Plenty of Fish reveals the dating trends that'll be tormenting us for 2021
17th November 2020

As of this year, the single among us have embrace ‘slow dating’ and tried their best to overcome the 10pm ‘Cinderella curfew’ imposed on them due to coronavirus.

It feels like we’ve all been through about ten lifetime’s worth of changes from February onwards, with dating being no exception to this.

With these changes come new dating trends, with topical events shaping how we navigate our relationships.

Dating site Plenty of Fish surveyed over 3,000 of their members to work out the common denominators among UK singles. Their research has spawned some dating trends that will potentially have you tearing your hair out come Christmas 2021.

Connell-vision (/kon-nell-vish-un) Fancying someone based on their fashion sense

  • Just as the nation drooled over Normal People’s Connell and his famous chain, 12% of singles admit they’ve fancied someone purely for their fashion sense.
  • 18% also know someone else who has done this.
  • You might say, ‘I’ve got total “Connell-vision”, I only fancy their outfit!’

Apocalypsing (/ah-poc-a-lyps-ing) Treating every relationship like it’s your last

  • This year felt like the end of the world at times, so much so that 41% of singles know someone who treated every relationship like it was their last, while a quarter (24%) admit to doing so themselves.
  • 29% have also found themselves more eager to be in a relationship due to quarantine.

Twice Baked (/twy-s-bayk-d) When someone’s chat is twice baked and you have the same repetitive boring COVID convos (from sourdough to banana bread)

  • 29% of single Brits have found themselves continually having the same Covid-themed conversation over and over – we’re talking banana bread, Joe Wickes’ PE classes and one walk a day on repeat.

Baby Zoomers (bay-bee zu-murs) A term to describe the new ‘generation’ of babies conceived during lockdown

  • Move aside boomers, lockdown has created a whole new generation. Almost a fifth (19%) know someone who has gotten pregnant during lockdown.
  • Baby Zoomers are even more prevalent amongst Millennials, with 30% knowing someone expecting a lockdown baby.  

Barnard-castling (/bahr-nahr-d-cahs-ling) Getting caught out by your partner for using outlandish excuses

  • 16% know someone who has been caught out by their partner for using outlandish excuses a la Dominic Cummings.
  • Boomers seem to be the least likely to tell a tall tale as only 7% know someone who has been foiled, compared to over a quarter of Gen Z.

Sanitising (/sah-ni-tizing) Erasing every photo of an ex from social media after a break-up

  • Over a third (37%) of people have taken a ‘Hands, Face, Space’ approach to their Instagram account after a split, to get rid of any trace of their ex. An even higher number (31%) have experienced an ex do the same.
  • Half know a friend who has  sanitised their social feeds post breakup.
  • Gen Z are the biggest culprits, as over half admit to sanitising all traces of their old partner from social media.

Proofing (/pru-fing) Giving a relationship time to breathe and not rushing into it

  • Almost half (46%) of singles seem to have taken relationship advice from the Great British Bake Off, by giving a relationship time to breathe and choosing not to rush into it.
  • Perhaps lockdown break-ups have inspired people to be more choosy.

Folklore-ing (/fo-klore-ing) Being so focused on a fairytale romance that expectations don’t  match reality

  • Inspired by Taylor Swift’s indie daydreams, 32% have been so focused on having a fairy tale romance, only to find that their expectations haven’t met the reality.

Tok-blocking  (/tawk-blok-ing) Watching TikTok so much that it interferes with your dating life.

  • Brits followed TikTok closely in 2020, from Blinding Lights to Savage Love. However, over one in ten singles (14%) say they know someone whose TikTok-ing is blocking their route to romance.
  • With the endless videos that scroll automatically and tailor to you, it’s like a pleasurable version of doomscrolling. Failure to log off could spell failure in your relationship.

Despite the craziness that 2020 has brought – and that 2021 will no doubt continue – there’s also the upside. Hopefully people will be less likely to waste others time, and more inclined to go for what they actually want.

If not, there’s always sanitising.

Dating terms and trends, defined

Blue-stalling: When two people are dating and acting like a couple, but one person in the partnership states they’re unready for any sort of label or commitment (despite acting in a different manner).

Breadcrumbing: Leaving ‘breadcrumbs’ of interest – random noncommittal messages and notifications that seem to lead on forever, but don’t actually end up taking you anywhere worthwhile Breadcrumbing is all about piquing someone’s interest without the payoff of a date or a relationship.

