Millennial Dating Terms You Ought to Know

Times are changing, and it changes too fast and complicatedly. Years ago, dating means as simple as two individuals going out together to discover more about each other. Dating then was personal and face-to-face. Ushered by technological advancements, dating now grew more virtual, impersonal and multi-faceted. Let’s see some of the most common (or should I say, uncommon? I don’t know) dating terms for millennials. 



It sucks to be benched. This happens when after dating for some time and you’ve become really attracted to a person, but you’re never asked out by that person again. Unlike in ghosting where there’s no communication happening after the date, in benching the person continues to text or contact you, but you’re put on reserve almost like a backup option. People “bench” when they want to explore other options around them but don’t want to really let you go. Reserba. Saklap. 

Bird boxing 

Coined from Netflix’s post-apocalyptic thriller, Bird boxing in dating happens “when someone is blind to how rubbish the person they’re dating is”. Do you know someone? Love is blind, eh?


Breadcrumbing happens when someone is flirting with you through texts or private SNS messaging, or even showing you admiration by liking your posts and comments, but they’re really not asking you out on a date – or if they have one, it often gets cancelled. They lead you on, but never following through. Paasa, pa-fall bes.

Burner (version 1): 

This is short for “backburner” relationship. A burner is someone you always liked, say high school or college, or a former officemate. They’re the kind of person you like keeping the option open because they likely possess some characteristics that appeal to you.

Burner (version 2): 

These are person who often have plenty of free time, mysterious family income situations, no jobs, and lovely open hearts. Too good to be true? Malay mo naman! 

Catch and Release 

Catch and Release means chasing or attracting someone but when they finally “catch” them, they soon get bored and release them. Then the chase continues until another bigger, better “fish” gets reeled in. In dating, this is a person who is exhilarated with the idea of attracting or chasing people either just for the fun of it, or to “collect and collect, then select”, always at the expense of the emotions of others.


A catfish is a person who has created an entirely fictitious identity for themselves online. They exist in every social media platforms and they claim to be someone they are not, including their gender or their age. Beware of them, because they will engage you exclusively online but their claims are often too good to be true. Posers!


Perhaps you’ve done this in one way or another. Creeping is another term for “cyber-stalking”. Just be careful in stalking someone’s instagram account because you might hit like some super old photos! Yikes!

Cuffing Season 

This often happens during cold weather, when “cuddling” is a thing. This is a short-term dating relationship term when singles want to be with a partner for a season. Ayaw na malamig ang Pasko. But when the warm weather starts coming back, they will ditch their partners and or for more options. Netflix and chill pa more.


Described as “rejection with a smile”, curving is a way of letting someone down without explicitly telling them you’re no longer interested. This is basically a form of ghosting but instead of not replying, in fairness, a curver will reply only it will be several days later. They often say they’d love to hang out, they miss you, they are thinking of you, but has plenty of excuses like they’re busy walking the dog or talking with their orchids. Can’t come up with a better excuse?

De Berging (also known as “kitten fishing”) 

It happens when a witty friend (or someone who pushes you to enter a relationship very soon) does the copy editing, proofing, or just plain ghost writing your flirtatious texts for you. Worse, this can also be done to prank a well-intentioned person. Not fun.


DTR means Define The Relationship. It is the final step before you can claim a legit boyfriend/girlfriend status. This is necessary to establish exclusivity. Without proper DTR, there is no clarity and direction to a relationship and it will only lead to heartaches and unmet expectations on either or both parties. Plus, it’s always reaffirming when you can vocalize your expectations/feelings and have them reciprocated.


It’s a big celebration when your significant other changes his/her status to “in a relationship”, posts a picture of you together, and even better, tags you! This is a milestone of a millennial dating relationship: Facebook Official status! Yay! Who wouldn’t want to be flexed by your special someone?


Perhaps this is the most common. Ghosting means after seeing someone, all of a sudden they disappear – just like a ghost. Then weeks or months later after they disappear from your life, they reappear with a random text. Nagpaparamdam. Awoo!


This is curating an instagram feed with another person in mind in the hope that the posts might capture their attention. Perhaps posting a series of cryptic posts, or posting pictures like a person’s favorite hangout place, or wearing a shirt/dress that was once complimented on by that person. In short, digital pagpapapansin. 


It is dropping affections all at once, like a bomb, an explosion. They are adoring you, sending romantically-infused messages, giving you extravagant presents and always wanting to see you. It’s almost like they’re telling you it’s love at first sight just because of the instant chemistry or connection they feel with you. Everything happens too fast, and when you’re “bombed”, you’re being manipulated, and soon you might do things you wouldn’t normally do.


Micro-cheating means small acts that result in having an emotional attraction to someone else, all while keeping it a secret from a partner. People think there’s nothing wrong with it because there is no physical contact, but the problem is the deception it implies. This may happen in a form of giving a person an alias so you’ll not get caught, or teasing each other in private messages.


Orbiting happens when someone ghosts you but still engages with you on social media. They watch your Facebook My Day posts, share your memes and hearts your every post – but they keep on ignoring your calls or texts. They are, in essence, playing mind games. Do not let them win.


R-bombing is when someone reads your message but doesn’t reply. In short, seenzone/inbox-zone. R-bombers are rude because they are sending a message that your message doesn’t warrant a response. When being called out, they just resort to the “I’m so terrible on my phone” excuse.

Slow Fade 

The slow fade is similar to ghosting but more subtle. It happens when the relationship is going really well and when it is expected for a relationship to go the next level, the communication gradually decreases until eventually there’s no more talking anymore. It’s a slow fade when they stop being as responsive to texts or calls, or when they cancel plans and don't make new ones at all.


After ghosting, as the name zombieing is when one person ghosts another, only to return “from the dead” a bit later and get in touch, like a zombie. They are people who, after being inactive and being “dead” from one’s radar for a long period of time, will soon get in touch as if nothing has happened.

Overwhelmed by these terms? Welcome to the world of millennial dating.


Millennial Dating Terms You Ought to Know Millennial Dating Terms You Ought to Know Reviewed by Marts Valenzuela on September 09, 2019 Rating: 5

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