millennial dating terms HEADER

No matter where you’re at in the age spectrum, or whether you’re dating, single, or in a committed relationship, knowing the current “dating lingo” with millennial dating terms can help you connect with others and understand their situations.

If you’re dating and a millennial, these terms will be even more important. While some of these are positive, most of this vocabulary are things you need to watch out for. 

I’ll help you define these 13 signs and avoid them from happening:

millennial dating terms breadcrumbing

1. Breadcrumbing

What is it? Breadcrumbing is sending out flirtatious electronic messages (text, social media, etc.) while being noncommittal. The idea is that the person is laying breadcrumbs for a sexual encounter without expending too much effort.

The intent is to have a superficial, sexual encounter (or sometimes a series of encounters) with little investment in time or emotional energy. While many people like having a F@$% buddy, it can be a problem if one person thinks it’s something more.

The Signs. How do you know if someone is leaving breadcrumbs for you? If your conversations consistently have no substance and center almost exclusively around flirting, they want all the sex with none of the connection. 

If you’ve never gone on an actual date with them, and your only interactions are flirting online/via text and sex, they’re not actually interested in you as a person. 

How to Avoid It. Don’t invest more into a relationship than what’s being invested into you. This might seem a bit cynical but going head over heels into a relationship can often end poorly. You can initiate “the next step” sometimes, but make sure they’re little steps. This will make sure the other person has roughly the same level of interest in you.

Another strategy is to date before having sex with someone. Going on even 3-4 dates can assure that they’re in this for the relationship and not just the sex.

millennial dating terms lovebombing

2. Lovebombing

What is it? This is one of the millennial dating terms that seems good at first. Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by giving large quantities of attention and affection. They’ll come on full force to make you feel loved. In fact, you’ll feel so loved, you’ll never leave.

The Signs. This tactic is often used by cults to quickly immerse you in the sense of community. It will include overt signs of attachment and commitment too early in a relationship — excessive compliments, spending too much time together, and constant contact.

How to avoid it. Don’t move too fast, even if you need to be loved, this isn’t it. If the person is becoming too attached too quickly, they’re either manipulating you for their own ends or are codependent, which will only end in ruin.

millennial dating terms stashing pocketing

3. Stashing / Pocketing

What is it? When someone stashes or pockets you, they keep you secret from friends and family because they’re not committed or are unsure. This isn’t really about the length of the relationship, if you’ve been going out a year and still haven’t been introduced to friends and family, there’s something wrong.

The Signs. You’ve been dating a while and never met their friends and family. They don’t talk about their family a lot. You don’t attend places where you might run into friends and family. They will also avoid conversations about where the relationship is going.

How to avoid it. This one is pretty much on them. If you haven’t met their friends and family after about three months of dating, you need to have a serious conversation about why. It’ll likely be the last conversation you have with them while in a relationship.

millennial dating terms benching

4. Benching

What is it? This is a millennial dating term most of us have probably experienced. When you’re benching someone, you’re stringing them along just enough to keep them interested because you like the fact that they like you. This is all about the fact that they make you feel special and validated. You don’t have any interest in a relationship with them.

The Signs. You can tell if someone is benching you because you never go out one on one, but they frequently like posts on Instagram and other social media, and flirt with you occasionally. They fish for compliments from you.

How to avoid it. Don’t waste your time on someone who can’t prioritize you. If there’s no substance to your relationship, and if they’re always fishing for compliments, you’re probably not going to get what you need from them. Even if the benching is mutual, there’s better and more healthy ways to build up your self-esteem.

millennial dating terms cushioning

5. Cushioning

What is it? Cushing is analogous to the “emotional fluffer,” except the focus is on keeping people you flirt with on the side to your main relationship to cushion the blow of a potential break up. These people probably don’t play any other role than to make the person feel better about a bad or recently ended relationship.

The Signs. You can tell you’re a cushion for someone when your relationship only consists of flirting and probably them venting to you. They come to you when their main relationship isn’t doing well so they can feel better. There’s probably very little reciprocity in this relationship, except you may feel happy that someone “needs” you.

How to avoid it.  Don’t flirt with people who just use you as their emotional fluffer. If you’re not getting what you want out of the relationship or it’s not going anywhere, reduce your interaction with them. Eventually they’ll move on. There are better, more genuine ways that you can feel needed.

millennial dating terms creeping

6. Creeping

What is it? This millennial dating term is obvious, because creeping is another name for cheating. Why we can’t just call it cheating, I’ll never know.

The Signs. Most people have an innate sense when someone is cheating on them, but there are some more common signs you can watch for in case you’re trying to ignore your feelings. 

If you frequently don’t know where your partner is and they’re being secretive about where they are and who they’re with, it’s a major sign. Some “creepers” will also take to blaming you or getting angry for minor things or accusing you of being untrustworthy. This is them projecting their own guilt on to you.

