From blue-ticking to benching: A dictionary for modern dating

Dating has an extensive terminology for today’s youth. (Photo: Getty Images)

By Niki Bruce and Nediva Singam, Contributors

Navigating dating in the digital day and age comes with its own set of rules, and even a new vocabulary. We reach out to some 20-somethings for a little help in deciphering some of the latest social-media dating courtship lingo, and get their expert take on what to do when you get blue-ticked or benched.

Benched: When a person hits you up for attention but never wants to meet IRL (In Real Life), you’re warming the bench.

Keerthana Mallavarapu, 20, says this is a sign of boredom, common among friends about to start university or National Service. “As long as it is mutual it’s a good and healthy source of validation when you need it. But if feelings start to get involved then it’s hard… You need some physical interaction.”

Blue-ticked (or “left on read”): Your message has been read, but not replied to? It’s a modern dating crisis. In a smartphone-centric world, every minute you wait feels like an eternity.

Nicola Braam, 20, says it’s the end point of a message slowdown that you’ve probably missed, and that you’re unlikely to ever hear back. “When you don’t like someone but you don’t want to be mean, at first you give them short answers that don’t encourage them. If they don’t get the hint, you blue-tick them. I mean, I’m a 20-year-old, it’s unlikely that I haven’t checked my messages or seen yours.”

Breadcrumbing: Dropping fun, flirtatious texts, but never commiting to an actual meet-up.

Natalia Dhanya Lourdesamy, 23, says it’s usually harmless, but has to be recognised for what it is. “My advice to anyone who experiences this is not to be fooled. If a person won’t commit to meeting, he or she probably can’t commit to other more important things.”

Catch and release: Getting hooked, then being dropped back into the lake faster than game-trout.

Stand-up comedian Jacky Ng, 23, recognises this tactic. “This was my ex-girlfriend in poly! I really tried to do everything I could to make her happy but after about three months, she just became very cold and distant. She would pull away when I tried to hold her hand. I was stubborn and young, and decided that my weak little heart couldn’t take it anymore and broke up with her.”

Flaked (Getting flaked on): When a person you have plans with cancels on you at the last minute, usually with a “subpar” excuse. “I have to attend my uncle’s dog’s 3rd birthday party” is not a good one.

Tamana Mulchand, 20, says that it’s time to “start making plans to ghost the person if they aren’t worth hanging around for”.

If your prospect suddenly disappears, digitally or otherwise, you may have been ghosted. (Photo: Getty Images)

Ghosting: When your prospect suddenly disappears – they don’t respond to your texts, they block you from their Facebook page and other social media platforms, and you never hear from them again.

Jacky has been given the slip before. “One girl I met on Tinder (who was really funny) stopped replying to my texts after a while… and I thought it was karma for me ghosting girls in the past. I feel genuinely bad…. if I ghosted you before and you’re reading this, I apologise.”

Ship: Short for “relationship”. Used when you’re matching up a guy and girl and are very enthusiastic about the coupling. Use: “OMG Selina and Tom are so cute together, I ship them.”

Unfortunately, it’s not always smooth sailing from then, warns Meghana Prasad, 20. “When I get shipped, more often than not I become much more awkward with the person, and I get very cautious especially when I have to hang out with them one-on-one.”

Stashing: When your bae, or special someone, doesn’t introduce you to friends and family, keeps you off their social media feeds, and develops severe camera-shyness. It doesn’t bode well.

Dayalan Aravindhan, 22, says: “Until both parties get to know each other better, stashing is totally fine and even healthy. But the level of stashing has got to go down after some time or it ends up becoming a barrier to a healthy relationship.”

Subtweeting: When a couple are having issues, don’t discuss them with each other, but go for a Twitter-wide rant instead. “Why does my boyfriend make me feel like I’m not good enough?” And then hope their partner sees it.

Soh Kin Hiong, 24, who’s single, says it’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship. “I wouldn’t want my partner to feel like they can say something to the world but not to me. It says a lot about the relationship.”

Talking: When does “talking” not mean, well, talking? When it describes the critical stage in between dating and not dating, a grey area.

“It can last anywhere from a day to months, and is a filtering phase. The worst-case scenario here is when the guy thinks they’re dating, and the girl is still ‘talking’. Or vice versa,” says Tamana.

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