So, What Is Zombieing Exactly? Learn More About This Ridiculous Dating Term

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Man screaming behind translucent glass —zombieing.
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Is it just us, or is there just a massive number of dating terms that basically make excuses for bad behavior? No, but really, there’s ghosting, breadcrumbing, submarining, and plenty more that serial daters have probably (unfortunately) become accustomed to hearing. For now, since the bewitching season — also known as fall or “cuffing season” — is upon us, we want to discuss one dating phenomenon that could be haunting your romantic life: zombieing. And, specifically, we’re going to dissect how zombieing looks in relationships, both romantic and platonic, and why it’s a sure sign of a toxic relationship.

Anyone who’s ever been ghosted knows how frustrating it can be — not just because you often don’t understand why it happened, but because it also feeds into your relationship insecurities. But don’t worry; we’ll discuss how to handle zombieing, either from friends or romantic partners, and some of the other key dating terms you should know (mostly so you can shimmy right out of any relationship that puts you through it).

What is zombieing?

Zombieing is what happens when someone totally ghosts you, only to slide back into your DMs or texts after a long period of time as if nothing ever happened. But lest you think this only happens with romantic partners, this can actually occur with friends too.

Named for the creatures that rise from the dead and rarely know that they’re dead, this trend is much the same. A relationship that’s been zombied (we just made that up) rises from the dead, and most of the time, the person on the other end either doesn’t realize they’d ghosted you or frankly doesn’t care. And you know what? That’s not cute!

How should you respond to a zombie text?

Understanding how to deal with zombieing is the first step toward getting through this ridiculous relationship trend. The first thing you need to decide is whether or not this is a person you want in your life. Is this a friend you care about enough to talk this through? Is this a sexual partner that you want to be able to call on again in the future? If the answer is no to any of these questions, you already know how to respond to a zombie text. You have to put yourself first, and respecting yourself enough to not fall back into bad habits is never a bad idea.

However, even if this isn’t a person you want in your life, you could reply to the zombie text and let the person know that what they did wasn’t cool. You can tell them that you don’t want to speak to them again in the future. The level of attitude you put into the text is up to you.

If this person is someone you care about enough to keep around, this is a great time to educate them on why zombieing sucks. Let them know how it made you feel to be ghosted, only to get hit up again when it was convenient for them. Who knows — maybe they were going through something, and that’s why they ghosted you in the first place. The only way to find out is to answer and ask them what’s up.

What are other popular dating terms?

Dating terms fill most of us with dread. Because, really, isn’t dating hard enough without adding in a special dating lexicon? But new dating terms pop up every day, just as old ones fade into the ether. The following examples ebb and flow in popularity (ahem, zombieing), yet ultimately seem to be sticking.

  • Submarining — When it comes to zombieing vs. submarining, they’re basically the same. This is when you get ghosted before the person pops up again out of nowhere, much like a submarine resurfacing.
  • Breadcrumbing — When someone puts very little effort into sending noncommittal messages in hopes to lure a partner, that’s breadcrumbing.
  • Caspering — This is a way of ghosting someone in a nice way, usually by giving a slight warning before disappearing.
  • Cushioning — When one partner is still seeing other people on the side of a committed relationship, it’s referred to by this term.
  • Fleabagging — Inspired by the TV show Fleabag, this term describes when you date people you know aren’t right for you.
  • Wokefishing — This is when someone (usually a man) pretends to have super liberal views, claims to be a feminist, or a champion of Black and LBGBTQ+ rights. But they’re actually the opposite and only claim to be to win the affection of someone they’re attracted to.
  • Benching — Think of basketball but for like relationships. This is when you pause a relationship to give more attention to another relationship you think has more promise.
  • Roaching — The term roaching is inspired by those terrifying little bugs we all know and loathe — roaches. Usually, when you see one cockroach, a cluster is hiding elsewhere, out of sight. The same applies to this dating term. Roaching is when you’re seeing someone, and there is the implied rule of exclusivity, but the person you’re dating is actually still seeing a bunch of other people.
  • Curving — When someone is being curved, it means they’re being rejected or turned down. For example, let’s say someone is moving in for a kiss, but you don’t want to smooch. Moving your face and going in for a hug is the perfect illustration of curving. But there are many ways to reject someone, like ghosting them or turning them down.

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