This Valentine’s Day, #love is the most trending hashtag of all time on Instagram. But dating is a lot more complicated than it was a decade ago. With dating apps at your fingertips and social media encroaching further and further on daily life, it is both easier to meet people and avoid people. The dating trends of the last few years have led dating coaches and daters alike to coin new terminology to explain what exactly to make of the contemporary dating scene. What’s Trending spoke to acclaimed dating coach for men Blaine Anderson about what to make of all the latest terms. Anderson was inspired to start coaching men during her college years when she was in a sorority, and helped set her friends up for success. Here are the most trending terms on Instagram this Valentine’s Day, and what exactly they mean.
#Love is the most popular hashtag of all time on Instagram 💗
Here’s what people are loving pic.twitter.com/Fjx6aoQbuV
— Instagram (@instagram) February 8, 2023
This term is easily the most popular among Gen Z. Initially coined by college students, this essentially describes a couple who are emotionally and/or physically involved at the same level of two people in a relationship, but without the title and exclusivity. Sometimes this lends way to a relationship, and sometimes it lends way to heartbreak.TikTok had a lot to say about this term. One trend includes people sharing the most outlandish messages they’ve received from their situationship, and often the commenters decide whether the relationship should actually become official.
Other wellness influencers have taken to using the word in relation to their own personal growth journeys. Some people decided to go celibate following a situationship, so as to focus all of their energy on themselves until the right person comes along.
Happy and at peace over here! 💝☺️✨ my podcast is on apple and Spotify “SacredSharp radio” I talk deep women empowerment and self love #fypシ #foryoupage #sneakylink #situationship #celibacy #womenempowerment #truth #podcast #feminism #divinefeminine
It will change because you will change #lastchristmas #wham #dating #relationship #situationship #fwb #casualdating #hookupculture #college #hotgirlinterrupted #romance #love #ily #celibacy #healing
Others simply share coping mechanisms on how to get through a situationship. Some share playlists with songs that describe their feelings, and offer a community to those who are in the same boat.
a situationship anthem #situationship #dating #relationships #playlist #curator #songsuggestions #heartbreak #greenscreenvideo #lillianhepler
Blaine Anderson explained that a lot of the negative connotations that surround situationships are born out of simple communication issues. “When it comes to avoiding the dreaded situationship, which is only dreaded for some, others are very open to it, communicating upfront is a must,” Anderson said. “Ask them ‘what you are looking for? Are these situationships being very clear that you’re going on dates, actual dates, not necessarily Netflix and chill or hanging out with groups of friends. Just being upfront about where you stand is important. Saying ‘Hey, I really enjoy going on dates with you. I’m feeling good about this.’ Simply say where you stand rather than waiting for the other person to be the one to bring it up or broach the topic.”
This term describes a few different scenarios. Some interpret it as describing a vacation romance that ultimately ends when the traveler returns to their home country. Others use it to describe seeking a long distance relationship on purpose by setting their dating profiles to travel mode and swiping on people in some of their dream destinations.
On TikTok, some recount cinematic foreign love affairs that shaped their youth, but were only meant to last a short time. These relationships may work better for people with certain attachment styles. Blaine Anderson explained what type of relationships match up with each attachment style.
met an Italian boy on tinder and he showed me the amalfi coast on his motorcycle and boat, then cooked me dinner. 🍝 🇮🇹 ladies, go to Italy. #travel
♬ Mystery of Love (From the Original Motion Picture “Call Me by Your Name”) – Sufjan Stevens
“I think attachment theory can play into it. For someone who is avoidant attached, it’s much easier to fall into a situationship or wanderlove because it doesn’t require the commitments or the labels that they might be avoiding. But I think, more broad, and very dependent on any given situation, the casualness of dating and the ease of dating apps, is more the cause of these relationships. You have hundreds of people literally at your fingertips through social media, through dating apps, there’s always, you know, maybe something better out there,” said Anderson.
