Red alert, singles: There’s yet another dating trend for you to learn.
Soft-ghosting is the new term for misery-induing behaviour, describing yet another way for someone to reject you.
It’s the creation of the people over at Bumble. The term, we mean. The dating app isn’t responsible for this awful act.
Basically it’s a lot like normal ghosting – when someone you’re chatting to disappears without a trace – but rather than entirely vanishing into thin air, the object of your affection just likes your message.
Yep, rather than responding to your messages, a soft-ghoster just ‘likes’ whatever you sent.
It’s ‘soft’ because it’s not as sudden a departure as your usual ghosting… but that doesn’t make it any better.
While with a ghosting, you’ll figure out pretty quickly what’s going on, a soft-ghosting seems eternally baffling. Did this person mean to hit the heart on your message? Are they planning to respond any further? Did your message not invite further conversation?
And then you’re struck by the horrible to urge to message them again, perhaps with a direct question so a ‘like’ simply wouldn’t make sense.
Either they like it again or they do a full ghost. Either option comes with a nice serving of embarrassment.
Soft-ghosting appears to be an attempt at politeness, from someone who can’t really be bothered to continue the chat but doesn’t want to appear blunt by leaving the conversation entirely. But it’s actually pretty rude – a heart or a smiley face or whatever other one-tap reaction to a message isn’t adequate engagement. Can’t this person be bothered to just type out a message?
It’s important, however, to make sure you’re dealing with a genuine soft-ghosting.
If your message doesn’t really invite a response, that might explain the lack of one. Give the possible soft-ghoster some time to start the conversation up again. A day should work.
Then, if you’re really keen on this person, swallow your pride and double text – this time making sure to include a direct question that requires a response. If the conversation picks right back up and flows with ease, you’re all sorted. If the person just ignores your communication, they were clearly warming up to a full-on ghost. If they respond but the conversation still feels half-hearted, ditch it – they’re clearly just trying to be ‘nice’.
Glamour also recommends giving your match a ‘clear call to action’, giving them a specific invitation to a meeting to assess their seriousness. Again, if there’s no response, move swiftly on. If it’s a half-hearted one, they’re clearly not that keen. But if they’re immediately eager, maybe they’ve just been struggling to keep the banter going. Easily done.
Just remember above all that anyone who makes you feel rejected and confused likely isn’t worth your time.
If someone really fancies and respects you, they’ll be clear in their approach and won’t waste time playing games or faffing about with the whole ‘who should message first’ question.
Leave soft-ghosters in the bin, along with stashers, submariners, and firedoor-ers.
Dating terms and trends, defined
Breadcrumbing: Leaving ‘breadcrumbs’ of interest – random noncommittal messages and notifications that seem to lead on forever, but don’t actually end up taking you anywhere worthwhile Breadcrumbing is all about piquing someone’s interest without the payoff of a date or a relationship.
Caspering: Being a friendly ghost – meaning yes, you ghost, but you offer an explanation beforehand. Caspering is all about being a nice human being with common decency. A novel idea.
Catfish: Someone who uses a fake identity to lure dates online.
Clearing: Clearing season happens in January. It’s when we’re so miserable thanks to Christmas being over, the cold weather, and general seasonal dreariness, that we will hook up with anyone just so we don’t feel completely unattractive. You might bang an ex, or give that creepy guy who you don’t really fancy a chance, or put up with truly awful sex just so you can feel human touch. It’s a tough time. Stay strong.
Cloutlighting: Cloutlighting is the combo of gaslighting and chasing social media clout. Someone will bait the person they’re dating on camera with the intention of getting them upset or angry, or making them look stupid, then share the video for everyone to laugh at.
Cuffing season: The chilly autumn and winter months when you are struck by a desire to be coupled up, or cuffed.
Firedooring: Being firedoored is when the access is entirely on one side, so you’re always waiting for them to call or text and your efforts are shot down.
Fishing: When someone will send out messages to a bunch of people to see who’d be interested in hooking up, wait to see who responds, then take their pick of who they want to get with. It’s called fishing because the fisher loads up on bait, waits for one fish to bite, then ignores all the others.
Flashpanner: Someone who’s addicted to that warm, fuzzy, and exciting start bit of a relationship, but can’t handle the hard bits that might come after – such as having to make a firm commitment, or meeting their parents, or posting an Instagram photo with them captioned as ‘this one’.
Freckling: Freckling is when someone pops into your dating life when the weather’s nice… and then vanishes once it’s a little chillier.
Gatsbying: To post a video, picture or selfie to public social media purely for a love interest to see it.
Ghosting: Cutting off all communication without explanation.
Grande-ing: Being grateful, rather than resentful, for your exes, just like Ariana Grande.
Hatfishing: When someone who looks better when wearing a hat has pics on their dating profile that exclusively show them wearing hats.
Kittenfishing: Using images that are of you, but are flattering to a point that it might be deceptive. So using really old or heavily edited photos, for example. Kittenfishes can also wildly exaggerate their height, age, interests, or accomplishments.
Lovebombing: Showering someone with attention, gifts, gestures of affection, and promises for your future relationship, only to distract them from your not-so-great bits. In extreme cases this can form the basis for an abusive relationship.
Microcheating: Cheating without physically crossing the line. So stuff like emotional cheating, sexting, confiding in someone other than your partner, that sort of thing.
Mountaineering: Reaching for people who might be out of your league, or reaching for the absolute top of the mountain.
Obligaswiping: The act of endlessly swiping on dating apps and flirt-chatting away with no legitimate intention of meeting up, so you can tell yourself you’re doing *something* to put yourself out there.
Orbiting: The act of watching someone’s Instagram stories or liking their tweets or generally staying in their ‘orbit’ after a breakup.
Paperclipping: When someone sporadically pops up to remind you of their existence, to prevent you from ever fully moving on.
Preating: Pre-cheating – laying the groundwork and putting out feelers for cheating, by sending flirty messages or getting closer to a work crush.
Prowling: Going hot and cold when it comes to expressing romantic interest.
R-bombing: Not responding to your messages but reading them all, so you see the ‘delivered’ and ‘read’ signs and feel like throwing your phone across the room.
Scroogeing: Dumping someone right before Christmas so you don’t have to buy them a present.
Shadowing: Posing with a hot friend in all your dating app photos, knowing people will assume you’re the attractive one and will be too polite to ask.
Shaveducking: Feeling deeply confused over whether you’re really attracted to a person or if they just have great facial hair.
Sneating:When you go on dates just for a free meal.
Stashing: The act of hiding someone you’re dating from your friends, family, and social media.
Submarineing: When someone ghosts, then suddenly returns and acts like nothing happened.
V-lationshipping:When someone you used to date reappears just around Valentine’s Day, usually out of loneliness and desperation.
You-turning: Falling head over heels for someone, only to suddenly change your mind and dip.
Zombieing: Ghosting then returning from the dead. Different from submarineing because at least a zombie will acknowledge their distance.
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