It’s difficult enough to sort through a potential partner’s red flags. The fact that there is a whole dictionary dedicated to dating slang just adds to the stress. But if you look at it positively, these concepts cover a lot of the space between being single and being in a relationship. When it comes to choosing the right companion — whether for a specific period or life — Gen-Z is willing to take risks and change things up.
Here are a few Gen Z dating slangs and what they mean:
The one Gen Z dating fad I, probably, support is goblintimacy. It means presenting your most genuine selves on dates is a trend among Gen Z daters. Now, you don’t need to spend hours primping to look great. Abhishekh Singh, a Gen Z clarifies, "It’s not that you act selfishly or don’t care about how you look; rather, it’s about rejecting the idea that a date has to be perfect to be enjoyable. You give the other person your whole self and are willing for them to reveal their true selves to you. Not the behavior or what you believe the other person wants to see from you."
Benching is a newer version of ‘stringing someone along'. This dating idiom refers to being ‘benched’ or kept "on the bench" while the person you are interested in explores other potential dating choices, leaving you in a confusing circumstance. They don’t "ghost" you; instead, they continue to communicate with you through non-committal texts in case they wish to pursue something with you later. Bhakti Joshi, a counseling psychologist and psychotherapist, mentions, "Not only does it reflect the emotional side but also the choice paralysis of the person wanting to bench a partner. The best example would be to keep the person as a plus-one option, backup, extra, or second or third choice. No doubt they must love the person, but not so much as to stay committed."
Have you ever experienced a date where you had to answer questions like it was a job interview? If yes, then this is called a daterview. A daterview is a type of date in which you are overwhelmed with questions that make you appear to be in a job interview rather than a romantic setting. When your date asks you countless questions about your life with no sign of romance or flirtation, it might soon devolve into a daterview.
If you have been on a dating app where people appear to be progressive but in real life are not, Wokefishing is when someone intentionally and falsely presents themselves as a progressive person as bait to reel in matches on apps.
Divya, a Gen Z reveals, "It has happened to me. I went on a date with a guy who appeared to be understanding, but my gut feeling told me that something was off about that person. So, I told him that we were not a good match, and then he suddenly flipped and started saying random unsavory things."
Have you ever felt a distant attraction to someone, only to have that spark disappear as soon as they started feeling the same way? Then you’ve experienced what Gen Z refers to as frogisation. The Japanese word for this phenomenon is kaeru ka gensh, which means "the phenomenon of turning into a frog."
"Frog-isation is basically your rose-tinted glasses worn off. It means your love interest starts to disappear only for you to start liking another one," explains Bhakti.
She also states a few reasons, like why it happens to individuals. "Fear of commitment: inability to involve themselves emotionally as they fear intense emotions. Feelings of agency being taken away from them, for example, feeling that they or someone else will depend on them, restrictions, communication, etc. Marriages and commitment are looked upon as a burden."
Ethical non-monogamy (ENM)
ENM, or Ethical Non-Monogamy, is a term that appears in many dating profiles. ENM describes a person who has numerous romantic and/or sexual relationships with others who are all aware of and accepting of them. Although they may not be romantically attached, people in an open relationship are free to engage in sexual activity with others. Each of these has its own set of limits, which the couple agrees on together.