The search for love, especially in modern life, can be confusing and fraught. Luckily, we’re here to help! If you’re venturing into the world of dating, these are the terms you need to know.

Dating terms – Breadcrumbing

Taking note from the story of Hansel and Gretel, breadcrumbing refers to someone who checks in every couple of months like clockwork, typically with a casual message asking how you are, or bringing up something that reminded them of you. The intent is to make sure you don’t forget about them and make you believe that they like you, but will never lead to a real relationship.


This isn’t exactly a new behaviour in dating, but it’s becoming more commonplace and the name suits it to a T. Ghosting is when a person vanishes from thin air — this could be not responding to texts or even no follow up after an initial date. It can leave the other person feeling confused and wondering what they’ve done wrong. Spoiler alert: you probably haven’t, the other person just can’t communicate.

Some psychologists are even looking at ghosting as a form of emotional cruelty that can bring up feelings of rejection or abandonment. So if you’re not feeling the connection, it’s best to share how you feel than leave someone high and dry.


Related to ghosting, ‘zombieing’ is when the person who ghosted you randomly decides to come back into your life without explanation, as if nothing happened at all. It can be especially painful, as you have likely moved on with your life by this point, only to have a reminder thrown back at you without an apology.


Similar to ghosting but with the added element of social media, orbiting is when someone doesn’t disappear completely. Rather, they will ‘orbit’ your social media — from looking at your Instagram stories to keeping up with your updates on Facebook. It’s persistent lurking with no effort to re-start the connection and can make you feel a bit on edge. Maybe they felt the unfollow button was just too harsh, or maybe they’re curious about your life.

Whatever it may be, if you’re feeling like you’re being watched, best to block them and move on. Out of sight, out of mind.


Some say love is just like a sport — so benching becoming part of our dating lexicon is no surprise. Just like in sport, benching refers to the behaviour of keeping someone around when they aren’t dating, but dropping or ‘benching’ them when someone better suited to them comes around.

Unlike ghosting, they will drip-feed you just enough attention and communication to keep you interested.


If you’ve started to see someone and feel like it’s going well, yet you have still to be introduced to their friends or family, you are likely to have been ‘pocketed’. Pocketing is when someone attempts to keep their partner separate from the other aspects of their lives. It’s usually done at the start of the relationship.

But fear not, this doesn’t mean they’re looking to keep you a secret. Instead, they may see introducing you to friends and family as a big step in commitment and they may not be ready for it yet. But if it’s a niggling feeling, it’s best to communicate and see what’s going on.

Dating terms – The flags to know

Red flags

These are the signs that will have you running for the hills. Things like substance abuse, anger issues, overly-controlling behaviour, narcissism or lack of trust can have a massive impact. If you have a bad feeling, it’s best to get out and end the connection when you can.

Pink flags

Similar, but to a lower extent, pink flags are things that make you question the relationship sign. They could be different views on smaller subjects that could have a bigger impact down the road, or even warning signs of more troubling behaviour.

Beige flags

These are signs that someone may be boring or uninteresting, usually with over-used references on their dating profiles (who doesn’t like a lazy Sunday or cheesy chips?) and an air of lack of effort with their responses. After all, if you put little effort into your dating profile, we shudder to think how much effort you could put into a relationship.