Groundhogging is the latest dating trend to know – are you guilty of doing it?

Are you groundhogging? (Picture: Getty /

We all know that phrase about insanity: it’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

If we go by that definition, a load of us have absolutely lost our minds when it comes to dating.

Not only do we keep returning to Tinder after strings of rubbish dates, bad chats, and talking stages that go nowhere, but we also regularly find ourselves going for the same carbon copy of people we’ve had romances before – despite knowing full well that they ended for a reason.

The experts at Inner Circle have dubbed this ‘groundhogging’. You know, like the film, Groundhog Day: an endless repeat of the same old story.

The people behind the dating app say that singles are stuck in a groundhogging cycle, with their research finding that three in four people say they have a type, but four in five singles report that dating their type isn’t going well.

‘Groundhogging refers to the idea that people are going for the same type of person over and over again, while expecting different results,’ they explain. ‘People pick out someone who fits their ideal type, date them, but end up feeling underwhelmed.

‘Instead of breaking out of this cycle, when they turn back to dating apps, they end up swiping someone else who fits the same profile. The groundhogging cycle resumes.’

Some signs that you’re guilty of groundhogging? See how many of these you tick off…

  • You have a rigid list of requirements for a date, and you won’t entertain anyone who doesn’t meet them
  • You often mix up your exes because they’re just so similar
  • You feel like your relationships always end for the same reasons, over and over
  • If you put all the people you’ve dated in a lineup, your friends would struggle to tell the difference
  • You have a reputation for only dating people who do a certain job or look a certain way
  • You feel like you only attract one type of person
  • You can see patterns in your dating experiences that keep repeating
  • You turn down people the moment they don’t fit perfectly into your ideal of the perfect match

The reasons we stick to a type – even when it isn’t working out for us – are varied.

Of the people Inner Circle surveyed, 59% blamed their groundhogging on having high standards, and believing that going outside their ideal type would be ‘settling’, while 18% said they date their usual type because it’s the ‘safest option’.

Man using mobile dating appLet go of your type (Picture: Getty Images)

For many of us, it’s just down to habit – 14% said they’re just used to going for the same type of person, which we get, as it takes real effort to change things up.

The good news is that breaking out of the groundhogging cycle is pretty easy. If you want different results, you just have to do things a bit differently. Here are some essential tips.

Open your mind to people outside your usual ‘type’

Really question that list of qualities anyone you date ‘needs’ to hold. Some of them will be valid – shared interests, similar values, a steady job – but others will only be considered a must-have out of habit.

Does your perfect match really need to be a certain height, have blue eyes, and be a doctor?

Could you be ruling out great people for reasons that don’t really matter?

But don’t let go of your standards

Don’t try to tackle groundhogging by dating anyone who flings interest your way.

You have every right to have certain expectations of the people you want to date. We’d never suggest you chuck out all standards entirely, that’s not what this is about. Instead, it’s about being a little less rigid and opening up your horizons.

Avoid over-correction

Okay, so you might be so sick of dating a certain type that you decide to go for the polar opposite, or now avoid anyone with a trait in common with your backlog of dates.

That’s not the way forward either. Don’t feel like you have to force it – simply stay open to trying something different.

Mix up your own approach

Groundhogging isn’t just who you date, it’s how you date.

It’s all too easy to fall into a routine, dishing out the same opening lines, going to the same bars, making the same jokes. Take a moment to reflect on your own dating behaviours, and question whether they could do with a refresh.

Give people a chance

The key part of overcoming groundhogging is taking a shot on something different. It’s about not ruling someone out based on a type, and instead just giving things a go.

If it doesn’t work out, no loss. But what if that person you would have dismissed turns out to be your best date ever?

Dating terms and trends, defined

Blue-stalling: When two people are dating and acting like a couple, but one person in the partnership states they’re unready for any sort of label or commitment (despite acting in a different manner).

Breadcrumbing: Leaving ‘breadcrumbs’ of interest – random noncommittal messages and notifications that seem to lead on forever, but don’t actually end up taking you anywhere worthwhile Breadcrumbing is all about piquing someone’s interest without the payoff of a date or a relationship.

Caspering: Being a friendly ghost – meaning yes, you ghost, but you offer an explanation beforehand. Caspering is all about being a nice human being with common decency. A novel idea.

