Modern Dating Behaviors No One Likes But We’ve All Accepted

The idea of dating in the digital age or the concept of “modern dating” is something that a lot of people like to complain about. It can feel like no one is willing to make a commitment and everyone would rather ghost someone than have a real conversation.

Despite all the complaints about being ghosted or breadcrumbed or dial-toned, these trends exist because people continue to rely on them, maybe without even realizing it. While you’re thinking about cuffing season looming over you, consider if you’re guilty of these digital-era dating trends.

Benching

man and woman seated on bench
Photo Credit: Pexels / Tirachard Kumtanom
Photo Credit: Pexels / Tirachard Kumtanom

The difference between benching and breadcrumbing comes down to intention. While someone might not realize they’re leaving breadcrumbs for you, they know if they’ve benched you. He doesn’t make the effort to deepen your connection, but he keeps you interested and has you on his bench as an option for the future, just in case whoever he’s pursuing seriously right now doesn’t work out.

White Clawing

tweet about men with no perosnality
Photo Credit: Twitter / @NickNMedia
Photo Credit: Twitter / @NickNMedia

It’s really just a revamped version of the idea of arm candy. White Claws have nice packaging and they’re pretty popular, but they actually have a pretty bland taste. If you’re White Clawing someone, it means that you find them boring or bland, but they’re good looking, so you keep it going. It also means you’re trash.

Kittenfishing

puppy filter tweet
Photo Credit: Twitter / @BoogTweets
Photo Credit: Twitter / @BoogTweets

It’s not technically lying, and it’s not technically catfishing, but if you have to get into technicalities, then you know what you’re doing isn’t great. Kittenfishing is when someone embellishes their profile by using photos that are a little out of date compared to their current look or exaggerate their successes to seem more attractive. You didn’t lie, the pictures are still you, but you didn’t tell the whole truth.

Zombieing

two women talking animatedly
Photo Credit: Pexels / Anna Shvets
Photo Credit: Pexels / Anna Shvets

Unfortunately for anyone who has experienced it, zombieing is exactly what it sounds like: it’s when someone you thought was no longer apart of your life comes back from the dead. Regardless of whether you want it or not, they’re trying to come back into your life.

The Upside To A Zombie

couple talking touching hands
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

While it hurt at the time that your relationship with this person came to an end, if they’ve come back from the dead, it can be an opportunity for closure. Now’s your chance to profess your undying love for them, or to confront them about the fact that they ghosted you for the second time.

“Friend-zoning”

man and woman on hill
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Stefano Intintoli
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Stefano Intintoli

There are quotations there because, let’s be honest, is the friend zone even a real thing? No one owes you a romantic relationship just because you want one, so maybe you’re not “being put in the friend zone,” you’re just in a friendship with someone.

And if you want to “get out” of the friendship, that’s up to you, so stop using it as an excuse to be upset that someone doesn’t have feelings for you.

The Talking Stage

tweet about the talking stage
Photo Credit: Twitter / @mckenzie_klipp
Photo Credit: Twitter / @mckenzie_klipp

The point of dating is supposed to be getting to know someone, but it’s turned into this lengthy period of time where you constantly text or talk without meeting.

It can go on for months for some, and you feel like you’re getting to know someone, but it can make it harder once you meet in person (if you ever do) because they might not live up to your expectations once you’re sitting face to face.

Haunting

woman lying down using phone
Photo Credit: Pexels / Retha Ferguson
Photo Credit: Pexels / Retha Ferguson

If someone is haunting you, they’re sitting in between the ghost and zombie stages. They’re likely the one that ended whatever relationship you had, they’re not quite ready to fully come back from the dead, but they pop up every once in a while.

She’ll drop the occasional Instagram story reply or a like on a Facebook post, but don’t even dream about an actual text message from her.

Breadcrumbing

person checking texts
Photo CreditL Unsplash / Jonas Leupe
Photo CreditL Unsplash / Jonas Leupe

Breadcrumbing is similar to haunting someone, but take it up a couple of notches. If you’re getting breadcrumbed by someone, it’s a fancy way of saying you’re being strung along.

Whoever is dropping the crumbs will send you the occasional friendly but brief text message, a Snapchat or Instagram DM here and there, and nothing real comes of it, but you hold on to the fact that something might.

