• Online Dating: The New Vocabulary and Tips for Success

    online dating, dating, Dr. Gary Brown, Los Angeles therapist, relationship therapy, individual therapist, DrGaryLATherapist

    We used to find dates by a chance encounter or set up by mutual friends. However, these days most dating begins digitally. There are over a dozen dating apps that allow you to you make a love connection from your phone in the age of Tinder.

    I have met some wonderful couples who started dating on these phone apps and dating sites, which is exciting, to say the least. There is definitely a brighter side of online dating. We also know that there are specific things you can do to help dating go easier. So, we know it works!

    One of the challenges is the crazy vocabulary for these kinds of online experiences. It’s easy to get confused and frustrated, so let’s take a look at these new terms that have appeared and discuss some strategies for dating success.

    Ghosting

    If you’re in the online dating world, you’ve either done it or certainly have been a victim of it. It’s the scenario where someone that you’ve had an encounter with (date, hook-up, budding friendship) and they just disappear without a trace. No call. No text. No nothing. It’s like they’ve just suddenly and unexpectedly disappeared into a fog, and what’s worse is that you may not have seen it coming.

    Additionally, they don’t respond to your calls or texts. There’s no explanation and it may leave you wondering what the heck you did wrong. Especially if you were feeling that there was a good connection and overall you had a positive experience.

    online dating, dating, Dr. Gary Brown, Los Angeles therapist, relationship therapy, individual therapist, DrGaryLATherapist

    When and if this ever happens to you, thank your lucky stars that you are not moving forward with this person because who wants to be in a relationship with someone who can’t have an authentic conversation with another person.

    Simply say to yourself, “Good to know.” And then swipe and move on.

    If you happen to be the kind of person that has ghosted someone, forgive yourself. But be a bigger person next time and remember your old friend karma. It’s best to be straightforward and upfront rather than leaving someone wondering.

    While it may be difficult to say, “I’m not that into you” or “I don’t feel attracted you” or “I don’t think this isn’t going in the direction that I want,” you may be surprised when you are thanked for sharing what’s true for you. Remember, honesty really is the best policy.

    Cushioning

    Cushioning is a dating move when someone has a Plan B already lined up if the current pursuit isn’t working out. If they see the “writing on the wall” while they are letting that relationship run its course, they will start chatting up or “meeting a ‘friend’ for coffee” while dating someone else.

    online dating, dating, Dr. Gary Brown, Los Angeles therapist, relationship therapy, individual therapist, DrGaryLATherapist

    This prevents people from emotional intimacy if they have one foot out the door or are waiting for the next best thing to come along.

    This kind of scenario reminds me of the Albert Einstein quote, “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” Well, same applies to love. One can’t be open to love when they are not present to what may be right in front of them.

    Clearly, this type of person isn’t ready to be in a relationship or values of the person they are with. So again, say to yourself, “Good to know.” And then swipe and move on.

    If you are casually seeing someone, you don’t think it has potential and you find yourself lining up your next dating opportunity, have more respect for your and that person’s time and dignity. Find the courage and have a straight conversation with them. Let them know it’s not them, they after-all may be lovely, but not what you’re looking for.

    Benching, “bread-crumbing” or slow fade

    Benching or bread-crumbing is essentially stringing someone along. It’s what can pass the honesty barometer when they say, “Work has been so busy lately” or “I’ve been traveling.” While those may be true statements, you are also getting the feeling that they are just not that into you.

    And you know what? You’re right. Because if he/she was into you, they would be actively pursuing you rather than stringing you along.

    It’s a way of saving face in the digital world. However, it lacks integrity and honesty.

    Slow fade is also a similar play where without straightforward communication, the person slowly fades into the digital background and quietly disappears.

    Zombie

    A zombie is someone that just won’t disappear and keeps coming back into another’s life. You know the example of “the Zombie ex-girlfriend.” She just won’t go away. Of course, that works both ways.

    online dating, dating, Dr. Gary Brown, Los Angeles therapist, relationship therapy, individual therapist, DrGaryLATherapist

    What may be lacking is a conversation clearly letting the other person know where they stand in their dating relationship.

    If the communication was clear and the person still comes around, that would be another type of concern: i.e., stalking.

    Either way, you may need to look at who the zombies are in your life and clean up any lack of communication if you don’t want them lurking.

    Haunting

    As many of us have social media accounts and share our lives online, a haunting is someone from your past who shows up by commenting or liking your posts. Sometimes it’s random, however, it may be intentional. If you’re curious as to why you are being haunted, ask. Don’t speculate or rehash your last interaction in your mind. Get to the bottom of it and not let that ghost linger.

    If you feel like you’re being haunted and it makes you uncomfortable, you may want or need to ban, block, unfollow or unfriend that person. Depending on the social network, you can take action quietly without a conversation or explanation.

    Breezing

    Breezing is a dating way of being that is a great practice and breath of fresh air. It’s easy in the online dating world to believe that there are “rules” or things that you should do. Breezing lets go of those – it’s the freedom to be your strong authentic self. Confident and carefree.

    online dating, dating, Dr. Gary Brown, Los Angeles therapist, relationship therapy, individual therapist, DrGaryLATherapist

    Breezing is all about being straightforward. When you’re breezy, you ask for what you want. It’s not playing the texting game and waiting to respond to someone. If you like them, text them back.

    Surprisingly, it may be what throws a potential partner off since it’s out of the norm in the online dating world. In fact, it may be how Jenna Dewan Tatum caught Channing Tatum’s interest.

    It’s also not getting caught up in the little things or going down the black spiral of negative emotions. Breezing is staying light, refreshing and moving forward.

    Things to try

    Here are three other suggestions for having your online dating be successful.

    Be okay with clear messaging and ask the same in return.

    If there is one theme in the above dating vocabulary terms, it’s the lack of clear communication. Set a standard for straightforward communication and ask the same of your potential partners.

    This conversation doesn’t have to be confronting. Just say it like you mean it. If the other person likes it (and you) they will, in turn, agree.

    Which brings me to the next point.

    Do NOT settle.

    If the people that you are meeting are not living up to your standards, don’t lower yours. Don’t make excuses for their behavior.

    I bring this up for a specific reason. Sometimes it’s the case that a person we are dating begins to feel insecure, perhaps even jealous. They may try to hang on to us by publicly announcing that “we are boyfriend and girlfriend” or “we’re in a monogamous relationship.” We call this “cuffing”.

    It’s fine if you BOTH have agreed that you are in an exclusive relationship. It is not fine if he or she decides on their own to publicly “cuff” you without your agreement (as in handcuffing).

    Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

    Never ever allow someone to cuff you against your will. You deserve someone who is going to respect you and your standards. You don’t want anything short of that in the long run.

    Numbers don’t lie.

    If you feel like you are being bread-crumbed or ghosted, yes that may hurt and be disappointing. But look at the numbers. How many interactions have you had with this person in a month? If it’s not an enthusiastic number, then let that be a message to you. Maybe they are not that into you.

    You’ll have to ask yourself if it is worth a conversation to directly ask if they are interested or not. If you are willing to have that conversation, good for you. It may take courage, but then you would know. If you are not willing to have that talk, then that is also telling you something. Say to yourself, “Good to know.” And then swipe and move on.

    This is what it is to be breezy. Relaxed and moving forward. That is what is attractive. A person that knows what they want and they confidently move forward in the way of achieving it. It may just be what someone else finds attractive about you.

    I hope that this article on dating vocabulary has been helpful. While there are many reasons to be optimistic about dating, everyone hits some snags now and then. If that’s you right now, I invite you to contact me as a relationship specialist if you have any questions about this or any other aspects of dating.

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