Online Dating Special (pt 4): Millennial Innovations & Trends; Ghosting, "Glamboozled", Penpals, Serendipidating, Fleabagging, Cuffing Season, Roaching, Sliding into DMs, Wokefishing and the New Dawn Dating
April 27th, 2021
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Millennials came of age during the digital revolution of the online dating industry and dating apps completely changed how we connected with people around us and in theory gave us the opportunity to find more like-minded souls looking for a similar thing that we wanted. Through ever more sophisticated AI technology these services have been able to data mine increasingly specific algorithms and compatibilities for better user experiences over from the aughts through now. And with these more specialized and hyper customize approaches consumer behaviors started to change. The stigma of online dating has been shifting from fringe to popular - also giving a better user experience with less “fringe” and more adventurous as it became mainstream and culturally acceptable. Thus it became easier to date more and with the digitization of this platform of possibly millions of users - choice became nearly endless. Do you remember our first episode of the series when we talked about the paradox of choice and how these dating apps are sorta set up to actually lead to poor behaviors? Let me remind you before we get in here that The paradox about online dating is that with this many choices you end up choosing no one. Your attitude is, ‘Why would I ever settle because maybe a better option is one swipe away?’
These apps completely changed the landscape of dating for millennials and all other generations for that matter and therefore started entirely new trends (or adjusted and renamed old timey ones) that we are going to talk about on this show this week that for good and mostly bad have forever changed the landscape of dating and relationship. There are tons - far more than I can cover - so i am just highlighting some this week!
The first I am talking about is Ghosting. Which I think was one of the biggest trends to evolve out of the online dating culture. I looked at countless recent studies of millennials and they all had one thing in common - the participants all reported that 75-91% of them had been ghosted.
It became such a buzzworthy topic right around the early and mid 2000s that gawker, ny times, and all the other sites started to talk about what “the millennials'' were adopting. I started to read about it and was like ooooooh yeah that’s what that is.
Amanda - Do you remember when Ghosting came around ….?>>>
Really it has been around forever and is as old as human interactions. It's a form of avoidant behavior. Ghosting has become more and more socially acceptable amongst millennials - across all forms of relationships personal and professional. I have been ghosted many times and I admittedly have ghosted as well. - but honestly, it is so ingrained in the culture that it is just a common occurrence.
Hinge went out and did a survey with them regarding Ghosting and asked them why they did it. 40% of participants said they ghost because they didn’t know how to explain why they didn’t want to see someone again. Almost a third of them said: “It felt uncomfortable rejecting them.” And some said, “It’s less hurtful to disappear than to straight-out reject someone.”Interestingly, was what users say is how they would prefer to be treated when someone isn’t interested, a whopping 85% said, “Tell me! Rejection hurts, but I’d rather know.”
I have found that there are a lot of shaming articles out there and have done it because I felt triggered and didn’t want any further communication with these people. I also have done it because I felt that it was so widely socially acceptable but I do think in the future of taking another thought before being so casual about this.
There is a term called Ghostbusting that is a response to ghosting - essentially forcing a ghost to respond to you. Which sounds a bit intrusive - it is kinda like spamming or continually texting or dm someone until they respond to you.
There is a sub trend called “trickle ghosting,” or “soft ghosting” aka “breadcrumbing” which is called the act of suddenly stopping communication with someone, only to come back into their lives every now and then to lead them on. It is also being called in the olden times as “strung along” Which is such a strange phenomena and really frustrating!!
Ghosting will never go away - I mean it has gained so much popularity - unless people are trained and educated in digital compassion, empathy and behaviour principles as a new culture shift these tendencies won’t alter. But they will shift in different ways. Relationship experts are noticing that people, especially younger people like millennials & genz who are experienced and are savvy to the ways of the ghosting world just have a thicker skin all around because it is a cultural thing. Essentially we have started to build up a tolerance at an earlier age and are no longer so preoccupied with what we have done wrong - because it often isn’t anyone's fault.
Not only that but Ghosting will evolve - Sexual health educator and relationship expert Samantha Bitty, told Global News that since ghosting has become a dating norm, “gas lanterning” will become the new normal. Bitty describes Gas Lanterining as “ when someone sends the last text, however it is clearly not meant to elicit a response or move the conversation/relationship forward. Essentially “The liminal space between ghosting and gaslighting.”She says with the backlash against ghosting, gas laterning is considered an “evolutionary move.”“You can’t be accused of ghosting if you sent the last text,” she said.
For some good news amanda - Hinge,reports that 27 percent of users say they’re ghosting less during the pandemic.
