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Staying Safe Online

Online dating glossary

In our Digital Romance report young people told us they prefer flirting online than face-to-face.

Messaging was described as the perfect tool for playful flirting and participants said it was less risky than flirting face-to-face because it’s less embarrassing if you get ‘pied-off’.

When it came to breaking up 84% of respondents had been broken up with through messaging (either text or private message) and 25% of young people had been ‘ghosted’.

Dating language and slang terms are constantly changing and growing. If you’re not familiar with these dating terms then take a look at our online dating glossary below:

  • Aired – to be ignored
  • Benching – no longer hanging out with someone but keeping contact via social media (think about when you’re benched in sports, you don’t get to play but you’re still on the team)
  • Basic – can mean boring, clumsy, gross – anything negative
  • Breadcrumbing – sending out flirty messages and comment on people’s posts to keep them interested but not fully committing to them (think about leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for someone to follow)
  • Booted – to be dumped
  • Cuffing – when the weather starts to get colder and people who usually enjoy being single find themselves wanting a relationship (think about being ‘handcuffed’ or tied down)
  • DM slide – sending someone private messages in the hope they will flirt back
  • Freckling– (similar to cuffing) when the weather starts to get warmer and people want a relationship for the summer months
  • Gassed – happy
  • Ghosting – ending a relationship with someone by suddenly stopping all communication without any explanation
  • Haunting – continuing to like someone’s posts or watch their stories after ghosting them
  • IRL – in real life
  • Merked – could mean really drunk/intoxicated/beaten up or even getting found out/told off
  • moving to (someone) – approaching someone romantically (could also mean aggressively)
  • Pied-off – being rejected (think a pie to the face)
  • Preeing – looking at someone online also known as ‘online stalking’
  • peng/tidy – really attractive
  • R-bombing – reading a message but not replying
  • Stacked – built, really muscly/well-built/toned
  • Slipping – messing up
  • Ship – relationship
  • Zombieing – when a ‘ghoster’ suddenly gets in touch out of the blue (think back from the dead)

If you’re under 25 we’d love to hear your experiences of online dating – this can be positive or negative. Just email us and you can remain anonymous if you want to.


    Other Stuff you might find useful…

    Sex and Relationships: Guidance During Lockdown
    Real Stories
    Online Dating: Emmie’s Story
    Real Stories
    Dating apps with a disability: Emily’s Story
    Real Stories
    Sexting: Rachel’s Story
    Real Stories
    Meeting a partner online: Fiona’story
    Real Stories
    Dating Apps: Nicole’s Story
    Real Stories
    Social media and relationships: Sophie’s story
    Staying Safe Online
    Online dating and staying safe
    Staying Safe Online
    Cyber Bullying
    Staying Safe Online
    Sexting and sending nudes


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