We’d all love to charm each other with minimal awkwardness. Unfortunately, much like smoke and fire, embarrassment is the inevitable flipside to excitement (you are – literally – putting yourself out there, after all).
This in mind there is a smooth new dating trend you need to try (or at least know about) if you want to eek the most out of your 21st-century existence: ‘jibing.’
However, to understand ‘jibing’ you must first understand ‘flatzoning’ – the evil stepbrother of ‘friendzoning.’ What’s that, you ask? As one of our D’Marge employees (who was recently ‘flatzoned’) anonymously admits, it is “the phenomenon of being homeless but f**kable.”
Before you (rightly) crucify us for such glib usage of the word “homeless,” we don’t mean literally living rough, we mean living somewhere you’d rather not be (think: your parents’ basement) but being denied when you apply to live somewhere else on the basis of your attractiveness.
Instead of finding a flat, you find a friend with benefits, who doesn’t want to live with you because they think it could be awkward to live with someone they might like to date. Hence the term: ‘flatzoning,’ which, when you think about it, is the exact opposite to ‘friendzoning.’
Anyway, this leads into a broader trend of ‘jibing,’ which is the term given to people finding love on apps which are not meant for dating (think Flatmates, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, etc.).
To get the down-low on this phenomenon, we spoke to Dr Nikki Goldstein, a sexologist, relationship expert and host of the podcast Sex & Life, who recently had a friend engage in a little ‘jibing’ action herself.
“I have this friend where she was selling furniture on Gumtree and [this guy] rocked up to the door to buy something from her.”
“With these things,” Nikki continues, “the benefit is you already have their number so it takes the awkwardness away from asking for someone’s details.” So even though you might not know this person, you tend to have a smoother interaction with them than you would with a standard Tinder date.
“I think it happens… a lot. These apps and websites that are not meant for meeting people, but you meet people.”
So, how exactly does ‘jibing’ go down? According to Nikki, this is a classic ‘jibing’ scenario: “You don’t know who the person is but then they come to pick up that thing (or check the room) and there’s a connection.”
“The easy part about this is that it’s easier to text them and say, ‘Hey let’s get a drink sometime.’ The harder thing is when you see someone in person these days, think there’s a connection, and then have to ask for their number.”
But back to Nikki’s friend: not only is ‘jibing’ often easier than meeting people in a club or bar, but it can also be more natural than Tinder: “When he rocked up he wasn’t putting on some kind of front – there was no expectation of a date – so in that setting even though you might feel nervous because you like the person, it’s safe to say you’re probably not putting on a mask.”
“On a tinder date, on the other hand, you might not be yourself (and) you might not be chatty because you’ve been thinking about this date for the last few hours.”
When ‘jibing,’ however, “You are in more of a natural state,” Nikki says, “Which is why I think it will work better [than] one of these dates where you’re sitting across from someone with pressure but no inspiration for a conversation.”
To the contrary, when ‘jibing’ you can base your conversation around the room, people, furniture or whatever trade you might be doing, which relieves the pressure: “Say you’re going for a tour of their apartment or spare room, you might be having a conversation about how much it’s going to cost, or the books on the coffee table, their likes and interests,” Nikki says, “and have that banter without the pressure of, ‘What am I going to say next.'”
The last question to consider is this: is now more socially acceptable to meet your partner on Facebook Marketplace than on Tinder or Bumble? Nikki doesn’t necessarily agree, telling us these chance meetings have always happened throughout history, and they now continue to happen, albeit in a different way, facilitated by technology.
And, according to Nikki, this is actually quite an important topic for dating experts to delve into, as many people “are either really struggling with their social skills because they are on their phone all day, or they have blinkers on when it comes to dating in the real world.”
The takeaway? We would say happy swiping but in light of recent developments: happy ‘jibing.’