The latest social-media-linked dating trend: 'orbiting'

"Orbiting" is when people ignore your texts but track your social media posts.

May 24, 2018, 5:03 AM

Have you been a victim of orbiting?

It's not quite ghosting, when someone completely cuts off contact after a date, but it's a new term to describe what many may experiencing in online dating.

Imagine going on a few dates with someone, connecting on social media, but then the other person stop answering texts. Then you notice they're watching your Instagram and Snapchat stories, and liking photos.

That's exactly what happened to writer Anna Rose Iovine, who told ABC News' "Start Here" podcast she was so frustrated with the experience, she coined a new phrase: "orbiting."

It comes from people who don't actually contact you but keep you in "their orbit," she explained in a now-viral article for "Man Repeller."

"I just think that it messes up with people's psyches," she said. "I was racking my brain as to why this person was looking at my stories and keeping up with me on social media, but not texting back."

When she told her friends about the encounter, they all admitted to having similar stories. Iovine said on "Start Here" that one friend even confronted a guy who was watching all of her Snapchat stories and not responding to texts.

His response? "Oh, you can see that?"

Iovine believes people orbit because "they want to keep someone on the backburner" when "they don't really like them that much." Similar to ghosting, she thinks people "don't really want to reject them outright."

Orbiting is still different from ghosting or even creeping, according to Iovine, who argues it's "unique to this era" of social media.

"You can stand someone up, or just never call back, or never return a letter," she said. "But orbiting, the fact that you can see someone on social media and see what they're up to even if you don't contact them, is very much a new concept."

This story is featured on Thursday's edition of ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.

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