By Crystal Cansdale at The Inner Circle

Relationships on Female First

Relationships on Female First

It’s officially cuffing season, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years, you’ll know that come September it’s all anyone in the world of dating can talk about. The term has become so commonly used and understood that Collins Dictionary shortlisted it for its Word of the Year in 2017. 

Cuffing season (defined as the time of year when people couple off to combat the cold and loneliness of autumn and winter) is just one of many dating terms that have made their way into pop culture lexicon. 

Ghosting, breadcrumbing, peacocking, orbiting, benching, paperclipping… I could go on. 

Although they may seem like nonsense, single people are using these words in a bid to make sense of the absolute minefield that is modern dating in 2019. Nearly half (46%) of Inner Circle members feel dating terms are no joke and that they stem from real behaviors, which makes it understandable that 15% are simply over them. 

After ending a five year relationship, I was hurled into singledom at 24, just as online dating as we know it was starting to take off. I went on quite a few dates and with the exception of one guy who went home for Christmas and never came back, my experiences were fairly normal and I was in a relationship within 10 months. 

However, when I found myself single again at 27, it was a whole different story. Me and my friends now get over being ghosted by someone we’ve been dating for months with a simple shrug. It’s become so common it hardly phases us. 

With this kind of lousy behaviour at an all time high, I get why people want to give it a name. It makes it more palatable when you think it’s a thing that’s happening to everyone and not just you. But there’s also an argument that these lighthearted terms trivialise and encourage poor behaviour. Halloween parties this year were full of men dressed up as ‘ghosts’, and there are hundreds of articles telling us about the latest dating trends we need to watch out for - as if it’s more reasonable for us to treat dating like a game of dodgeball than it is for us to expect people to behave better. 

But there’s no sign of these terms becoming less popular. 

The most recent one to hit the headlines is paperclipping. It’s based on Clippy, the Microsoft Office assistant who would pop up and give you unwanted advice on how to use Word. Lol. Translated into dating, paperclipping or ‘a paperclip’ is the guy you used to date who drops you a message every couple of months with no intention other than to remind you that they still exist. And then when you reply, they creep back into the abyss. Lol. 

Like with ‘ghosting’ and ‘orbiting’, because there’s a term to define the behaviour, it’s tempting to brush it off. But really, it’s another unkind way to treat someone - and a complete waste of time.

I’m certainly going to approach dating terms with a little more caution in the future and think about what they really mean before I dismiss someone's sub-par behaviour. 

Check out The Inner Circle’s Dating Pledge - an etiquette guide to set the standard for decent manners. 


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