Caspering: Being a friendly ghost – meaning yes, you ghost, but you offer an explanation beforehand. Caspering is all about being a nice human being with common decency. A novel idea.

Catfish: Someone who uses a fake identity to lure dates online.

Clearing: Clearing season happens in January. It’s when we’re so miserable thanks to Christmas being over, the cold weather, and general seasonal dreariness, that we will hook up with anyone just so we don’t feel completely unattractive. You might bang an ex, or give that creepy guy who you don’t really fancy a chance, or put up with truly awful sex just so you can feel human touch. It’s a tough time. Stay strong.

Cloutlighting: Cloutlighting is the combo of gaslighting and chasing social media clout. Someone will bait the person they’re dating on camera with the intention of getting them upset or angry, or making them look stupid, then share the video for everyone to laugh at.

Cockfishing: Also known as catcocking. When someone sending dick pics uses photo editing software or other methods to change the look of their penis, usually making it look bigger than it really is.

Cuffing season: The chilly autumn and winter months when you are struck by a desire to be coupled up, or cuffed.

Firedooring: Being firedoored is when the access is entirely on one side, so you’re always waiting for them to call or text and your efforts are shot down.

Fishing: When someone will send out messages to a bunch of people to see who’d be interested in hooking up, wait to see who responds, then take their pick of who they want to get with. It’s called fishing because the fisher loads up on bait, waits for one fish to bite, then ignores all the others.

Flashpanner: Someone who’s addicted to that warm, fuzzy, and exciting start bit of a relationship, but can’t handle the hard bits that might come after – such as having to make a firm commitment, or meeting their parents, or posting an Instagram photo with them captioned as ‘this one’.

Freckling: Freckling is when someone pops into your dating life when the weather’s nice… and then vanishes once it’s a little chillier.

Gatsbying: To post a video, picture or selfie to public social media purely for a love interest to see it.

Ghosting: Cutting off all communication without explanation.

Grande-ing: Being grateful, rather than resentful, for your exes, just like Ariana Grande.

Hatfishing: When someone who looks better when wearing a hat has pics on their dating profile that exclusively show them wearing hats.

Kittenfishing: Using images that are of you, but are flattering to a point that it might be deceptive. So using really old or heavily edited photos, for example. Kittenfishes can also wildly exaggerate their height, age, interests, or accomplishments.

Lovebombing: Showering someone with attention, gifts, gestures of affection, and promises for your future relationship, only to distract them from your not-so-great bits. In extreme cases this can form the basis for an abusive relationship.

Microcheating: Cheating without physically crossing the line. So stuff like emotional cheating, sexting, confiding in someone other than your partner, that sort of thing.

Mountaineering: Reaching for people who might be out of your league, or reaching for the absolute top of the mountain.

Obligaswiping: The act of endlessly swiping on dating apps and flirt-chatting away with no legitimate intention of meeting up, so you can tell yourself you’re doing *something* to put yourself out there.

Orbiting: The act of watching someone’s Instagram stories or liking their tweets or generally staying in their ‘orbit’ after a breakup.

Paperclipping: When someone sporadically pops up to remind you of their existence, to prevent you from ever fully moving on.

Preating: Pre-cheating – laying the groundwork and putting out feelers for cheating, by sending flirty messages or getting closer to a work crush.

Prowling: Going hot and cold when it comes to expressing romantic interest.

R-bombing: Not responding to your messages but reading them all, so you see the ‘delivered’ and ‘read’ signs and feel like throwing your phone across the room.

Scroogeing: Dumping someone right before Christmas so you don’t have to buy them a present.

Shadowing: Posing with a hot friend in all your dating app photos, knowing people will assume you’re the attractive one and will be too polite to ask.

Shaveducking: Feeling deeply confused over whether you’re really attracted to a person or if they just have great facial hair.

Sneating:When you go on dates just for a free meal.

Stashing: The act of hiding someone you’re dating from your friends, family, and social media.

Submarineing: When someone ghosts, then suddenly returns and acts like nothing happened.

V-lationshipping:When someone you used to date reappears just around Valentine’s Day, usually out of loneliness and desperation.

You-turning: Falling head over heels for someone, only to suddenly change your mind and dip.

Zombieing: Ghosting then returning from the dead. Different from submarineing because at least a zombie will acknowledge their distance.

 

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