Professional Ghosting is also something that I have noticed that is extremely weird. I have had multiple job interviews where the candidate doesn’t show up and doesn’t respond. Like we have an interview set - digital interviews- and they are total no shows and when you just reach out to make sure there isn’t a mix up they ghost you. It has actually become a really big problem at jobs - like in job hunting candidate ghosting. In fact More than 40% of job seekers say it’s reasonable to ghost companies during the interview process, abruptly cutting off communication when they decide not to pursue a job. I do try to follow up with anyone I have interviewed - to let them know any status - but only if they follow up - and sometimes I totally drop the ball and forget myself but I do try to be respectful if possible and let them know any reasons for not moving forward.
Just right of Ghosting is something called Dial Toning - have you heard of this fun friend?
So this is when someone gives you their number but doesn’t respond to you when you reach out to them. WTF. A whopping 60 percent of singles have experienced this, and 35 percent have actually done it says Popsugar
I heard this one get thrown around alot in the recent dating trends - essentially it's all about getting glammed up to go on a date and they cancel on you at the last minute. You have therefore been “Glamboozled”. Amanda more than 50% of singles have experienced this according to this report from Plenty of Fish.
Plenty of fish also reports that 61% of singles report this annoying trend - called “cause playing” - basically when a casual relationship fizzles but the person keeps kinda popping back up asking for favors like asking you to go see their band play and shit.
So penpals are like really chatty ghosts. We have talked about this weird phenomenon on dating apps and we can break it down just a little further. So - You meet someone on a dating app and you get to talking….and talking...and talking...and talking...and it literally just keeps going and they just don’t make a move or evade actually meeting up. These are penpals. These people oftentimes are already in a relationship or are kinda sidelining you or they are just not ready to date, or just BORED - so they are going to waste your time. I also think the amount of choice just keeps people looking and looking and holding onto a few penpals as well….
So this actually gets us right into this other trend - Nearly a third of singles and have admitted to putting off a day and time to meet for a date, just on the off-chance they meet someone in the interim who may be a better match - the grass is always greener situation also called Serendipidating. Which can also be a case of penpal syndrome.
Okay here is a really gross one I found. Which I feel like correlates to some penpals out there. It is called Roaching. Essentially this is when you find out that your partner hasn’t cheated on you per se but has been casually looking for someone else on the side and honestly the easiest way to look for someone else is online - but it isn’t exclusive to online dating - then they conveniently redirect the blame saying that they didn’t realize that you were monogamous - this is called “roaching”.
A new term came out of one of my all time favorite series by Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag. It is essentially making really toxic choices again and again and again - it could be breaking up with something and getting back to gathering with them over and over again or just constantly choosing the wrong men or women. Just making bad relationship choices in an endless cycle with no end in sight. I think I can speak for both Amanda and I as we both have been stuck fleabagging ourselves - you have to be really self reflective and learn from your mistakes.
Next up - Cuffing Season. Now this one I was a little unaware of even though I had heard it played about for years.
Essentially it is the time period between October and March when people settle down into committed relationships - basically hunkering down for the winter - it is also an escape from being single for the holidays. It gets its name from handcuffs and is literally a winter dating phenomenon. It sounds so gross to me but it is a real seasonal dating trend. It popped up in 2011 in Urban Dictionary and then in 2013 we started seeing it pop up in the media as well as songs and then slide on into the meme culture.
There is also a De-cuffing Season which starts when it gets warmer out so like May- Aug. Amanda, do you have any time period trends of your own?
Sliding into DMs
So Amanda have you ever slid into anyone's DM’s?
getting in touch with someone to flirt via the direct messaging function on Twitter or Instagram
So this is one that has really eluded me. I think this is really a generational thing - I feel like it makes more sense if you are in school with someone like maybe teens or collage kids that was relevant. For sure ballsy but I think it's a bit more common than we would know about.
Well this is another meet cute for some romances including not just one but two Jonas brothers - Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner as well as Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra both met by sliding into DMs.
So I found a few funny new terms Amanda Vogue has some really great new terms
Vogue describes it as: “It’s 2020 but we’re still not over Ross and Rachel’s ‘break’. In fact, millennials are bringing back the ’90s with this dating term wherein you're dating someone new, but find out that they’re still on the apps and hooking up with other people, even before you’ve had the chance to define your relationship. On to the next one, we say!”
This is such a grey area and it's really hard to DTR super early on - what do you think of this one Amanda?
Okay Vogue explains : “If you think you just met the holy grail of forward-thinking guys, think again. Because, wokefishing. It’s when someone pretends to hold more progressive thoughts than they actually do; either as bait for more matches, or because they just don’t know any better. But hey, at least it makes their bio look good! See also: dogfishing, which is using one’s pet to reel in more matches.”
Now amanda you have had experience with this guy - also so the Hipster episode with the Woke Sexist.
New Dawn Daters
Post pandemic dating will be real and it will be big and the pandemic may have converted the last of the online dating app skeptics as well as turned over some relationships creating some new demands for some hopeful romantics looking for new love. This is called the New Dawn Daters - the new age of online dating is about to begin Amanda and it is about to get hot and heavy.