Your guide to the mind-boggling world of online dating terminology

Your guide to the mind-boggling world of online dating terminology

Textlationship 101

Text: Denise Kok

Image: Getty Images

As if looking for love wasn't painful enough

Single and ready to mingle? Dating apps such as Tinder and happn are your virtual gateways to your break from being #ForeverAlone. If you're new to the game, you're probably busy looking up the meaning of such acronyms as 'FBO' (Facebook Official) and 'DTR' (Define the Relationship). Thankfully, Claire Certain, the Global Head of Trends for happn, has put together a useful guide to ease you into this lingo-laden landscape of love. Go forth and conquer. 

1. Benching

Also known as bread-crumbing, benching is when someone you have been seeing stops agreeing to meet, but continues to contact you over message and social media. These people are essentially keeping you on the bench while they play out their other options. Beware a flame who keeps you in limbo this way.


2. Buay Pai

A Hokkien term which literally means "not bad" — this is commonly used to describe people, saying that he or she isn't very bad or not bad. E.g.: I have been talking to this buay pai guy since last year, but now he's completely gone silent on me for weeks.


3. DTR

This is an acronym for 'define the relationship' — a new phrase which is the equivalent of having 'the chat' about where your relationship is heading.

happn dating lingo terminology

4. FBO

To some, the pinnacle of online dating: FBO stands for Facebook Official. This of course involves changing your Facebook relationship status to mirror your newly confirmed relationship.


5. Ghosting

This is perhaps the most recognisable word that has arisen from online dating, although the act itself existed long before the dawn of dating apps. The phenomenon of ghosting occurs when someone you are dating suddenly goes silent on you, with no indication that they are no longer interested. One moment you are flirting back and forth after a handful of dates, the next you are checking your phone incessantly, bewildered at why this person you had a connection with has so abruptly dropped off the face of the earth. Ghosting can happen at any point in a relationship, and even between friends. Usually ghosts are simply too afraid of confrontation to tell you they aren't interested in taking things further.


6. Haunting

This is where a romantic interest who previously ghosted you has now reappeared, but without direct contact. Instead, they'll like or follow your social media posts, haunting you in cyberspace to remind you they still exist.

happn dating lingo terminology

7. Slow Fade

The slow fade is similar to ghosting, except more drawn-out. This is where someone you are chatting to or seeing gradually cuts you off, making less and less effort with being in touch.


8. Ship

To "ship" a couple is to support or approve of their courtship.


9. Textlationship

Some people manage to have an entire relationship without ever meeting, only exchanging messages. Most dating apps of course encourage their users to meet in real life as soon as they feel comfortable, to avoid a lingering textlationship.


10. Tuning

Tuning can be mistaken for benching, but is far more positive for the tunee. Tuners are people who are actually romantically interested in you, but are avoiding being upfront about it. These people want the relationship to progress, so are flirting via all kinds of means, but are vague and often frustrating.