Arm yourself: all the dating trends you need to know for 2020

As we enter a new decade, it looks like online dating isn’t going anywhere. It pays to be prepared with this handy guide.

Modern dating can feel a lot like navigating a minefield.

Gone are the good old days when your sole focus was on finding someone you actually like (no easy feat in itself). 

Nowadays, you also need to watch out for fleabagging, dogfishing and caspering, to name a few. There’s even different shades of ghosting to worry about: soft and hard.

The bad news is this treacherous new landscape probably isn’t going anywhere: statistics predict more than half of couples will meet online by 2031, and most babies born in 2037 will be “e-babies”, aka babies whose parents hooked up on the internet.

However, there is good news: you can be prepared by arming yourself with the dating terms you’ll need to know for 2020 and beyond.


Inspired by Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s iconic TV character, Fleabagging is essentially the act of dating those people we know are wrong for us. The term was coined by dating site Plenty of Fish, whose experts revealed that women are much more likely to ‘Fleabag’ than men. Indeed, according to the dating site, 63% of women have admitted to doing it, vs 38% of men.


Like a phone that won’t connect, “dial-toning” is the term used to describe when someone gives you their number, only to never reply to your message after you text them. Like ghosting, except you never get through the first time. A 90s name for a modern problem.

Dial-toning is when you never get a reply


Nearly half of singles have experienced this phenomenon: when an ex gets back in touch after you’ve split to ask a favour, usually something charity-related. If you’ve ever got the “Hey, I’m doing X, could you donate/come along?”, you, my friend, have been cause-played.


Have you ever been dating someone who suddenly takes up the same interests as you? It might start with them ‘tagging along’ to your Sunday yoga class. Next minute: they’ve bought an unlimited membership. Eclipsing is effectively when someone starts adopting the same hobbies as they person they’re dating. 


If you’ve ever got dolled up for a hot date only to be bailed on – or worse, ghosted – at the twelfth hour, not only have you been bamboozled, you’ve also been glamboozled. Sadly, more than half of daters have experienced this. What a waste of time and product. 

You can never get that foundation back

Yellow carding

Not necessarily a bad thing, this is when you call someone out on their bad dating behaviour. If they glamboozle you, for instance.


If your partner’s ex keeps reaching out to you, you might be a victim of exoskeleton-ing. More than a fifth of singles have been through this via social media or otherwise. 


Obsessed with Myers-Briggs and love languages? Well, you might be guilty of typecasting: exclusively dating people based on compatibility. No Capricorns, et cetera. 


The first part of a relationship tends to be the most exciting. You can’t get enough of them. When you’re not with them, you’re wishing you were. It’s not called the honeymoon period for nothing. A flashpanner loves this warm, fuzzy feeling too. So much that they tend to jump ship after this part is over. Not cool.


If you’re a one-foot-in-one-foot-out kind of dating app user, this might be you. Obligaswiping describes when you endlessly swipe without any real follow through. Sure, you might flirt a little, hang around for a chat but you have no real intention of meeting up, you just want to tell yourself you’re making the effort. 


Sure this is not new, per se, but it’s been doing the rounds for good reason. It’s like ghosting, only ‘friendly’. In other words, when you give someone the heads up that you’re about to ghost them.

Images: Getty

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