Vulturing: What To Know About The Latest Toxic Dating Trend

Between the obnoxious OnlyPlans dating trend and the gross "whelming" dating app trend, toxic dating behaviors are running rampant in 2023. And then we have vulturing, which is precisely what it sounds like. Many of us find real vultures gross, with their swooping in and enjoying victims that already got destroyed. But dating-related vultures are even more disgusting. While it's a real vulture's animal instinct to consume an already-fallen victim as these birds must for food, relationship vultures are typically manipulative and selfish.


"The term 'vulturing' in the dating world refers to a situation where someone is waiting to swoop in when someone's relationship ends with the goal of becoming romantically involved with the newly single person... Vulturing is predatory [behavior] that takes advantage of someone who is emotionally vulnerable after a breakup," Jessica Alderson, the relationship expert who co-founded So Synced, told Stylist. So, please do yourself a favor, and don't trust anyone who seems like a vulture when you're experiencing a breakup, which can take weeks to months to get over.

TikTok can teach you more about vulturing

If you want to learn more about the toxic yet sadly trendy concept of vulturing, you can find people discussing the topic on TikTok. For instance, Lisi Maldonado, a screenwriter and HuffPost contributor, posted a TikTok video about vulturing, warning viewers that "vultures" can pop up in more than just romantic types of scenarios, craving intimacy, money, or any other prize from their victim, and that everyone should be conscious of people who give off vulture energy.


Moreover, TikToker @healingoutloud — who holds an M.S. in psychology — posted a video describing the link between "vultures" and narcissism, explaining, "Narcissists are like vultures who swoop in to offer assistance, when really they're just trying to pick the meat off your bones." Thus, many vultures are likely to be narcissists. Furthermore, TikToker Tyler Campagne even shared a video joking that he's more of a food-related vulture, being extra nice to people who don't finish their food so he can enjoy their leftovers.

Think of these famous fictional vultures

While the specific term "vulturing" may be relatively new in the 2020s, these vultures have been around forever and have been depicted by many toxic characters on TV. For instance, while many people may think that Damon and Elena from "The Vampire Diaries" are a beautiful couple, anyone who watched the show's earlier seasons must admit that Damon demonstrated vulture behavior before it even had a name to describe it. Before Damon and Elena get together, Elena is in a relationship with Stefan, and Damon and Elena are just friends. However, Damon often disrespects the boundaries of their friendship because of his feelings for her by flirting with her, even to the point where she sometimes feels uncomfortable. Thus, when Damon and Elena get together later in the series, it feels more manipulative and predatory than sweet and cute.


Chuck Bass from "Gossip Girl" is another famous TV vulture. While his toxic relationship with Blair is often glamorized, there's no denying that Bass has vulture tendencies, as he frequently shows up for Blair and takes advantage of her during breakups and painful moments in her life. One last toxic fictional vulture is Owen from "Degrassi," as he once comforts a girl whose boyfriend cheats on her, intending to get sexual favors from her. 

So, if you're trying to determine whether someone you know might be a vulture, see if they act similar to any of these toxic fictional TV characters.