How to avoid it. Being “creeped” on is hard to avoid. Most people will be in a relationship with a cheater at some point. Look for the signs and confront them when you’re sure they’re cheating. Avoid the types of personalities that are more prone to cheating — selfish, immature, or fearful of commitment.

millennial dating terms de berguing kitten fishing

7. De Berguing / Kitten Fishing

What is it? Kitten Fishing is a less serious form of Catfishing (see below). It means the person is lying about their interests, career, or appearance to lure someone into a relationship. This happens most easily on dating websites or social media, where a picture and profile is all you have to base your judgement on.

The Signs. Beware of pictures that are old or unfocused or that don’t match what they say, or if their picture is of their kids, landscape, or something other than themselves. If they avoid answering certain questions on their profile or don’t give very detailed or long answers, it could be a sure sign they’re lying about important aspects of who they are.

How to avoid it. Trust your gut, if something seems off it probably is. Look for signs of lying or inconsistencies in what they say or how they present. Do a reverse google image search to see if their photo is stock art of some model.

millennial dating terms catfishing

8. Catfishing

What is it? This is possibly the most well-known millennial dating terms. Catfishing is using a false persona or identity to lure someone into a relationship. It’s not just lying about one or two aspects of yourself, it’s saying you’re someone completely different or developing a whole new persona to lure someone in.

Often this persona will be targeted toward a specific person, or type of person, who they know will find their fake identity attractive. Sometimes this takes the form of posing as a minor celebrity, but in general they seek to gain something, even just emotional validation, from this fake relationship.

The Signs. If a person seems too good to be true, they probably are. Much like kitten fishing, look for certain kinds of photos, vague or inconsistent answers, and avoiding subjects altogether. If they never want you to hear their voice or see their face in real time (video chat), it can be a huge red flag.

How to avoid it. Just be vigilant. If you approach online dating with a critical eye you can develop all the tools you need to spot a catfisher. Try not to get emotionally involved with or attached to anyone you haven’t interacted with “in real time.”

millennial dating terms zombieing

9. Zombieing

What is it? Like rising from the dead, zombieing is when someone ghosts you and then gets back in touch. This is usually someone you’ve had limited contact with and only went on a date or two. You don’t know them well, but for some reason they want a second chance.

The Signs. This one’s pretty obvious. They left and now they’ve come back. They’re either playing you again or they legitimately want a second chance.

How to avoid it. This isn’t necessarily something you need to avoid, just look for signs that they might ghost you again. They might be unreliable, or they might be in a better place to pursue a relationship with you. Ask for an explanation, think about their character, and go from there.

millennial dating terms submarining

10. Submarining

What is it? This millennial dating term is roughly the same as zombieing, except for an extended period of interaction and intimacy before the ghosting. That means that not only are you ghosted, but you’re ghosted by someone with whom you have a relatively established relationship. 

The Signs. The signs are all the same as zombieing, except it just hurts a bit more. Sometimes you can tell if a person will ghost you though—they’ll become distant or distracted, start communicating less, and seem less interested in the aspects of your relationship that used to bring them joy. 

How to avoid it. Be careful with this one, since you dated for a while, you’ll be even more susceptible to getting your heart broken than if this was just a zombieing. Try to hold this person accountable, you deserve an answer about where they went and why they ghosted. If they can’t give it to you, they’re not ready for a relationship with you.

millennial dating terms roaching

11. Roaching

What is it? Roaching is when someone is dating others even when you’re supposed to be exclusive. What’s worse, they’ll deny they’re doing it even when confronted with evidence. It’s called roaching, because whenever you see one, there’s always more you can’t see.

The Signs. They’re never honest or open about who they’re spending time with, or what their relationship is with other people. They’re secretive about conversations, and there are a lot of people in their phone or contacts who you’ve never met and they never talk about.

How to avoid it. This is another thing you don’t have much control over, but when you find out it’s happening, ditch them. Look for the signs and the type of people who are roachers and avoid getting involved with them in the first place.

millennial dating terms cuffing season

12. Cuffing (Season)

What is it? No, this millennial dating term doesn’t mean getting arrested, although it might feel like it at times. If you’re “cuffed” you’re tied down in a relationship. During cuffing season (fall and winter), new relationships start, and old relationships get more serious as people look for companionship during the cold, indoor months.

The Signs. People are hooking up and getting engaged. This one’s pretty basic and something you already intrinsically know happens.

How to avoid it. If you really don’t want to be in a relationship, become a hermit. Don’t hook up with people and lock yourself in your house. Seriously though, this is a good thing.

millennial dating terms scrooging

13. Scrooging

What is it? When you scrooge someone, you break up with them just before the holidays. This includes valentine’s day, their birthday, or even your anniversary. There’s a lot of reasons people do this—they don’t want to buy presents, or they want a bit more freedom during the holidays—but if it happens, the relationship has been in trouble for a while. 

The Signs. When someone is about to scrooge you, they don’t want to talk about holiday plans or are acting distant as the holidays approach. That’s because they’re probably making plans without you.

How to avoid it. You can’t really control it. But if you see the signs, don’t buy them a present until the last minute. Wouldn’t want to waste your money.\

Have any of these things happened to you? Check out my Youtube video about these millennial dating terms by clicking here and leave me a comment on the video!