Cause-Playing

invited to a pyramid scheme
Photo Credit: Twitter / @samlymatters
Photo Credit: Twitter / @samlymatters

Not nearly as fun as cosplaying, cause-playing is the term for when someone you previously dated reaches out to you months later—usually through social media— to see if you want to donate to their Thanksgiving charity 5K or be a part of their journey to being a big-time influencer by sharing their page on Instagram.

Let people live their lives in peace and reach out to your mom’s friend to donate to your charity fun-run like everyone else.

Cuffing Season

scarf made of red flags
Photo Credit: Twitter / @KealyJackson
Photo Credit: Twitter / @KealyJackson

The idea that you need a relationship to keep you warm through the winter months but then you’ll want to be single for the summer is a complicated one.

Getting into a relationship in October that naturally comes to an end in March or April is one thing, but don’t get into a relationship with the intention of breaking up with them after you’ve made it through the winter holidays.

You Could Have More Than A Couple Good Months Being Cuffed Together

cuffing season tweet
Photo Credit: Twitter / @MarioSelman
Photo Credit: Twitter / @MarioSelman

As far as dating trends go, there are worse things to do than want to be in a serious relationship with someone. You’ve got at least a solid five or six months with someone from the start of cuffing season, which is enough time to show them you’re worth having around in the warmer months too.

Submarining

woman seated staring at phone
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

It’s really like an after-stage to ghosting, but it’s not the same as coming back from the dead. Submarining happens when you’re seeing someone or talking, that person ghosts you (you think), but then a few weeks later, they resurface as if nothing ever happened and expect to pick up where you left off. What’s the deal with that? Where’d you go?

Ghosting

tweet about getting ghosting
Photo Credit: Twitter / @nicolebyer
Photo Credit: Twitter / @nicolebyer

Anyone who has ever used a dating app has probably been ghosted or been guilty of ghosting. Sure, it might seem harmless to stop responding to the guy you’ve exchanged a few messages with on Tinder, but then you become the person who thinks it’s okay to ghost someone after months of dating, and no one likes that person.

The Almost-Relationship

couple at night embracing
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Gift Habeshaw
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Gift Habeshaw

You never intend to get into the almost-relationship, but they’re just as complicated to manage, and they can be as difficult to get over.

One (or maybe both) of you isn’t ready to commit yet, so you get stuck in limbo where you’re “talking” for weeks or months and you probably develop actual feelings, but nothing ever comes of it.

Dial-Toning

woman pointing at phone screen
Photo Credit: Pexels / Porapak Apichodilok
Photo Credit: Pexels / Porapak Apichodilok

Dial-toning usually stems from people not knowing how to politely reject someone. It’s when you ask someone for their number or you exchange numbers with someone, then when you reach out they never respond.

If you don’t want to give someone your number, just say no when they ask, instead of getting their hopes up only for you to not respond.

The Fade-Out

online date or just die alone
Photo Credit: Twitter / @TabithaLipkin
Photo Credit: Twitter / @TabithaLipkin

The fade-out is a slower burn tactic for when you’re looking to end things, but you don’t know how to just come out and say it, so you start to pull away. You lessen communication, make other plans more often, and hope they get the memo and pull the trigger for you.

You Might Be Able To See This Coming

woman sitting on cliff alone
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Caleb Frith
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Caleb Frith

While it would still be nicer if someone was just straightforward with you, being faded out on gives you the opportunity to realize what’s happening and prepare for the end. It’s not as harsh as simply disappearing on someone or outright rejecting them, and it usually happens when someone genuinely doesn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.

Phubbing

boy on his phone in restaurant
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Austin Distel
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Austin Distel

It’s not as weird as it sounds, but it’s definitely something you’ve experienced. Phubbing is just “phone snubbing,” i.e., when someone you’re out with spends all their time on their phone.

Just because you met on a dating app does not mean that you want to spend your time with someone who can’t put their phone away even for a few hours.

Stashing

couple looking out window standing
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Sinitta Leunen
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Sinitta Leunen

There’s a good chance that if you’ve experienced stashing, you didn’t realize it right away. Stashing happens when you’re dating someone, you see them regularly, you text, you send TikToks to each other every day, but you’ve never met anyone in their life.

You’re stashed in your own little bubble outside of the rest of his life, and it’s often because they want to see other people as well.