There's a worrying new dating trend known as 'orbiting' for you to look out for
The dating game is changing so quickly it's hard to keep up with all these terms. 'Ghosting' is when someone suddenly stops communicating with you, without explanation. 'Cushioning' is when you have a back-up person in case your current relationship goes sour. 'Pie hunting' is when you seek out a single person with a disastrous dating history, who has had their heart broken from being dumped, ideally more than once. (So evil.)
But forget all those terms - the latest dating trend in 2018 is 'orbiting.' That's when you ghost someone, but keep following their social media - watching their Instagram and Snapchat stories, retweeting their tweets, commenting on their Facebook photos, etc. Anna Iovine from VICE coined the term, which means you stay "close enough to see each other; far enough to never talk."
So, why do people 'orbit'? Dating expert Persia Lawson told BBC Three that people do it to keep their options open. "It’s all about having one foot in and one foot out," says Lawson. "It’s a way of them showing you, ‘Hey, I’m still here’, but not getting into a relationship. They’re keeping communication ever so slightly open, just in case they decide they want to start things up again." So, really, it's stalking, but under a cuter name.
They also may orbit due to intense FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out. They want to keep tabs on you, to keep considering you as an option, just in case. Of course, that's pretty frustrating for the person being orbited, isn't it? An indecisive would-be lover hovers around, sending a ton of mixed signals. It's hard to gauge if they're serious, or just like the feeling of being pursued. But such is the dating game.
Persia Lawson says that sometimes people get obsessed with their orbiters, analyzing their own social media to see why other people find it so fascinating. However, she warns that this is a waste of time and energy. "How could you possibly have a relationship with this person?" asks Lawson. "They're literally giving you breadcrumbs."
Rather than encouraging orbiters, Lawson recommends blocking them. I mean, it's probably not going to lead to a relationship anyway, right? Why keep encouraging flaky people? "Just don’t be available for it,” says Lawson. "If it’s making you feel obsessive and crazy, block them. You’re wasting your time, and there are other people out there who want to spend time with you." Well said. We've all pursued romantic partners who weren't interested, while ignoring interested partners lurking just under our noses.
'Ghosting,' 'cushioning,' 'pie hunting,' 'orbiting' - maybe the dating game was better before the Internet. Our grandparents got married because they lived across the street from each other, and it seemed to work out pretty well. Right now it seems like we have too many options.
In related news, here's 20 utterly brutal responses to texts from exes that will make you shudder...