honest – it takes time, confidence and courage. If we work towards being more open then we can start developing more genuine, fruitful relationships.

Dating is supposed to be exciting, not a minefield. There will always be an element of risk but the quicker you nip things in the bud, the better chance you have to find someone who is actually on your wavelength. If you notice your interest is displaying inconsistent and unreliable behaviour then call them out on it. Don’t be scared! You don’t have to be player #2. And if the behaviour continues… well that’s okay too! Just don’t forget to shut the door on your way out.

I’m going leave you with these iconic words (with the video) from Prince:

I can’t be played. A person trying to play me plays themselves.

Situationships, Friends with Benefits, more than friends less than lovers?

I think this post is going to be quite an interesting subject for most! It’s not one for the sensitive folk and I spit facts only so please don’t get emotional if you disagree with something I say. For the sake of mixing it up a bit, I’ve decided to open with a few random “fun” facts about myself and then I have a confession to make!

So… I have never:

1. Had a one night stand
2. Cheated
3. Been a mistress (as far as I’m aware!)
4. Been drunk to the point where I’ve blacked out
5. Taken any illegal drugs (weed is not a drug, don’t go there with me please)
6. Had a threesome/foursome/any-some
7. Been intimate with a person of the same sex

Yes people, I am relatively well behaved!

Okay… now that’s off my chest, it’s confession time…

So what have I done?

Well, a while ago… I dipped my toes in the FWB movement!

You know those articles you read online about how complicated or tricky it can get? They weren’t lying! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a lot of fun in the moment but personally I don’t think it’s a relationship that can withstand consistently for the long-term.

Here’s the thing…

FWB type-relationships are not for the weak! The lines can get blurred very quickly. You have to be a certain type of person to enter this kind of territory, and unfortunately not everyone is cut out to compartmentalise sex… as well as be ruthless and impassive throughout the process. If anyone reading this post is thinking about adding “benefits” to a friendship… please let me give you a word of advice: if you get jealous easily, have an anxious attachment style or are secretly yearning for an actual relationship – sorry dear, I’m afraid FWB isn’t for you.

People will enter the FWB world thinking that it’s an easy arrangement, but unless you’ve set boundaries and have good communication with your friend – most people will end up suffering from the same problems found in normal relationships, i.e. mismatched expectations, jealousy, unspoken motives, etc.

Story time

I was with my FWB for 6 months – which is much longer than what I expected to be honest! It was never planned, it kind of just happened out of nowhere. As it stands, we don’t talk as much as before but we’re still on good terms with each other. I’d still consider him as a friend, to the point where if I dropped him a text now, we’d end up having a nice chit chat about whatever (he’d probably secretly think I was trying to get back in his boxers too – boy please) but thankfully we put an end to our “thing” without having any bad blood between us.

We first got talking a little while back when he added me on Facebook. At the time, he was more of an acquaintance so we were re-introducing ourselves, discussed our mutual friends, music, films, hobbies, family, career goals… the usual stuff when you’re getting to know someone. He eventually asked me if I wanted to get dinner and drinks with him, but out of respect for my partner at the time (sorry, I don’t use the term “boyfriend”), I declined. We kept in touch every so often but conversations slowly fizzled out.

A few months later, I’d broken up with my partner and coincidentally, someone decided to slide into my DMs… like almost immediately! Seriously, it was as if an alert got triggered the second I was back on the single market! Lol! We started talking again then eventually I agreed to meet up with him…on multiple occasions! We had the craziest, most hilarious times together! We bonded so much and done all sorts: dinner, cinema, went for long drives, shisha, shopping, clubbing! I recall one of our wildest nights when we knocked back (I’m not kidding) about 10 drinks each by 10:00pm! And by 3:00am… I was hurling my guts up on the street and (bless him!) he was moving my hair out the way, calling me Uber whilst dealing with being intoxicated himself! It was diabolical! 🤦🏻‍♀️ He sat in the Uber with me all the way back, walked me to my door, took the house keys out of my bag, opened my door (as I could barely function), then actually walked me into my house! It was a mess! He then turned around to jump back in the Uber… which had already left without him! So the poor guy had to call another! Whoops.

So yeah, as you can imagine we spent a lot of time together and developed a really good friendship. Then one day, we agreed to watch Netflix and chill together… surely I don’t need to elaborate any further? And from that moment, I understood the definition of FWB.