Catfish: Someone who uses a fake identity to lure dates online.

Clearing: Clearing season happens in January. It’s when we’re so miserable thanks to Christmas being over, the cold weather, and general seasonal dreariness, that we will hook up with anyone just so we don’t feel completely unattractive. You might bang an ex, or give that creepy guy who you don’t really fancy a chance, or put up with truly awful sex just so you can feel human touch. It’s a tough time. Stay strong.

Cloutlighting: Cloutlighting is the combo of gaslighting and chasing social media clout. Someone will bait the person they’re dating on camera with the intention of getting them upset or angry, or making them look stupid, then share the video for everyone to laugh at.

Cockfishing: Also known as catcocking. When someone sending dick pics uses photo editing software or other methods to change the look of their penis, usually making it look bigger than it really is.

Cuffing season: The chilly autumn and winter months when you are struck by a desire to be coupled up, or cuffed.

Firedooring: Being firedoored is when the access is entirely on one side, so you’re always waiting for them to call or text and your efforts are shot down.

Fishing: When someone will send out messages to a bunch of people to see who’d be interested in hooking up, wait to see who responds, then take their pick of who they want to get with. It’s called fishing because the fisher loads up on bait, waits for one fish to bite, then ignores all the others.

Flashpanner: Someone who’s addicted to that warm, fuzzy, and exciting start bit of a relationship, but can’t handle the hard bits that might come after – such as having to make a firm commitment, or meeting their parents, or posting an Instagram photo with them captioned as ‘this one’.

Freckling: Freckling is when someone pops into your dating life when the weather’s nice… and then vanishes once it’s a little chillier.

Gatsbying: To post a video, picture or selfie to public social media purely for a love interest to see it.

Ghosting: Cutting off all communication without explanation.

Grande-ing: Being grateful, rather than resentful, for your exes, just like Ariana Grande.

Hatfishing: When someone who looks better when wearing a hat has pics on their dating profile that exclusively show them wearing hats.

Kittenfishing: Using images that are of you, but are flattering to a point that it might be deceptive. So using really old or heavily edited photos, for example. Kittenfishes can also wildly exaggerate their height, age, interests, or accomplishments.

Lovebombing: Showering someone with attention, gifts, gestures of affection, and promises for your future relationship, only to distract them from your not-so-great bits. In extreme cases this can form the basis for an abusive relationship.

Microcheating: Cheating without physically crossing the line. So stuff like emotional cheating, sexting, confiding in someone other than your partner, that sort of thing.

Mountaineering: Reaching for people who might be out of your league, or reaching for the absolute top of the mountain.

Obligaswiping: The act of endlessly swiping on dating apps and flirt-chatting away with no legitimate intention of meeting up, so you can tell yourself you’re doing *something* to put yourself out there.

Orbiting: The act of watching someone’s Instagram stories or liking their tweets or generally staying in their ‘orbit’ after a breakup.

Paperclipping: When someone sporadically pops up to remind you of their existence, to prevent you from ever fully moving on.

Preating: Pre-cheating – laying the groundwork and putting out feelers for cheating, by sending flirty messages or getting closer to a work crush.

Prowling: Going hot and cold when it comes to expressing romantic interest.

R-bombing: Not responding to your messages but reading them all, so you see the ‘delivered’ and ‘read’ signs and feel like throwing your phone across the room.

Scroogeing: Dumping someone right before Christmas so you don’t have to buy them a present.

Shadowing: Posing with a hot friend in all your dating app photos, knowing people will assume you’re the attractive one and will be too polite to ask.

Shaveducking: Feeling deeply confused over whether you’re really attracted to a person or if they just have great facial hair.

Sneating:When you go on dates just for a free meal.

Stashing: The act of hiding someone you’re dating from your friends, family, and social media.

Submarineing: When someone ghosts, then suddenly returns and acts like nothing happened.

V-lationshipping:When someone you used to date reappears just around Valentine’s Day, usually out of loneliness and desperation.

You-turning: Falling head over heels for someone, only to suddenly change your mind and dip.

Zombieing: Ghosting then returning from the dead. Different from submarineing because at least a zombie will acknowledge their distance.


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