Between getting ghosted and unwittingly entering dead-end situationships, dating in 2022 is an absolute minefield.
Nowadays there is a dictionary-worth of dating terminology for singletons to digest and although keeping up with the lingo can be exhausting, being aware of dastardly dating trends doing the rounds can help you recognise problematic behaviour.
Knowledge is power, after all.
So what are some of the most common dating trends, such as ghosting, and why on earth do people do them?
Psychologist Darren Stanton, who has earned the nickname “the human lie detector”, has broken down the reasons behind seven common courting habits that singletons will be all too familiar with for Slingo.
By analysing some of dating’s darker trends and understanding why the culprits act in the way they do from a psychological perspective, Darren’s insights may demystify some of your dating woes.
So without further ado…
What is it? Ending all contact with someone without any explanation. Spooky.
Why do people do it? According to Darren, it may be down to shoddy communication skills and an inability to take responsibility.
Although it hurts at the time, he said it may be a “blessing in disguise”.
He said: “In the modern age, it is much more difficult to go off the radar as people know when you’re online, when you’ve read their message and many have to go to great lengths to remain aloof.
“For the perpetrator, this is a defence mechanism. Where their interest may have waned, this method is largely to avoid awkwardness, social embarrassment and potentially not to hurt you. Moreover it is generally so the person doing the ghosting does not really have to confront you.
“It’s a coward’s way out and shows that person’s insecurities about their communicative abilities and their fear of taking responsibility. These are two important traits needed for a healthy relationship, so for those who have been ghosted, it may be a blessing in disguise.”
What is it? Uh oh, the séance worked. Zombieing is when someone who has ghosted you sends a message from beyond the grave.
Why do people do it? They’re testing you, basically. Whether or not you respond depends on your circumstances, but be wary as they might once again float off into the ether.
Darren explained: “The reason for ghosting someone is not always clear to the recipient. It may be because the ghoster is not interested, but sometimes it could also be if they want to date other people, or maybe they don’t like how serious things are becoming.
“By zombieing, the person is returning to a common ground, which is often an act of safety and security. Depending on the feeling of the person who has been ghosted, a random message could be a nice surprise or bring back a painful memory.
“The zombie is testing the water to see a reaction.
“Yet without their motive being clear, it’s risky business engaging with a zombie as they may go off the map once again when something better arrives.”
What is it? Haunting is when someone who has ghosted you likes a social media post of yours with no other contact. Eerie.
Why do people do it? Again, they’re testing you - but being less straightforward about it. It’s more subtle than zombieing, and can leave you questioning their true intentions.
Darren said: “It’s quite a bizarre character trait and is associated more with power than affection. The ghoster wants the other person to feel them there, but be in control of the situation. It’s actually rather creepy when you think about it without context and could be quite off-putting for the person receiving the social media like.
“Once again, the person doing the liking is trying to spark a reaction and conversation without addressing the real issue at hand, which is their absence from any interaction for an extended period of time.
“These people are chancers and afraid of facing up to their wrongdoings.”
What is it? Kanye-ing is when you go on a date, and the other person only speaks about themselves.
Why do people do it? Let’s face it - we’ve all encountered a “Kanye” in our time. The feeling you might get when someone comes across as interested in you is notably absent in dates where you’ve been Kanye-d.
Darren said: “These people are egocentric and put a bigger emphasis on their own value than yours.
“To them, they may just want to impress and think they are doing a good job of sweeping you off their feet by telling you about their well-paid job, their interests, their good group of friends. However, their main focus should be on you and not on themselves.
“For these people, often when you peel back the layers they are actually quite introverted. Anyone who feels wealth and possessions are the basis for a great date, or potential relationship, is clearly way off the mark.”
What is it? When someone on a dating app only uses group photos mimicking “Where’s Wally?”
Why do people do it? Although it’s encouraged to have a couple of group snaps on your dating profile to show you’re sociable, having only group pictures can leave potential matches scratching their heads.
And it could be down to confidence, according to Darren.
He said: “What may seem a silly way of getting attention could actually manifest as more of a confidence issue. By Wally-ing, maybe it’s more they are not truly comfortable in their skin and they are trying to show their fun, approachable personality rather than their looks.
“If someone viewing their profile is in a similar position, this may be a good way to connect with someone like-minded. However, most people will likely overlook this and see it as a form of deception.”
What is it? Getting ready for a date and being cancelled on last minute.
Why do people do it? Although there are times a date genuinely may have to cancel a date at the last minute due to an emergency or other commitment, it still stings when it happens.
Darren said giving people as much notice as possible can alleviate their disappointment and save their opinion of you - particularly if you’ve struck up a rapport. But some people give no notice.
“Whether foul play or not, this characteristic is often linked to selfishness and those that are often erratic in their behaviour,” Darren said.
“They are concerned about their own plans and what they are doing only. These people will often be spontaneous and exciting, but unreliable. Not the type of person to depend on as they will only let you down again and again.”
What is it? When someone you’re dating doesn’t allow you to meet their friends and family. Ouch.
Why do people do it? This could be an indication they’re unsure about the relationship but haven’t told you, Darren said. Oof.
“A person who is stashing you may have a number of reasons as to why they do not want you to meet their loved ones,” he said.
“Maybe they’re not 100 per cent about the relationship, but haven’t voiced this to you.
“Or maybe they want to separate their dating life and their personal life. The latter isn’t something that can be sustainable in the long term, but can help people to compartmentalise and adapt to a new dynamic - for instance, if they have just come out of a long-term relationship or if they’ve never had a serious partner before.”
“Similarly to many of these other trends, there is an element of selfishness still about this. It’s not their prerogative to share the rest of their life with a loved one, yet for that person to totally trust and immerse themselves into their life - there needs to be a level of openness and transparency.”