You've heard of ghosting, zombieing, and breadcrumbing. Well, it's time to add a new entry to the dating dictionary: fishing, a situation in which someone will reach out to multiple people to see who's down to hook up, wait for responses, ignore ones they don't want to pursue, and hook up with the one they want to most. Some people do this on the reg. I sought out some of those who do fishing, the new dating trend, to find out more about why they do it and if it's usually successful.
When Steven*, 26, was single, he'd fish once or twice a month. He'd browse through his dating apps or contact lists on his phone to see who he would "have a chance with," as he describes it to Elite Daily. He sent messages like, "What are you up to tonight?" His best-case scenario was finding someone to hook up with the night he sent the message. He didn't fish people he was interested in dating seriously.
"I was surprised at how well it worked," Steven tells Elite Daily. "As long as I was upfront about what was happening, people were up for it."
He didn't feel badly about the people he reached out to multiple times in a row; he says fishing can be boiled down to a "numbers game." He says things "fizzled out" with the people he wound up ignoring. One girl, he says, wanted more than he did and was thus disappointed by him ignoring her after asking what she was up to.
Eliza*, 24, used to fish by texting someone, waiting to see if they would answer, and if not, text another person.
"I didn't really use dating apps, so it would be guys I knew IRL, who I'd either hooked up with before or knew would be down to hook up," Eliza tells Elite Daily. "I wasn't very creative, sadly — it was generally a 'what are you up to' text, but when you send it at 12:30 a.m. and you're in college, everyone knows what it means."
She recalls one specific instance in which she went fishing.
"I broke up with my college boyfriend at a house party [and] my ... regular booty call wasn't answering my texts, so I texted a guy who had just left the party who I knew wanted to get with me [and] ended up hooking up with him instead," she says. "The second guy eventually got back to me, but you snooze, you lose dude."
Zachary, 24, sees fishing for hookup prospects no different than mass-texting multiple people to hang out. (Which reminds me: When I asked my friend Nicole, 24, to see if she had fished before, she responded, "Are you not basically doing the journalism equivalent of that to me right now?" That was some hot tea she served.)
"I don’t really have time to use dating apps more than once a week, so when I’m active, I think it’s more efficient to communicate in batches," Zachary tells Elite Daily. "This also makes sense on dating apps, because response rates are generally unpredictable."
He responds to people who have responded to him that he's actually wanting to see. "If I get back to [other people who have answered] at a later, albeit reasonable point, I’d expect them not to hold it against me given that we’re all trying to make it work in the dating world."
Laura, 25, has definitely noticed when people try to fish her.
"I can usually tell when the conversation moves slowly," Laura tells Elite Daily. "Let's be real, it's 2018 and most millennials have their phone in their hands 24/7. They're seeing my response, but waiting for all the others to come in so they can check their options and then decide."
She knows it's a fishing text when she gets the classic, "Hey, what are you up to?" text. It's pretty transparent — and she doesn't appreciate it.
"It makes me feel like I'm one of many options for them," she says. "It's gross! And then, when it's clear they're around and trying to hang, and I say I'm down, but it doesn't happen, I know they found someone they find better. And that obviously makes me feel badly."
She says that when people have fished her and not answered once she said she's around, "There's no going back," she says. "You're essentially dead to me. Don't come fishing here again — the lake is closed due to contamination."
Laura receives this texts from people she has dated and hooked up with in the past. She has taken up some of them on their fishing offers before, but only when she feels like they actually want to see her and not just anyone.
"If you go fishing, you might end up meeting up with one person," she says. "But keep in mind you'll probably piss a lot of others off and ruin those relationships!"
*Name has been changed at the source's request for privacy concerns.
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