'Subwaying' Is The Infuriating New Dating Trend You Can't Get Mad About

Dr Nikki Goldstein says "subwaying" is on the rise. But what the heck is it?

'Subwaying' Is The Infuriating New Dating Trend You Can't Get Mad About

When Tinder bae goes from noisily displacing your linen to quietly ignoring your calls it can be, to put it mildly, frustrating AF.

Such is casual sex.

However, while this behaviour would have been condemned in a previous era, thanks to “subwaying” – the most annoying new trend to enter our dating-cabulary – people are now reconceptualising what’s rude and what isn’t.

So, what exactly is “subwaying”? Essentially, “subwaying” is shutting down communication with someone you’ve been casually seeing, with no explanation.


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While this used to be a dating sin, as New York artist Samantha Rothenberg recently illustrated, the revolving-door nature of modern love has reached such a speed that it’s now weirder if you do offer an explanation for moving on than if you don’t.


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How did we get here? The obvious answer is technology: while people have always wanted to outsource the swinging of the (metaphorical) relationship axe, in the past this was seen as cowardly.

Now, not only is there a new conception of “polite”, but our silicon sidekicks have reduced our “friends with benefits” relationships to the point where they are essentially just meme-sharing agreements that are weirder to explicitly end than slowly forget about.

Or so the “subwayers” would have you believe.

But, as the comments on the above Instagram posts reveal, not everyone is convinced, and questions like, “When is it necessary to give a fling an epitaph?” as well as, “What makes a let-down text an ego-move?”, and, “Can you really get mad at someone for poorly navigating an issue you are confused about too?” remain unanswered.

To that end, we hit up Dr Nikki Goldstein, a sexologist, relationship expert and host of the podcast Sex & Life, for some exclusive insights. Here’s what she had to say.

Is “subwaying” on the rise?

Yes: because we are dating at a faster pace. We have more choices and options and with that abundance of choices, we tend to quickly jump to the next thing if what we have isn’t 100% right. I’m not suggesting that’s a great idea, but many people are looking for perfection and feel they can find that if they keep moving on when things are not ideal.

Why do people “subway” rather than communicate?

One person might see it as a casual hook up or just catching up for drinks. The other person might think it’s an official date possibly leading somewhere. I think this is what actually leads some people to subway and ghost because they feel awkward ending something that might not have been there in the first place.

We have also lost the art of working at things, exploring connections and working through our own issues that are brought up when dating [so] if it doesn’t feel right straight away, people are quick to move on. And with dwindling communication skills due to an increase in technology, we are often [loathe] to properly end a situation.

Is a “let down” text an ego move?

​I don’t think so. I think this is what people are fearful of. [But] because so many of these dating scenarios don’t have labels and can’t be defined, it becomes complicated to tell someone you don’t think there is a future.

At what point is it rude to disappear without a trace?

Always: whether it’s one day or a few hook ups.


I think it doesn’t matter whether you have done it [subwayed] yourself in the past or whether someone is going through [some] stuff. It’s still annoying. We just might rationalise it and accept it more which makes it harder in a way.

“It’s nearly like accepting being treated badly because it happens so often.”

That still doesn’t make the action right. It’s like with ghosting. We have heard it spoken about so many times, it’s nearly normalised. Where we used to call someone rude, disrespectful (or some other words I probably shouldn’t write) ​we now have words that nearly make these acts seem normal.

“It’s the downside to giving everything a trendy label.”

And with that, we are off to bleach our keyboards, never to type the word “subwaying” ever again.