10 Gen Z relationship slangs that millennials might not understand

10 Gen Z relationship slangs that millennials might not understand

Navigating the modern dating world can be like learning a new language, especially when you’re caught between generations.

Gen Z, those born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, have developed a unique set of slang terms to describe their romantic escapades.

For Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, keeping up with these evolving terms can feel like deciphering a code.

From “situationships” to “breadcrumbing,” here’s a crash course in the relationship lingo that Gen Z swears by and that often leaves Millennials scratching their heads in confusion.


This is a dating practice where someone keeps another person on the sidelines as a backup option while pursuing other romantic interests. The term comes from sports, where a coach might keep a player on the bench rather than letting them play in the game. In the context of relationships, it means giving someone just enough attention to keep them interested without fully committing to a relationship.


Another dating strategy where someone maintains a roster of potential romantic interests, or “cushions,” while being in a primary relationship. This practice is done to soften the blow or cushion the emotional impact in case the main relationship fails. It involves flirting, texting, or even casually dating multiple people without any serious commitment to them, providing a backup plan to fall back on.

Cuffing Season

This refers to the phenomenon where people look to couple up or enter into serious, often exclusive relationships during the colder months, typically from autumn to early spring. This period is known as “cuffing season.” The term comes from the idea of being “handcuffed” to another person, implying a desire for companionship and stability during a time when social activities might decrease, and the weather makes cosying up indoors more appealing.


A term used to describe a romantic or sexual relationship that is more than a casual hookup but not as committed or clearly defined as a traditional relationship. It’s a gray area where the people involved might act like a couple but haven’t explicitly labelled their relationship or agreed on exclusivity.

Love bombing

This is a manipulative tactic often used by individuals in romantic contexts to gain control over their partner. It involves overwhelming someone with excessive attention, affection, flattery, and gifts early in the relationship to make them feel incredibly special and dependent. The aim is to create a strong emotional bond quickly, making it harder for the targeted person to recognise red flags or leave the relationship.


This is when someone who previously ghosted you (suddenly cut off all communication without explanation) unexpectedly reappears in your life and tries to reconnect, often with a casual message or social media interaction. The term “zombieing” is used because, like a zombie, this person comes back from the dead (from being out of your life) and re-enters your world without warning.


Another manipulative dating tactic where someone gives another person just enough attention or communication to keep them interested, without any intention of committing to a genuine relationship. The term “breadcrumbing” comes from the idea of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs, giving the impression of progress or interest while actually leading nowhere.


This one is a term used in dating to describe the act of politely rejecting someone’s advances or avoiding their romantic interest without explicitly saying “no.” Instead of directly rejecting the person, the individual responds in a way that subtly signals disinterest or avoids commitment, often through vague or evasive responses.


It is a modern dating phenomenon where one person abruptly cuts off all communication with another person without any explanation or warning. This typically occurs after a period of interaction, such as dating or texting, leaving the recipient feeling confused, hurt, or frustrated by the sudden disappearance of the other person.

 Thirst trap

In a relationship context, it might involve one partner intentionally posting seductive or flirtatious photos on social media with the aim of garnering attention or arousing jealousy from their significant other. It could be a way to test their partner’s level of interest or to seek validation and reassurance about their attractiveness and desirability within the relationship.

These terms show how dating has changed, thanks to social media and texting.




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