Are you being… haunted? No, not by a demonic specter. I mean “haunted” by your ex as they constantly check out your Instagram stories even though you don’t even talk anymore. Or perhaps you’re being “kittenfished”—and even if not, how well do you know the younger cousin of the now-ubiquitous catfishing?

Gen Z and Millenials are quickly changing the dating jargon with zany expressions evolving faster than we can keep up with. I’ve decided it’s my duty as a pro in the industry of love to enlighten you with the gamut of 30 dating buzzwords you need to know in 2023. After all, you don’t want to get “benched,” right? And certainly not “zombied”… so, here we go!


Fun wordplay or not, this is when someone dates people with housing as a matter of priority. Didn’t we used to call this freeloading?


This is the new ghosting. They keep you on the sidelines—on the bench—as an option, either because they’re not ready to commit or simply don’t feel strongly enough about you to go all the way. Not fun. See also: cookie-jarring.


They’re flirty as hell—but their enticement is matched by their astounding level of non-commitment. They leave you a trail of breadcrumbs, hinting at the possibility of something real and long-term—but when you take a step back and actually look at that trail, you see they’re actually putting in hardly any effort. Maybe they’re even benching you (see above) or cookie-jarring you (see below). Either way, it ain’t fun—but this is a chance for you to exercize some self-respect, and make them do the chasing for a change if they really are serious.


Meet ghosting’s friendly cousin. Instead of vanishing into the ether, they’re honest about how they feel and do what they can to let you down gently before retreating from your life.


We all know this one by now—Netflix has seen to that. But just in case you don’t, catfishing is when they create a fictional online person to lure you in. It might be for financial gain or just to trick you into a date on the premise that they’re far more attractive than they really are. Either way, it’s a huge no–no, it’s nasty, sometimes even cruel—and if it happens to you, you need to get outta there, pronto.

Conscious Dating

Conscious dating takes us from the old rules of dating where the goal is to find love and shifts us into becoming love. Journaling through this self-discovery is a big part of this journey of self love.


They pursue you for a relationship—but it turns out you’re just their security blanket. Just as they’d reach for a cookie when they’re in need of a pick-me-up, they text you, the unwitting “backup partner,” when they’re feeling blue about the person they actually want to be with. Not cool. See also: benching.

Cuffing season

It’s getting cold out—and singles are scrabbling around for someone to shack up with exclusively for the chilly holiday season. That’s right, folks: It’s cuffing season.


Turns out they were stringing you—and even several others—along, keeping you in reserve to fall back on and be cushioned by if the primary object of their affections suddenly blew cold.


Just been on a date in which you were interrogated on your career, earnings, prospects, vision, goals…? Sheesh, that was like a job interview… or daterview, amirite?

Dry dating

No, this doesn’t mean no sex. It’s all about dating without hitting the bottle. No more drunken disasters or tipsy faux pas—just sparkling, sober conversation, brimming with meaning and free of regrets.


They don’t beat about the bush—they know what they want, and if you don’t fit their vision for the future, there are no compromises to be had. It makes sense in the context of us all having lost two years of our dating lives to COVID—and if you’re right for each other then fast-forwarding might work out just dandy for you. But if you’re in the habit of wanting to really get to know someone before committing further, there could be clashes a-comin’.


No, not dating someone with freckles. A summer fling, a swift but happy dalliance during those light balmy evenings before the autumn coats come out and the freckles fade for another year.

Green dating

You reignite an old flame, looking to recycle some of that past sparkle, even if only briefly. Perhaps you’re going through a dry spell, or the reasons for your original breakup seem irrelevant these days. Mostly, though, green dating is simply about recycling until that new shiny package turns up on your doorstep, wrapped in a bow.


You’ve seen the movie, right? So this is when you seem to just go for the same type of person over and over and over again—and expect anything other than the inevitable disappointment. You pick someone who seems to be your “type,” yet invariably end up feeling underwhelmed.


Unlike its bigger, scarier cousin catfishing, which involves inventing an entire identity, kittenfishing sees prospective dates tweaking aspects of their online persona prior to meeting you to make their life look “better” than it is (by whatever standard they’ve imposed on themselves). A bit sad—and also not cool. Dating is about accepting, embracing, and eventually loving the whole person, not picking and choosing aspects of their personality for one’s delectation like they’re a buffet.


Similar to ghosting, when they vanish without a trace, mosting is when they go OTT with the flattery, promises, and compliments—then seemingly lose their nerve and dive back into the shadows whence they came, never to be seen again for fear of showing their face. Who are these people?


Negging is pretty gross. It’s when they emotionally manipulate you by making backhanded compliments to undermine your confidence and make you more reliant on their approval. Negging as in negative – when a compliment is somehow just a put-down.


This buzzword’s great, because it describes something you’ve probably experienced but could never put into words: When someone you were dating tells you they’ve lost interest… yet continues to “orbit” you by engaging with you on social media. What’s up with that?


This is the idea that lots of singles see the world with newfound optimism after a breakup—the dating scene being their oyster. They’re embracing their options.


An ex appears unannounced in your life—and then leaves again with a familiar lack of explanation. In the process they may well boost your confidence and make you think they’ve changed their mind—only to then dash your hopes and exacerbate any hurt you were already feeling from the first time around. Why “paperclipping”? Well, remember Clippy, the Microsoft paperclip who popped up to “help” when you were just fine and trying to focus? He was annoying, unsupportive, unnecessary.


Roaching is when the person you are dating is hiding the fact that they are also seeing multiple other people. Whether you’re in an exclusive relationship or not, roaching s about secrecy and not knowing all the facts is never a good place to be.


Less than The Real Thing but more than a casual encounter, a situationship is one of those almost relationships—romantic, yet undefined. It’s definitely a thing but what thing. It can be exciting or frustrating depending on what you truly want, and whether you see this person as a potential forever partner or merely as a pleasant interlude until The One appears on stage.


This romantic prospect doesn’t ghost you so much as gradually ceases communication. It’s imperceptible at first—or so they think. Of course, you clock the slow fade fast. Slow-fading is even worse than ghosting because it gives the illusion of hope that’s there’s still a spark to kindle—when in fact it was snuffed out weeks or even months ago.


You’re dating—and yet they seem to be making a conscious effort to hide you from their inner circle, both online and IRL. Is it shame? Fear of what their nearest and dearest will think? Or is something even more nefarious going on (as if those first two prospects weren’t bad enough)? Also known as “pocketing.” Sometimes it’s just people keeping thing private until they know it’s more serious, sometimes they’re hiding something – like maybe another partner?

Text black hole

A textual relationship with someone you never seem to actually be able to meet up with IRL. Especially frustrating when you’re keen on going from textual to sexual.


Yes, really. They effect an accent to impress potential matches. Yep, definitely no way that could go wrong… Sounds exhausting to maintain too!


They circle, just out sight but never far away… awaiting the end of your relationship so they can swoop in and pick you out at an opportune moment. We used to call these hangers-on.


By now we see that anything with “fishing” means you’re lying about something to lure someone in. Wokefishers portray themselves as more progressive than they actually are to impress other people on social media. 


A ghoster mysteriously reappears on the scene without explanation—even if you made it clear when they ghosted you that you’d been hurt by their behavior. Perhaps it even took you a while to get over it. Zombieing is selfish and disrespectful, but it’s all too prevalent as online dating leads people to increasingly see prospective dates as nothing more than toys to pick up and put down as and when they please.


If you’ve had enough of being benched, ghosted, catfished, stashed, cushioned, paperclipped, cookie-jarred, or God forbid zombied, well… we can help. 

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in California, New York, New Jersey, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.