The language of teenage love

Teenage love language 1200 630

When it comes to dating, teenagers can be very sneaky, even sneakier if they want to make sure you know nothing. Teenagers can be so sneaky, that they basically have an entire dictionary of words that they use when it comes to the teenage love scene. If you’re a parent of a teenager you’ve probably heard these terms but if you have no idea what on earth they mean, then stay tuned.


Only teenagers could take the act of chatting and turn it into the meaningful, agonising and obsessive first stages of a relationship. If your teen is “talking” to a person of interest, they’re not just swapping homework tips or musing about the weather. They’re probably checking their phone every 30 seconds to see if said person has texted them back, if that text included a smiley face, and if that person wanted to hang out later that weekend. Essentially talking is just flirting.


By far, “hooking up” is the most prominent phrase in the teen circle. These two words are all-encompassing and utterly vague, much to the dismay of curious parents. This can mean anything from first base to a home run (for those who miss the good old days of baseball metaphors) and generally refers to a couple that is in the early stages of modern-day courtship. Important to note is that the art of “hooking up” doesn’t immediately correlate to “dating” in the traditional sense. Two people that are hooking up don’t often go on dates or hang out as a couple in public spaces. Almost like a “friends with benefits” kind of situation which has the potential to turn into something more.


These letters stand for the pivotal moment when two decide to “define the relationship”. Sometimes it can be used ironically, to make this moment seem a little lighter and noncommittal, but taking the time to go from “seeing each other” to “boyfriend and girlfriend” calls for a discussion. Sometimes this discussion takes time; don’t ask your teen about it every day. Wait until they come and tell you about it. If it’s their first relationship, chances are they will want to tell you all about it, just on their own terms.


A step below boyfriend and girlfriend, but a step above hooking up, exclusive is the commitment that two are only “seeing” or “with” each other. By labelling it “exclusive,” they avoid the seriousness of relationship labels but have to definitively take themselves off the market.


Thanks to the age of social media, relationships are put into the spotlight of the computer screen when a couple decides to take the leap from casual to serious. In an age where people are slow to “go steady”, making it “Facebook Official” is probably this generation’s equivalent of “We’re going out.”

If you have any other teenage slang that you need decoding, feel free to shoot us an email at

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