Dating Glossary: Freeclimbing

You need a safety rope, bro?

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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: Freeclimbing is when you get lost in a deep, dark hole of cyber-stalking your match on Facebook, Instagram, Google, you name it.

Once upon a time, you matched with, what seemed like, the world’s most amazing human being, ever. Your conversation was rich and magnetic. Their photos were dazzling and impressive. You had all of the things (and then some) in common. They seemed too good to be true, so you set out to prove yourself right with a little help from your good pal, Google. Innocent enough at first, one query led to eight, and suddenly, you’ve stumbled across the PDF of their high school yearbook and reading line by line, trying to find whatever dirt you can on them. Thanks to the endless accessibility of the internet, it’s never been easier to stalk the hell out of someone — but it’s a slippery, dangerous slope. Much like when you’re scaling the side of a cliff without a rope. And though it’s not as dangerous as Alex Honnold’s preferred method of exercise, freeclimbing poses a big threat to your heart and your ability to be vulnerable with a new mate. Here, we explain every little ditty you need to know about this modern dating term.

What is freeclimbing?

In short, it’s cyberstalking. Most of the time folks do this before they officially go on a date with a match to ensure they aren’t been catfished, or out of blatant curiosity. As psychologist Dr Yvonne Thomas defines, “Freeclimbing can involve looking up the person online and then reading through his or her present and past social media information that’s provided on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, but doing so without that person knowing you’ve done this ‘research.’ Though ‘freeclimbing’ might not make much sense at first, the idea comes from how risky it is to A— know this information and B—potentially accidentally like or interact with a post that was created years ago… and outing yourself as a crazy person.

Where Did FreeClimbing Come From?

With many of the newly-created dating terms, it’s unclear what really started the ‘freeclimbing’ phrase. Perhaps it can be attributed to the recent fanfare over the Oscar-winning documentary, Free Solo, which will have your palms sweating even more than they do when you’re on a first date with a woman you’re ga-ga about.

Why Freeclimbing Matters

One of the pillars of becoming a fully-functioning adult is adopting a healthy sense of self-awareness. And at the root of the urge to Google is fear: that this person isn’t who she says she is, that you’ll get hurt, that this will be like all of the rest of ‘em. Understanding freeclimbing — and it’s possible outcomes — can empower you to let go of the mouse and dig deeper into what’s eating you in your love life. As Dr. Thomas recommends, ask yourself those tough questions about why you’re feeling frantic enough to search, and consider your motivation. Is this mate making you doubt how you feel?

On the other hand Dr. Thomas also urges daters to consider freeclimbing a warning to understand your personal online presence. “Make sure what you have on your social media accounts is accurate since your match could want to freeclimb and read about you as well,” she adds.

Where You Might Hear Freeclimbing

Your best buddy is nearly as invested in your dating life as you are, and frequently checks in to see how you’re doing, who you’re going out with and what your status is. The next time you find yourself deep into a rabbit hole, your pal might accuse you of freeclimbing your match, or you may confess of this dark obsession over a round of drinks.

How to Use Freeclimbing in a Conversation

The next time you’re surfing at 1 a.m. the day before a big date, we suggest texting your accounability friend in all things dating-and-love to confess: “I’m freeclimbing my date tomorrow, please help.” The act of this stalker-like behavior is ‘freeclimbing’ and as a verb, you can ‘freeclimb’ a person. If your date does the dirty search on you? Sorry, but you’ve been freeclimbed.

Notable Freeclimbing Quotes

It’s natural to want to find out more about someone you might get into a long-term relationship with, but there’s such a thing as taking your online stalking a little too far. It’s called freeclimbing.” —Emma Mills

“…Freeclimbing is the act of going deep (and we mean deep) on a person’s social media who you plan to potentially date in the future. Going deep on the lurk front may seem like a good idea at the time, but realistically you’re going to end up coming across a post or a photo that you don’t like. It’s in that way that the act can be a tad dodgy or, if you want to get dramatic about it, dangerous.” Jade Hayden

We all do this. All of us. And now it just has a name. ‘Freeclimbing’ though, is defined as getting intense while stalking. You leave no stone unturned, and you can be deemed ‘cray cray.’” —Japleen Kaur

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