When it comes to meeting that special someone, we’ve gone from IRL to swiping right. Online dating has changed the way people meet and communicate — and as that old saying goes, when you’re trying to find bae, communication is key.
With new ways to flirt, date and find love come new lingo to describe the adventures — or misadventures — of online dating.
As part of Morning Edition‘s series, What Makes Us Click, here are some words and terms in the online dating lexicon.
To call someone “bae” is to refer to them as your significant other. But bae can be used in other forms, often to say you like something. For example, to say “I love cats,” say “cats are bae.” Most likely bae is the shortened form of babe or baby, Dictionary.com says.
Sending flirty texts to keep someone around or string them along with little to no intention to seriously date them. It’s like ghosting but with some extra stab wounds.
A “robot” or fictitious account made to look like a real person on a dating app. Easily identifiable by their way-too-perfect photos.
When an online profile assumes a false identity, and the user misrepresents himself or herself to other users. Sometimes catfishing is done as part of a con or a larger purpose. Generally, these users will only communicate online, never in person, in order to maintain the facade.
In 2013, former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’ was at the center of what Deadspin reported as a “hoax,” in which the story of his girlfriend, and her death, was fabricated. Merriam-Webster officially added the term in 2014.
Think “handcuffs.” It’s a loosely defined period of the year of mostly colder-weather months, during which users, who would otherwise want to be single, seek out a mate to snuggle and settle down with until the weather warms up.
When you scroll through your crush’s (or potential date’s) social media profiles and like very, very old photos, either intentionally or accidentally. A deep like risks letting someone know that you’re not only interested in them but that you also spent time researching them.
An acronym for “define the relationship,” a reference to that important talk when two people decide how to label what’s going on between them.
When someone you’ve been dating abruptly cuts off communication without explanation, thus turning into a ghost. You may text them but they will never text you back. Hello?
A specific form of catfishing in which a user, in an effort to hide their hair — or lack thereof — wears a hat in every picture on their online profile.
An acronym for “in real life.” Often used in chats with matches on dating apps to signal you would like to hang out. For example, “I like your hat photo. Let’s meet up IRL.”
The unexpected, funny, adorable or otherwise charming backstory of how a couple met for the first time.
This phrase is associated with an action on many dating apps. To swipe right means to indicate interest or attraction in a person. On some dating apps, users are shown a photo and given two basic options; swipe right to like a user, swipe left to move on. While not all dating apps use the swipe function, most have a similar function allowing users to immediately say yes or no to a potential match.
Sliding into DMs
Sliding into DMs has become a subtle way to flirt online. DM is the abbreviation for direct message — a way to privately reach someone you follow on social media. The phrase can be modified to match its use: Sliding into his DMs, into her DMs or sliding into the DMs.
And then there’s “sliding into DMs like” which is the meme form of the term.
Submarining, a newly named trend, begins when someone with whom you have romantic involvement, ghosts — or disappears from your life without notice — only to resurface, with no apology and acts as if no time had passed.