Initially, nothing changed as such, we still went out together, had laughs, had deep conversations… but gradually some new things were introduced to our “relationship”, which ultimately confused the hell out of me. It never helps when you’re an over thinker as well! Firstly, it was staying at each others’ houses – regularly! Then there was the pillow talk, the cuddles, the hand holding… which developed into taking mini trips away together, celebrating my birthday over the weekend. Erm excuse me, what is this!?!?!

On top of all of that, I was still active on dating apps. I had a couple guys asking me out… but it felt wrong to say yes? Yet I had every right to do what I wanted. As silly as it may sound to some of you, I did feel some sort of loyalty towards my FWB. Ugh, and realistically, having another guy in the mix – I couldn’t think of anything worse! It would only mean having an additional thing to think about. Plus I’m too much of an honest person and do have morals! Maybe this was all in my head but my goodness… my brain was overloaded with thoughts.

Anyway, I decided to put dating on the back-burner but soon realised that I was becoming too attached to my FWB (oh God, here we go), and this is how I knew: I started to get annoyed with him about stupid things like… not making me a priority, not coming to this museum or that new restaurant with me, him not staying the night! Then I was pissed off about the fact that I wasn’t dating other guys due to my “loyalty” to him. Then I got frustrated because I was completely confused about this situationship! …Of course, I chose not to be vocal about any of it. I had to put myself in my place and remind myself that:

1. I wasn’t his girlfriend
2. He never asked me to be loyal
3. I was allowing this situationship to continue

In conclusion, I needed to get a fucking grip and stop being ridiculous – so it was time to pull back.

…Only I didn’t pull back because I flipped out on him instead (with good reason, I like to think?)

One Saturday, I was with my friends, he was with his. We agreed to spend the evening together at his place. I drove down to the house (a little bit late), dropped him a text but did he even respond?! No. I gave the guy another 10 minutes. Nothing. My assumption was that he was probably still galavanting out and about with his friends. He didn’t even message me the next morning! I was livid and took the opportunity to call it quits right there and then. That bastard needed to be blocked. Okay, perhaps I shouldn’t of “assumed” anything… but I didn’t give a damn at this point, I wanted out. We were 6 months deep, and this FWB situationship was not bringing out my good side – it had to end.

Jumping the (situation)ship

We didn’t speak for a couple of months, he did text me a “Merry Christmas!” and a “Happy New Year!” but I ignored him. Then one day out of nowhere, we randomly bumped into each other on the street! Awkward!!! Well actually… it wasn’t awkward one bit. It felt like we were back to being good friends again. We spoke about work, holidays, family, general chit chat, joked around, he made sure I still had his number (lol!) and from there, we continued our friendship as normal. We even discussed why we fell out/what had happened, cleared the air and remained cordial up until this day!

It’s a peculiar one because once I decide to end things, no matter what the circumstance, I want them out of my life for good. I cut ties, block them on all platforms, get rid of their shit and couldn’t care less from there onwards. The FWB situation was very different, and it’s because the friendship was so key, and was always the priority. Yes, I was pissed off near the end but he was never the issue. Whilst we both knew it was never a conventional romantic relationship, the FWB arrangement was exclusively between us and so we had the element of respect and trust towards each other.

Having a FWB was a great experience but it’s not as cut and dry as you’d think, especially if you’re someone who is more inclined to having long term relationships. I admit, I like the idea of romance, stability and commitment. I like a guy showing affection in public and vice versa. If I find myself developing feelings for someone, I wouldn’t want to hold back because of the boundaries put in place. Above all, it’s not worth the hassle to be in your head all the time, feeling anxious or irritated, trying to figure out how to act, what to say and so on.

Looking back, I’d say I was quite lucky to share the experience with this particular friend. It was one of the most fun and exciting periods in my dating history. Him being attractive obviously helped massively (haha!) but having common interests, the same sense of humour, same values and mindset, made it all the more enjoyable.

Would I consider having a FWB again? Nah, count me out. I have no desire to explore that ground again. I don’t have any regrets but I know it’s not for me. For the sake of my sanity, I would rather avoid placing myself in problematic situations; I already find normal relationships a ball ache! Time and experiences like these have aided me in recognising what I want and what I definitely don’t want.

If you are currently in a FWB “relationship”, then I hope you know where to draw the line. Otherwise, if you find yourself acting up, similar to the way I did; then my suggestion would be to take the other option – abandon ship and salvage the friendship!


Basically the ideal FWB relationship is one where people enjoy sex, live close to each other and have a genuine interest in the happenings of the other person but are still too wrapped up in themselves to worry about the other person.

– Taken from an article I read. Ain’t that the truth!