Express News Service
HYDERABAD: Indu is tired of initiating conversation every day after she swiped right on Rajeev. After some time, she realises that their chat box was starting to resemble a questionnaire where she is asking the questions. There is no effort from Rajeev’s side to know her, and all his texts are replies to her questions. In modern dating parlance, Indu is clearly getting ‘firedoored’.
Pooja Khera, a relationships and dating coach, says: “Love has no language, but the millennials have proved us wrong by inventing a modern dating glossary which is so confusing. For example, there is ‘ghosting’, which literally means the act of vanishing like a ghost. It means ignoring your date’s texts or calls abruptly, without an explanation.
If someone has been flirting with you but never really takes it to the next level, or if you have been kept waiting on the sidelines while he or she looks around, you have been ‘benched’. There is another trend called breadcrumbing. This means leading someone on by showering breadcrumbs of your attention, just enough to make them like you, but never really following through.” Explaining how virtual dating has changed the geographies of our relationships, Dr Pragya Rashmi, a consultant psychologist, says: “The dynamics of interpersonal relationships change on a digital platform.
Unlike a physical setting, you are dealing with an account, which might be used by multiple persons. In a chat box, the way emotions get interpreted depends on the mental state of the reader, even if an emoticon is used. For example, the phrase ‘get lost!’ can be interpreted in different ways. You might find it flirty if you are in the mood, but if you are sad, then it can rub you in the wrong way. This creates interactions in which one person is more invested than the other.” These digital snubs, no doubt, can harm the self-image of a person, and discourage one to seek love.
Author Madhuri Banerjee, who has written books like ‘Advantage Love’, and ‘Forbidden Desires’, says: “I think it is horrible that people can do this to another person. They are committing a spiritual murder because they are unable to deal with their own feelings or express their thoughts. We cannot be certain it will not happen to us, and we cannot avoid it. It is like driving on a road thinking there won’t be potholes. Hopefully, there won’t be.
But if they are there, then do what we can do — be annoyed, cry if it damages you, curse a little, and keep driving.” Ghosting can leave you confused and make you an unintentional digital stalker. While trying to decode the reasons for getting dropped like a hot potato, a person might take to following the digital footprints of the ‘ghoster’. If you are stalking your ex on social media, then there is a term for that, too. “If you are still hung up on your ex, and constantly ‘orbiting’ their social media rather than approaching them directly, you are ‘orbiting’.
And if you are snubbing your partner in favour of your phone, then you are ‘phubbing’ her/him,” says Pooja. One of the features of digital relationships is that the partners end up exchanging too much information regarding each other within a short time. The reason behind this, says Pragya, is that there is no space for silence in a virtual relationship.
“There is an invisible pressure to keep the chat box filled in a digital interaction. In the physical world, a couple can share comfortable silence while sipping tea, but it’s not possible virtually. Sometimes, the lack of continual texts can offend one side, or it might even be construed as a technical glitch. Thus, in order to keep the conversation going, you keep feeding the chat box your personal data.” So, is everything bleak out there in the online dating world? According to Madhuri, these experiences can become our teachers.
“The next time you are down a relationship road, you will know the signs where the potholes will hit and you can make informed choices. Also, work on your self-worth so that no matter what anyone says or does, it does not matter because you think so highly of yourself. There is no shame in having high self-worth and confidence. No one should take that away from you.”
Millennial dating glossary
Cushioning: When you know your relationship is going nowhere, but instead of breaking up, you start dating other people, to cushion the
harsh blow of a break-up
Kittenfishing: This one is a slightly less severe form of Catfishing. Imagine, you land a date with a handsome hunk only to realize that his profile picture was 10 years old.
Negging: A classic case of emotional manipulation, this is a sinister move. It’s when you are undermined to such an extent that your need for your partner’s approval skyrockets to alarming levels.
Cloaking: This is a fancy term for revenge when the person who has been ghosted also goes silent on all social media communication, and blocks the person who ghosted them.
Slow fade: A form of weaning away from a dead relationship, this one lets you down gradually instead of in one-go.
Zombieing: Just like a Zombie, it’s when your ex decides to rise from the dead, and slide into your DMs, as if nothing has happened. (As told by Pooja Khera, relationships and dating coach)
— Kakoli Mukherjee ?firstname.lastname@example.org ?@KakoliMukherje2