We’ve identified the key terms describing what’s going on in the online dating world this year.
Also known as lay-by, because it’s just like putting down a deposit now and planning to pay the rest later. Cushioning is when someone who’s already in a relationship lays some groundwork with a potential target — a few flirty messages, just enough to let them know you’re interested, but nothing too obvious you couldn’t justify to your partner — so that when their relationship falls over, they’ve got someone ready and waiting to ‘cushion’ the break-up.
Ghosting — a sudden disappearance, totally ignoring all contact — is nothing new, but 2017 has introduced an even more terrifying concept to the dating vocabulary: haunting. Whereas a ghost becomes totally invisible, a haunter is someone who lingers in the shadows of social media, flicking the occasional like or Snapchat view (rather than silently lurking, like the rest of us do). What signal is that zombie-like contact meant to send? Spooky.
Named in honour of the most sensitive rapper the R ’n’ B gods ever breathed life into, who made his name airing his relationship dramas in song. Draking is what that unlucky-in-love friend of yours does on Facebook by plastering their feed with emotional song lyrics or inspirational quotes, cryptically referring to their latest heartache. An affliction that more commonly affects women than men (besides the great Drizzy himself).
While ghosting refers to vanishing into thin air entirely, benching involves the occasional check-in just to keep you on the hook. You had a couple of dates, struck up decent chemistry, but never get around to planning another — perhaps she’s busy with work, maybe she genuinely is washing her hair that night, probably she’s dating other prospects she considers stronger — but whatever the reason, she’s still reasonably interested in you . . . but not quote enough to call you up off the bench yet.
Another cruel variation on ghosting, but even more strung-out. While a ghost pulls a Kasper instantly, the slow-fader gradually makes less and less effort to keep in touch in the hope that the other person will give up. A bit of a coward’s way out, because anyone with a bit of backbone would have mercy on the other person and put the relationship out of its misery, rather than slowly presenting a colder and colder shoulder to painstakingly communicate ‘I’m just not that into you’.