Goblin-timacy: dating trend 2023 inspired by Goblin mode, for singles looking for authentic relationships

Attention, daters – the latest addition to the modern romance lexicon is ‘Goblin-timacy’, and the good news is that it’s finally a novel approach we actually want to get on board with. 

Hot off the heels of the likes of ‘benching’ – the harsh AF dating phenomenon that effectively boils down to stringing someone along even if you’re not sure about them – and, of course, ghosting, the cruel practice of cutting off all contact with someone you’ve dated without warning, goblin-timacy is an approach based around showing up as your flawed (but undeniably real) self. 

The trend derives from the idea of ‘Goblin Mode’ so first, before we explain more about how it’s done, let’s start with a little 101 on what that means for those who’ve been living on the rock this past year (which, ironically, probably meant you were in Goblin Mode, but read on for context).

Goblin Mode was named Oxford English Dictionary’s ‘Word of the Year’ for 2022 – as voted by 93% the public (340,000 Brits participated in the vote). According to the OED, it’s defined as: “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”. 

Need an example? Social media is full of them. But you can probably conjure up real-life examples from your own life, too: lying on the sofa in your dressing gown, Big Lebowski style, on a work-from-home day (no shame in that!) or eating cereal for dinner because – you know what – it’s been a hard day (ditto). 

Goblin mode is you, without the try-hard. It’s no coincidence that this phrase emerged post-lockdown, a time when many of us were conceding to survive rather than thrive – to do our best to get through isolating alone, or the mixed-bag that was furlough. And after two years of on-off lockdown, it’s no surprise the phenomenon lingered.