The new dating term orbiting has come up recently, making me reexamine one recent experience I had with a boy named Billy.
A few years ago, I had a romantic rendezvous with Billy on the beach in Atlantic City. We met on the boardwalk, and then hooked up under a lifeguard booth at 3:00 a.m.. I went back to Philadelphia, and he went home to New York City. I then moved to New York a few months later.
After moving here, I’d be reminded of Billy from his likes on my Instagram account. So I decided to text him. No response. Then, a few weeks later, I’d see his face again on my Instagram, liking all my posts. I’d follow that up with a friendly text saying we should get coffee.
This drove me bonkers.
Back then, I thought of this as “ghosting,” when someone you’re seeing just falls off the face of the planet. But while he wasn’t responding to my texts, he was interacting with my social media. There’s a new word for this type of behavior, that may actually be more common than I thought. It’s called “orbiting.”
Now orbiting is when someone ghosts you, yet still interacts with you on social media, liking your posts or watching your stories. They won’t reply to your texts, but they’re still orbiting in the periphery of your life.
If this guy wasn’t interested, which clearly he wasn’t, why was he still following me on social media and liking all my pics? I almost find this to be worse than ghosting. If you don’t want me in real life, why are you staying an active participant of my online life? It’s messed up, no?
While social media in general is already a weird construct, how we behave on there is a large extension of our real lives. But not everybody subscribes to this thinking. Some may not take it that seriously.
So instead of wondering if a “like” or a “watch” is a sign of affection, if the man won’t text you back, unfollow and block his ass. I was foolish, making Billy’s Instagram likes into more than what they were.
I ended up bumping into Billy one night at a Whole Foods in my neighborhood. He was perusing the tangerines, and I went right up to him to say hello. Unlike text, he had no way not to respond.
He sheepishly said, “Hi,” with his jaw on the floor as he tried to find the words to as to why he was MIA. I called him out right there and then for not responding to my texts but still consuming my content online. He apologized, and we ended up getting coffee a week later.
If a man can’t give you love in real life, don’t accept his likes online. Until you see him in the produce section of your local grocers to confront him, stop wasting your time worrying about the shady online behavior and, instead, start sliding into the DMs of the next man on your feed.
Hopefully, he’ll be the next man in your bed, too.