The Dating Slang Terms You Need To Know

Whether you're single or in a relationship, keeping up with dating slang can be hard. Viral words change constantly, and expressing yourself and your desires in relationships can be difficult enough as it is.
Sure, our parents and grandparents had to deal with dating slang, but these days, the terminology changes so rapidly (thanks, social media) that if you don't stay on top of it, you could think the person you're seeing is asking you to "dance the robot" when they text you about wanting to DTR. (Spoiler: In reality, they're actually trying to have a serious conversation about the future of your relationship.)
Here's a list of the latest viral dating slang to help you avoid miscommunication. Make sure to check back, as we'll be updating regularly with new terms as they arise.
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"Tuning" refers to the frustrating experience (or practice, if you're the tuner) of liking Instagram photos, tweets, and Facebook statuses as a way to get a potential mate's attention. Tuning usually refers to activities done on a cell phone, a.k.a. tuning into someone's frequency.

"Sally won't stop liking my boyfriend's tweets, and I get the vibe that she's single again and feeling lonely. You know they have history. Do you think she's tuning him or am I just being paranoid?"


"Uh, so last night Pat liked an Instagram post of mine from literally six months ago, my sexy Christmas selfie I took after too much egg nog. He's totally tuning me, and someone needs to tell him he's getting Jason-from-Halloween-level creepy and to cut that shit out."
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The term "monkeying" is meant to invoke an image of a monkey in the jungle, swinging from tree to tree, without pause in between branches. When it comes to dating, monkeying means bouncing from relationship to relationship, without giving yourself proper "you" time in between. Monkeying can lead to repeating old bad habits and poor patterns in partner selection.

I spent my early 20's monkeying from boyfriend to boyfriend. I couldn't stand to be alone, so rather than deal with my shit, I just swung from dude to dude.


You know I'm only saying this out of love, but I feel like you're just monkeying from girl to girl to avoid dealing with the fact that you're still not over Lisa. Why don't you take a break from dating to actually get over her and focus on yourself, your friends, and career for a while?
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"Benching" is the latest evolution of ghosting. When someone isn't into you enough to commit, but they also don't want to totally give up potential opportunities for future sex or dates, they'll bench you. You can tell you're being benched if someone only texts you when they want, often last minute, and on their schedule. While it's less severe than ghosting (since the person doesn't disappear entirely), it can be crueler, as benching often implies you're being used, or at the very least, the person benching you is keeping their options open.

Todd didn't respond to me for two weeks, and then, out of nowhere, he likes five of my Instagram photos and asks if I'm "around" this weekend. WTF? He's totally benching me.


The sex with Kevin is great, but I'm also really into Scott, and Scott seems like he's more interested in something serious. So I'm just benching Kevin in case things fall through with Scott and I need someone to spend the night with, to be totally honest.
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"Sus" is short-hand for "suspect." Think of the term as the 2017 version of "shady." A variety of situations can be sus, like your roommate's tendency to mysteriously "lose" your clothes whenever they borrow them, even though you totally saw that Zara top she swore she lost on her Instagram story last night. However, it's most often used in dating scenarios, as dating in general is sus AF.

He told me he's crashing with friends during his trip to Chicago, but I know that's where his ex-girlfriend lives, and whenever I casually ask about his 'friends' or their plans while he's in town, he gets totally sus about it.


Kari brought her best friend Marisa, who is also a lesbian, along as a third wheel on our first date, using the excuse that Marisa was having a rough time and needed company. But I got the vibe that Marisa came along to help Kari decide if I was queer enough, and the whole thing was just too sus for me, so I dipped.
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The term "talking" has been around for a while, but it has made a recent viral resurgence. You know that in-between stage when you're not officially dating someone, but you're hanging out, sleeping together, and all your friends know you're an item? You're "talking" when you're pretty much exclusive, but no one has made the move to actually define the relationship.

"What's going on with you and Grace? You two spend every weekend together, but you won't call her your girlfriend."

"I don't know, we're just talking for now. Can you chill with the questions?"


"So are you and Jon talking or what? He won't tell me what's going on with you two, and I'm his best friend."

"Yeah, well, he won't tell me either, and I'm about to leave his ass for someone who can actually commit."
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"DTR" stands for "define the relationship." After you've been talking with someone for months, and it's obvious that you both are feeling it, it's probably time to cut the crap and DTR.

I've met Lee's parents, and he still won't DTR. This is getting ridiculous.


Hey Penelope, sorry to bring this up at a club while the DJ is blasting Michael Bolton, but can we DTR already?