As dating has evolved to a much more digital landscape, a slew of new words and trends have emerged, requiring singles to brush up on their knowledge before diving in. To ensure you’re up to date and ready to tackle the ever-changing vocabulary, reference Datezie’s Dating Glossary. Our collection defines, explains—and offers humor and strategy—to the new ABC’s of falling in love.
TLDR: Fluffing: The act of leading someone on emotionally — just so you can feel pretty great about yourself. Spoiler: It’s rude, don’t do it.
If you’re often annoyed by the inconsistencies and the frustrations of dating, we’re about to ruffle your feathers. As if it wasn’t worrisome enough to fret over being ghosted or catfished, there’s another dating trend that’s on the rise — and it’s enough to make any kind-hearted single’s blood boil over.
Before you imagine this job description within the porn industry, this act is a little less fulfilling, and potentially, damaging to those who are being fluffed. If you recently ended a ‘it’s complicated’ with someone, chances are high you experienced some fluffing. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself in the future:
What is Fluffing?
Allow us to set up the scene for you: everything is seemingly going great with a new person you met. You can talk hours beyond end. You spend time snuggling or holding hands. You pay this person endless compliments — and they return with encouragement and enthusiasm. But just when you think things are about to go from point A to point B, and the could-be relationship will progress, it stops dead in its tracks. Or more to the point: when it’s time to get intimate, your match shies away.
As psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. puts it, you can think of a fluffer as the opposite of friends with benefits or a no-strings attached type of set-up. When someone is being fluffed, there are plenty of emotional yarn connecting you, as well as quality time spent together, but things never get physical. Being fluffed is like being used for your generous spirit or your friendship, while giving the hint of wanting something more. In some worst case scenarios, a fluffer basically uses an unknowing ‘rebound’ to recover and boost their ego, before moving on to someone they are physically attracted to. Burn much? Yep, you bet. It’s the most extreme version of being led on — and be very painful — alberti confusing — for those who are duped.
Where Did Fluffing Come From?
As with many dating terms, pop culture has a major impact on lifestyle trends. If you’re a fan of New Girl, you may remember when Jess’s boyfriend Nick was upset with her because he was her ‘boyfriend without the rewards.` As Dr. Thomas explains, this was the first reference to the fluffing phemonom, and explained that while Nick was her support system — they weren’t getting jiggy with it. This was problematic, of course, since healthy relationships thrive with physical intimacy, as well as emotional. We won’t spoil what happened in case you haven’t binged this popular show yet — but it’s safe to say that no one enjoys being fluffed.
Why Fluffing Matters in Dating
Once you’ve been flying solo for a hot second — or ya know, years — it’s likely you’ll be fluffed from time to time. Though some people unintentionally fluff a match because they enjoy their company and friendship, others are master manipulators who seek attention and could care less about respect. This makes it extremely important to understand, from the get-go, what someone’s intentions are when they’re swiping on dating apps. Dr. Thomas says though being open-hearted will lead to a fulfilling partnership one day, protecting your heart will keep you from unnecessary heartaches… and fluffing instances. Otherwise, you could end feel like you always receive the short-end of the stick, and become discouraged from finding the right match. “It is necessary to differentiate if the person you’re seeing or dating is capable of fully being in a relationship with you emotionally and physically, especially if you are fully invested in your relationship with that other person,” she emphasizes.
How to Use Fluffing in Conversation
The next time you’re grabbing a round of brews with your friends, don’t be shy in laying your cards out on the table. Perhaps the new gal you’re seeing responds to your text messages, says ‘yes’ to last-minute dates — but doesn’t go in for the kiss at the end of your meet-ups. You can ask your buddies: “Am I getting fluffed, or do I need to make a move?”
Or if you see your friend being taken advantage of, you can offer him or her support by warning them of the untrustworthy person in their life: “Dude, I think you’re dating a fluffer and you should probably move on so you don’t get hurt.”
Where You Might Hear It
In addition to references within television shows and movies, your circle of friends could use the term when they are anxious about the intentions of a partner. They might say “I’m being fluffed — they want to see me but they don’t want to have sex with me. It’s not fair.” Or, if they’re guilty of this rude act themselves, they may even fess up: “I need to break it off with her. I think she’s great, but I’m fluffing my way through our time together.”
In general, think about fluffing as the act of leading someone on. A fluffer is who is misrepresenting their intentions, and their victim is being fluffed.
Notable Fluffing Quotes:
Since I have neither boyfriend nor emotional fluffer right now, who should build my Ikea furniture? Don’t say me, the last time I tried was a bona fide disaster.” —Gena Kaufman
“An emotional fluffer, as defined on the show, is someone who you’re basically in a relationship with without the benefits. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was how I was using my friend. While he actually did want to pursue something romantic with me, I just wanted him to be there. Unlike a Tinder guy or an unofficial boyfriend, my friend was the only plus one I could count on to not only stick around, but also have a good time with.” —Nicole Beltran Mojica
“So boyfriend fluffers are often mistaken to be too sweet for life. If I need airtime, he is there. If I need empathy oh yes! he is there. I feel like planet yoghurt , he is there but he never notices it and they get attached only that it’s one sided. I want him to accompany me to a new place, he is there. Later though, the bright ones will realise that they are mistaken and need clarity but if the other party sees them as only friends, they take the offer or leave. The ‘not so bright ones’ it is rude to say foolish they never get a hint. In the end, you fetch water at your ‘supposed’ girlfriends’ wedding.” —Twalha