Online Dating Jargons: ONS, FWB, NSA, Ghosting, and More

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    Online dating can be a daunting experience, especially for those who are new to the scene. With the rise of dating apps and sites, there is a whole new language to navigate. Understanding the terminology is essential in ensuring that you have a positive and safe experience. Here are some of the most commonly used terms in the world of online dating.

    ONS (One Night Stand)

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    Photo by Rohan

    Online dating has ushered in a new era of dating jargon and acronyms, and one that has become increasingly popular in recent years is “ONS” or One Night Stand. This refers to a sexual encounter between two people, where the understanding is that it will only happen once and there will be no further relationship or commitment involved.

    One of the reasons why ONS is so popular in the online dating world is that it offers a way for individuals to indulge in some casual fun without the pressure of a committed relationship. With ONS, both parties are simply seeking pleasure without any strings attached. They may not even know each other’s name.

    ONS is suitable for anyone who is looking for casual fun and does not want to pursue a long-term relationship. It can happen unexpectedly when you meet the right person at the right time or in the perfect atmosphere. Even individuals who are already in a relationship may seek out a one-night stand to release pressure or maintain passion.

    If you want to find a one-night stand, there are several ways to go about it. You can try your luck at a nightclub, where many ONS encounters take place. Alternatively, you can attend parties or use dating apps like, which are designed specifically for casual hookups.

    However, when indulging in any casual sexual encounter, it’s important to prioritize safety. It’s essential to practice safe sex and use a condom to protect yourself from the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. And since the whole point of an ONS is to avoid any further contact, it’s also important not to exchange personal information with your partner to avoid any complications.

    ONS is a popular phenomenon in the online dating world that allows people to indulge in some casual, no strings attached fun. It’s suitable for anyone who wants to experience some pleasure without the pressure of a committed relationship. While it has some risks associated with it, practicing safe sex and avoiding sharing personal information can significantly reduce any potential complications.

    FWB (Friends With Benefits)

    FWB or “Friends with Benefits” is a term that refers to two individuals who engage in a casual and sexual relationship with no emotional commitment. This is a widely used acronym in online dating sites, social media, and texting among teenagers and younger adults. [1]

    The relationship often starts innocently enough, perhaps with some playful texting, until suggestive conversations lead to a possible sexual encounter. While some may enjoy this type of relationship, it can be risky and may become complicated, especially if one partner wants to take it further.

    FWB is often used in dating app profiles to indicate the type of relationship the user is looking for. It can also be used conversationally when discussing one’s dating life online or via text with friends or acquaintances.

    It is important to note that the concept of FWB should have no strings attached (NSA), meaning there is no emotional or financial commitment beyond the relationship. One-night stands (ONS) and Married But Available (MBA) are other similar acronyms that may be used in the same context.

    In online dating, FWB relationships are commonly associated with casual sexual relationships, booty calls, and hookups. However, it is crucial to establish boundaries and understand each other’s expectations beforehand to avoid misunderstandings and potential harm.

    Research has found that youth intimate partner violence can occur in relationships referred to as FWB, highlighting the importance of young adults being aware of the complexities inherent in this type of relationship.

    FWB stands for Friends with Benefits and is a popular term used in online dating jargon to describe a type of relationship in which two individuals engage in casual sex with no emotional commitment. While this type of relationship works for some people, it is essential to establish boundaries and be mindful of the potential complications that may arise.

    NSA (No Strings Attached)

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    Photo by Dalton Abraham

    When it comes to online dating, understanding the jargon can be a challenge. It seems like there are endless abbreviations and terms to decipher. In this section, we will delve into the meaning of NSA (No Strings Attached) in the context of online dating and its implications.

    NSA stands for “no strings attached.” It refers to a type of relationship where there are no commitments, requirements, or responsibilities for either partner involved. In other words, it’s a purely physical arrangement without the emotional [2] attachment that comes with traditional dating.

    When you come across someone looking for an NSA arrangement, it means they are seeking something casual and strictly physical. They are not interested in a serious relationship or any form of emotional entanglements. NSAs are often mentioned in dating profiles on platforms like Tinder, Grindr, or classified sites.

    It’s important to note that not all NSAs are the same. Some can be one-night stands, while others might be ongoing arrangements with a mutual understanding of the boundaries. Regardless of the duration, privacy and discretion are often expected in these encounters.

