Modern Dating Terms You Need to Know
What’s the Difference Between a Red Flag and a Beige Flag? Does Ghosting Involve Haunted Houses? Read on to Find Out More.
Modern dating is confusing enough. Are we supposed to go on blind dates or to singles’ events? Are we sure about our sexual orientation? Do we really want to get married and have kids, knowing that the majority of housework and emotional labour falls on women and that the cost of childcare is skyrocketing? On top of all of that, there’s a whole new lexicon of ridiculous phrases to describe fairly mediocre experiences. Whilst I can’t stop your older relatives from mentioning your biological clock or bring down house prices, I can define some modern dating terms to clear up a little confusion.
- Red Flags, Green Flags and Beige Flags
I think we’ve all known that “red flags” are bad since our childhood days on the beach, but now it seems in vogue to use this term to describe someone’s behaviour. Reddit AITA posts, in particular, are full of comments about different flag colours, as though this offers some kind of valuable insight. So, for clarity: red flags are signs that things are bad; green flags are signs that things are good; beige flags are signs that things are.
It’s short for “charisma”. I didn’t know we needed an abbreviation for “charisma”, but I’m not Gen Z.
Whilst I’m not judging, I’d be surprised if anyone didn’t know what “ghosting” is. For those who’ve avoided this, allow me to explain. You’re talking to someone on a dating app and they start to respond less and less until you don’t hear from them at all. Ghosts, typically, hang around and won’t leave, but ghosting is just vanishing without a trace. It’s morbidly entertaining to realise that someone has probably been ghosted by a match who actually died.
- Soft Launching
I don’t think anyone does this other than influencers, but just in case you’re friends with some and not aware of the term, soft launching is when you hint at a new relationship and gradually build clues. It’s probably pretty useful for engagement, but a bit weird otherwise. For example, you might start by sharing a picture of a prospective partner’s back on an Instagram story, then include an untagged photograph of them on a photo dump, then get them to guest appear in a TikTok and then reveal you’re together a few days later. It’s a little immature, but I guess not the worst thing in the world.
- Love Bombing
This is a tactic used by new partners who have abusive tendencies. The idea is to overwhelm someone with gifts, affection, trips etc and make them feel guilty if they object, to try and worm into the new partner’s life before the nasty side of their personality starts to show.
It can be hard to spot because the honeymoon period in a relationship might well look like this anyway, but if you feel like you can’t say “no” or you think you’re being marked like territory, you might be being love bombed. I would recommend speaking to a domestic violence hotline to see how to end this entanglement safely.
A situationship is a kind of relationship which is undefined and usually messy. A normal relationship might follow this pattern: you meet, you go on a few dates, you decide to be exclusive and officially become partners. Perhaps you’ll break up, or maybe you’ll get a cat and move to Berlin together. A situationship is usually on-again, off-again, sometimes with sex, perhaps one partner might be seeing other people, nobody knows what the boundaries are and there’s often lots of drama and no communication. If you want no strings attached, set up a “friends with benefits” situation where you can practise ethical non-monogamy and be clear about what you’re interested in. We’ve all had a situationship at some point, but they’re best avoided.
The dating world is almost always a funny one. Most dates are entertaining, and even ridiculous situations and heartbreak can be fun to dissect over brunch with your friends. So let’s be a little silly, enjoy ourselves and use ridiculous terminology to define the bizarre positions we find ourselves in.