Another day, another name for an all-too-familiar dating trend.
We’ve had ghosting, breadcrumbing, zombie-ing, benching, orbiting and more, but now the word on everyone’s lips is; fishing – this is when you send messages out to a whole load of your matches on a dating app, wait and see which ones bite and then decide who you’ll pursue.
If you haven’t done it yourself, you’ve probably had it done to you.
While some people are highly selective swipers, others swipe right or ‘like’ the majority of potential suitors and then decide which matches they’ll message. Fishers, however, go one step further by contacting the majority of their matches and only then deciding whether to pursue the person or not.
Of course, the concept of fishing isn’t exactly new, but dating apps have certainly facilitated the process.
But it doesn’t just happen on dating apps though – some people will fish amongst their friends, exes and previous flings and wait to see who among them might be willing to hook up.
A classic fishing message might be something like, “What are you up to tonight?” Generally, these messages aren’t quite as blatant as the late night “You up?” hook-up enquiries, so when you’re being fished, often you have no idea.
Once the fisher has received an array of responses, he or she will go with the highest bidder, often not even replying to the people he or she has rejected in favour of someone else.
The concept of fishing ties in with the tropes of millennial dating in that it’s all about refusing to commit to one person in case a better option is about to come along – a fisher doesn’t go with the first person to reply to their message, they wait and see who else might take the bait before making a decision.
However some people argue fishing isn’t necessarily a bad thing and point out that many of us use the same strategy when trying to find a friend to see a film, have dinner or just hang out with.
But whether with friends or romantic partners, if you realise you’re being fished, it’s not a good feeling, often leaving people feeling like just another option to someone rather than a priority.
It can also be quite insulting to think that the person you like has copied and pasted the same message to various people.
Yes, fishing is a lazy strategy and it can be incredibly damaging to self-esteem.
But there are ways to catch a fisher – look out for generic messages, someone who only gets in touch late at night (probably on Friday and Saturday), slow reply rates and someone who doesn’t show any real interest in you or your life.
And perhaps the best strategy to gain the upper hand? Ignore the bait altogether – there are plenty more fish in the sea.