The bizarre new dating terms you need to know

Dating is confusing enough without the many different terms people have for the way they treat others, but these new terms are here to stay.

Much like how ‘catfishing’ and ‘ghosting’ is now a part of our everyday vocabulary, a bunch of new words have surfaced and are set to become the norm.

Dating and relationships expert, Debbie Rivers says, “New words come about when something becomes so common that we need a way to describe it. However, the problem is these new terms are normalising poor dating behaviour.”

Here are some of the latest dating terms. Can you relate?


According to Debbie, Houseplanting occurs when you are neglecting the person you are seeing and simply don’t give them the care and attention for the relationship to grow.

”Houseplanting came from a post by illustrator Samantha Rothenberg. It read, ‘Hey am I a houseplant? Because you haven’t paid any attention to me in weeks and I think I am dying!’  It went viral as it is what is happening out there,” says Debbie.

“Relationships need time and effort to grow, just like a plant. This trend is all about minimal effort with maximum rewards.”

If you suspect you are the houseplant:

Debbie says: “If you haven’t defined your relationship you can date other people as well, that way you won’t have a needy vibe. But ultimately, I recommend that you take charge of your happiness and value yourself, as no-one enjoys being ignored. People can only treat you how you allow them to. So, if this is how you feel - maybe it is time to actually act like a plant and leave!”


Remember Clippy, the irritating assistant that popped up on Microsoft Word? He’s back as the commitment-phobe guy with a smart phone. Basically, the one who pops up when you least expect him to remind that he exists, despite not wanting to date you.

“Think damaged, flaky and not particularly interested, reappearing for attention and validation. In fact, he feeds off validation,” explains Debbie.

If you suspect you have a paperclipper in your life:

“Don’t fall into the trap that they like you or that it means more than it does. The solution is simple – do nothing, ignore them. You cut off the supply of validation that they were looking for and save yourself a whole lot of wasted energy,” advises Debbie.


Yes, you’ve heard of catfishing, but dogfishing is the latest trend – Debbie says according to multiple studies, around 25 per cent of single men are doing it!

“Dogfishing is a guy posing with a dog that isn’t theirs to be more attractive than they are. It’s not nearly as sinister as catfishing (where the intent is to scam) but it is still deceptive and misleading.

“There is nothing wrong with posing with a dog, if it is yours, in fact it’s a good idea if your dog is part of your life. The problem comes from using the dog as the ‘bait’, especially if the dog was the attraction in the first place,” she explains.

If you suspect you’re being dogfished:

“This works so well because women view the ‘dog guy’ as dependable and trustworthy. If they can look after a dog they are responsible and can think about something other than themselves. Which makes a better partner or parent in the long term. The problem comes when they simply aren’t that guy. Lying is never a great start to any relationship, so to avoid a dogfisher, it only takes a few simple questions about the dog to uncover if the pooch is really theirs. This will save you meeting someone who isn’t who they say they are,” says Debbie.

Blue Stalling

Blue Stalling is an advanced state of dating limbo, leaving lots of relationships hanging in the balance. So, what exactly is it?

“You hang out all the time, almost live at each other’s places, meet each other friends and family. You are very couple-y! But haven’t ever defined the relationship. It seems like you are in a ‘relationship’ but you aren’t quite,” tells Debbie.

“It’s going great, but as soon as you have the relationship talk the other person tells you that they want to keep things how they are. They don’t want to put a label on things, they back off and then say they don’t want anything serious. It is getting all the benefits without any commitment.”

What to do if you’ve been Blue Stalled:

“After the talk and learning you’ve wasted so much time on someone who doesn’t want the same thing you will be left highly frustrated,” says Debbie. “The solution is to be clear about what you want at the beginning, when you first meet someone.  It is important to be brave enough to do this! Otherwise you can lose years to a person who has no intention of committing to you. If a person doesn’t want to commit to a relationship it doesn’t matter how amazing you are, they simply won’t.”

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