Dating etiquette was quite different when I was a teen. I’m trying to keep up with what’s going on with my young teenager and her friends. My daughter’s friend (let’s call her Amy) had a date for her school prom with a boy (we’ll call Johnny) from a neighboring town. At the last minute Johnny backed out.
Johnny and Amy connected through my daughter on social media. It seemed to be an amicable friendship. Even though they never actually met in person, they messaged everyday for three months. Now Amy and my daughter are wondering what went wrong? How could Johnny break the date to go to the prom with Amy without offering an excuse?
How do we teach our teenagers to navigate dating on social media in a more civilized and polite manner?
- In ghosting, which predates texting, you simply dump the person you were dating, courting or had previously had a crush on by going cold turkey and not answer texts or any kind of messaging. The dumper acts as though he/she never even knew the dumpee. Leaving the dumped to lick their wounds wondering what they did wrong. Too lazy, the wuss doesn't offer an explanation.
- There is no fear of obligation or commitment.
- The heartbreak is allegedly less devastating when the relationship peters out -- drifts out of your orbit.
- You circle round and round each other (much like wagging dogs sniffing each other in the park) through social media before making a decision as to whether to actually meet for the first time in person.
- Or you return to the relationship you miss a lot.
- It's self-protective.
- A common theme in online dating is keeping an eye on your options.
- In the gay community orbiting is a diplomatic way of cultivating being part of the community.
- People orbit when they are not ready to commit but don't want to totally eliminate contact because they might miss out on being able to reconnect going forward.
- Dming on a post is a way of getting into another person's orbit.
- Orbiting lets us keep tabs on people whether it's a platonic or romantic relationship.
- Not texting someone back is as rude as not returning a phone call or answering an email.
- On the other hand, if s/he's a narcissist, s/he'll be back -- so block him or her.
- Orbiting is creepy. Like stalking, so watch out. Especially if you've been ghosted and s/he's orbiting you. Block him or her.
- Us this incident as an opportunity to teach empathy.
- From time to time monitor your teen's Internet behavior in the hope that you don't find that s/he is wasting time orbiting, or is being hauntingly orbited by someone else.