    While NSA relationships have their advantages, such as the freedom to pursue other partners and not being tied down to commitment, they also come with a set of drawbacks. One of the biggest challenges is the potential for catching feelings. Despite the initial agreement, emotional attachment can develop, leading to complications and disappointment.

    Additionally, there is a risk that one person may become more attached than the other. This can lead to unrequited feelings, jealousy, and a breakdown in communication. It’s crucial to communicate openly and honestly to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

    Another consideration when engaging in NSA relationships is the potential risks involved. It’s essential to practice safe sex and use protection to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Meeting up with someone you don’t know well can also pose safety risks, so always meet in a public place and let a friend know about your plans.

    In addition to NSA, there are other common dating acronyms worth mentioning. FWB stands for “friends with benefits,” which is a casual sexual relationship without the commitment or emotional attachment of a traditional partnership. MBA stands for “married but available,” indicating someone who is married but looking for extramarital relationships.

    Understanding the various dating acronyms and jargon can help you navigate the complex world of online dating. It’s essential to be clear about your intentions, communicate openly, and ensure everyone involved is on the same page to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

    Online dating should be a fun and enjoyable experience. By familiarizing yourself with the common terms and being honest about your desires, you can make the most of your online dating journey.

    Other Common Online Dating Terms

    Here are a few more online dating terms you might come across:

    • Ghosting: When someone suddenly stops all communication with another person without any explanation or warning.
    • Haunting: When someone from your past, who ghosted or disappeared, starts to reappear in your life by liking your social media posts, watching your stories, or sending sporadic messages.
    • Orbiting: Similar to haunting, orbiting is when someone continues to follow your social media accounts and engage with your posts, but never makes a move to reconnect or start a real conversation.
    • Benching: This is when someone keeps you on the sidelines, giving you just enough attention to keep you interested but never fully committing to a relationship.
    • Zombieing: When someone who ghosted you suddenly reappears in your life as if nothing happened, acting as if the previous disappearance didn’t occur.
    • Stashing: When someone you’re dating keeps you a secret from their family and friends, not introducing you or including you in their social circle.
    • Thirst Trap: Posting a provocative photo on social media with the intention of attracting attention or flirting with others.
    • Cushioning: Keeping potential dating options on the side to cushion the blow if a current relationship doesn’t work out.
    • Catch & Release: Having a one night stand or casual sexual encounter with someone and then letting them go, without any intention of pursuing a relationship.
    • Dawn Dating: Scheduling dates in the early morning hours, such as meeting for coffee or going on a run together.
    • DTR: “Define the Relationship” – having a conversation to clarify the status and expectations of a relationship.

    These are just a few of the many terms you may encounter while navigating the world of online dating. Familiarize yourself with these terms to better understand the ever-evolving landscape of online dating.
    Navigating the world of online dating can be challenging, and the jargon adds another layer of complexity. As we’ve seen, ONS, FWB, and NSA are just a few of the many terms used in online dating. While they can be useful in identifying the type of relationship you’re looking for, they can also be frustrating and lead to misunderstandings.

    One of the most frustrating aspects of these terms is their subjectivity. What one person considers a FWB arrangement, for example, may differ from another person’s definition. This can lead to confusion and disappointment when expectations don’t align.

    Another irritating aspect of online dating jargon is the potential for misunderstandings. It’s easy to misinterpret someone’s intentions when using these terms, leading to hurt feelings and broken hearts.

    Additionally, the use of online dating jargon can contribute to a hookup culture that can be isolating and unfulfilling for some. While some people may enjoy casual sex and no-strings-attached relationships, others may find it unfulfilling and crave something more meaningful.

    Another frustrating aspect of online dating jargon is the pressure it can create. Seeing terms like FWB and NSA can lead people to believe that casual sex is the norm and that they should conform to that standard, even if it doesn’t align with their values or desires.

    Finally, online dating jargon can be exclusionary. Not everyone is familiar with these terms, and using them can create a barrier for those who are new to online dating or may not speak English as their first language.

    Despite these frustrations, it’s important to remember that online dating jargon is just one aspect of online dating. It’s up to each individual to decide what level of communication and understanding they want to have with their potential love interests.


    [1] What Does FWB Mean? Social Media, Texting, & Dating …
    [2] What Does NSA Mean in Dating?