Breadcrumbing is the food of the situationship. It involves someone dropping “crumbs” of attention and affection just enough to keep the other person on the line, but still not commit to being in a relationship with them. This can range from the occasional 2 a.m. text message to the happy birthday wish after being estranged for months (or even years).
🍞breadcrumbing = sending flirtatious signals but never actually going through with it
— Instagram (@instagram) February 10, 2023
Are you being breadcrumbed? #mentalhealth #therapy #therapytok #mentalhealthmatters #relationshiptips #dating #datingadvice #breadcrumb #breadcrumbing
TikTok had plenty of examples to show for this term, from real life examples to dating coaches and therapists explaining how to handle a situation like this. Blaine Anderson offered some words of wisdom on the (yet again) communication issues that start this situation.
“I think that since we rely so much more on technology now, it actually hurts our ability to communicate effectively with other humans, because we use that as a crutch so often. Oftentimes building up to like, ‘how do I say something?’ Or “do I say something?” and this leads to inaction and actually makes people much more nervous. When you just say it, you don’t have to worry about saying it perfectly, or communicating the perfect thing. But if you can just start it and get it out there, the other person is going to be more receptive than you probably think, and the conversation can build and happen from there,” said Anderson. “I think people are also often scared of sending the anti ghost text, because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, and they’re worried they might be mad. But anytime I have spoken with a client who either received an anti ghost text, or sent one, they always feel like ‘at least I know.’”
Over the past few years, many casual daters refer to their list of people they’re talking to or spending time with as a “roster,” and benching goes hand in hand. Benching essentially translates to letting someone sit on the sidelines without entirely letting them go, either because you’re too busy for a relationship or you’ve begun something with someone else that is not set in stone just yet. Benching is the cousin of breadcrumbing.
Have you ever heard of this new term in dating called ‘benching?’ #benching #dating Comment below if you have ever been benched😂😅
Benching is often considered the more involved version of breadcrumbing, and only recently made a resurgence as a popular term in the dating scene. It is one of many reasons that some people across social media have shared that they decided to go celibate after being benched, breadcrumbed, or in a situationship. The uncertainty of it all did not bode well for their mental health, and some feel that they were able to find more successful relationships after a period of celibacy.
Blaine Anderson has seen several clients find success after they stopped benching people and focused on themselves. “It’s definitely something we talked about–you are actually going to have better success finding a woman that you’re interested in dating for the long term, if you first focus on making yourself happy or whole, before you find a woman,” said Anderson. “It’s the same concept of not settling or just being with someone to be with someone, but truly valuing and appreciating yourself and your alone time first.”
On a positive note, some people are opting for open casting after a string of bad endings with people who they classify as their type. This term essentially means that people are open to meeting people who may not match their usual physical or personality type, because they value finding a deeper level of compatibility more.
Solo dolo 🥳 #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen #lgbt #wlw
While some argue that this term leads to settling in relationships, expert Blaine Anderson begs to differ. “One of my biggest pieces of advice to clients, and even though I coach men, I say this to women, too, is to be open to who you are considering dating. Because you know, a lot of times people put in, I need a certain height, or I need a certain look, or a job or an education level, when the reality is that they would be very surprised who they ultimately connect with. If they had an open mind and approached dating more broadly, rather than assuming they knew what they needed,” said Anderson. “It’s opening up your heart and yourself to the possibility of finding something that really speaks to you. And most of us don’t necessarily know what that is until it hits you over the head or you find it.”
While there can be a lot of pressure to have a date for February 14, Anderson thinks that if you’re single, you shouldn’t overthink it. “The reality is, unless you are dating somebody, you shouldn’t be taking somebody on a first or second date on Valentine’s Day anyway,” said Anderson. “Enjoy yourself. If it’s on your mind, plan something with friends, maybe plan something with a group of single men and women. Whether it’s bowling or getting drinks or going to a concert to feel that love. It doesn’t have to always be romantic love, but it can be like friends or familial love as well.”
You can find Blaine Anderson on Instagram @datingbyblaine.