Modern Love: Relationship language in 2020

2 min read

Dating is hard. It's made even more challenging by the changing ways in which people communicate. How can you tell if they’re interested in you? What do you call it when someone stops responding and hangs you out to dry? We’ll help you figure out where you stand with that special (or not-so-special) person in your life.

Swipe right

Or left. If you’ve used popular dating apps, you already know this one. On many of these apps, like Tinder, if you swipe right, it means you want to connect with the person whose name and photo comes up on your screen. You might want to talk to them, or even go on a date (if the talking part goes well). If you swipe left, you’re not interested, and you move on to the next one.


If someone ghosts you, the unfortunate fact is that they probably don’t want to talk to you anymore. Maybe you’ve been texting someone, and you thought things were going well. Then, all of a sudden, they stop replying to you. You send message after message, and maybe you even call them. No answer. They’ve stopped responding, maybe even blocked you on social media, and they didn’t give you any warning or explanation. That’s ghosting.


If someone benches you, they’re acting just interested enough to let you know they might want to get romantically involved. At the same time, they’re seeing other people and keeping you around as a second option, in case the first one falls through. The bench is one step above ghosting, but it’s still not a fun place to be.


When you’re tired of being unsure whether someone wants to be with you or not, it’s time to DTR — define the relationship. It can be as simple as texting someone to ask “what are we?” But make it clear what you want to be, because if you don’t, that can create a whole new mess of misunderstandings. As if trying to DTR isn’t stressful enough.

Maybe the reason you need to DTR is because the person is breadcrumbing you. They’re leading you on by flirting with you, but they don’t have any intention of forming a lasting relationship. They don’t want to put in the effort. They just want to know you’re interested, even if they’re not.

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