Understanding the sneaky link: Meaning of the dating trend beyond the hook-up

By Charlie Sawyer

Updated Nov 29, 2023 at 02:53 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

Gen Z have always been known for their extensive lexicon when it comes to dating, sex, and relationships. From love bombing, rizz and kittenfishing to ghosting and breadcrumbing, if there’s a dating concept or trend out there, gen Z will have created a term for it. Now, it should be noted that the term sneaky link has been around for a little while now, originating from a song back in 2021 and then rising to prominence after gen Zers began using the audio on TikTok.

The #sneakylink currently has 4.7 billion views on TikTok and is definitely a well-known term among netizens. But what does sneaky link mean?

What is a sneaky link?

A sneaky link refers to a discreet and often secretive connection between two individuals, typically for the purpose of engaging in casual or intimate activities. This connection is often characterised by its elusive nature, as it occurs away from the public eye and is usually not openly acknowledged.

The meaning of sneaky link can encompass a wide range of interactions, from late-night meetups and secret texting to hangouts in secluded and sometimes dodgy locations. The term might carry an air of excitement and mystery to begin with, but it also raises questions about the dynamics of modern relationships and the evolving ways people connect.

If friends with benefits was the term for casual sexual relationships among millennials, sneaky link is definitely the gen Z version of it.

The rise of the sneaky link

While the term sneaky link might be fairly new, the concept definitely isn’t. Casual and secretive intimacy between people has been occurring for a long time now but it’s the introduction of technology that has massively changed the ways in which people pursue and uphold these covert relationships.

Social media and dating apps have revolutionised the ways people communicate with each other, flirt with each other, and establish social connections beyond their immediate circles. In turn, gen Zers have also become a lot more progressive and open about different types of relationships and forms of commitment—monogamy is no longer the monolith in romance.


do you have a sneaky link? 😉 #sneakylink #situationship #relationshiptips #girltok #relationshipadvice101

♬ Sneaky Link - HXLLYWOOD

Moreover, the term sneaky link also hints at a playful and exciting connection that many young people crave and search for. Sometimes, of course, these relationships can be anything but sneaky, however, there’s still an air of anticipation that’s attached to the idea of a sneaky link.

Pop culture and the emergence of gen Z slang have also led to sneaky link becoming such a casual and common phrase used in everyday vocabulary. Gen Z consume so much of their media influences through platforms like TikTok and Instagram, so it’s understandable why these kinds of identifiable expressions grow in popularity.

Understanding the sneaky link meaning and connection

The whole idea of a sneaky link is allowing whoever is involved to not feel constricted or confined by the social expectations of a ‘normal’ relationship. Gen Zers don’t feel the need to define romantic connections. If anything, the idea of a sneaky link can really increase the mystery and lust in a relationship and lead to exciting new opportunities and bonds.

There is a lot of nuance involved in the sneaky link. For some, it can offer a way to express interest without putting oneself on the line too directly. Also, some have even gone as far as to suggest that there are certain sneaky link hours: primarily, they’re considered to be from midnight to 4 am.

Sneaky link examples

Sneaky links are in no way a one-size-fits-all situation, they can appear in many different forms and take on many different shapes. They can begin online, through mutual friends, or by chance. You could bump into someone in a coffee shop, the gym, or even at work.

If you’re wondering, what is a sneaky link relationship, please note that a sneaky link doesn’t always have to translate to someone you’re secretly having sex with, it might simply be someone you’re hanging out with on a casual basis and you’re wanting to keep the connection quiet for the time being.

That being said, a sneaky link might be someone who you didn’t plan on catching feelings for, but you still did and now you’re not sure what to do. One of the best places to learn more about sneaky links and maybe figure out what you might want to do with your own link is by going on TikTok. People are documenting their experiences by telling funny anecdotes and recording advice videos.


This how it really be 😩 #sneakylink #relationships #entanglement #jwett #sheincares #fyp

♬ What's Da Jwett - Jojo & WizDaWizard

Oh, and a word of advice. If you’re considering pursuing a sneaky link who also happens to work in your office, maybe think again. Having to dodge a sneaky link whenever you want to visit the coffee machine is a real pain in the neck.

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