So, imagine with me. You go out on a fantastic date with a guy, the conversation flows, and you feel like you finally found something. Then, you find out he’s just not that into you. But, somehow, instead of cutting all contact, he keeps liking your social media posts. Welcome to the world of Orbiting.
Aggravating, right? It seems like this happens to everyone in this modern age nowadays.
ManRepeller explains that Orbiting happens when a guy wants to keep girls a safe distance away while simultaneously keeping them in their orbit. Hey, some girls do it too, but they’re not the biggest offenders.
The problem is that it’s technically not stalking. If you connected with someone on Snapchat or Instagram, they can easily see what you post. No hoops to jump through, so to say. In fact, some of these Orbiters might be the first person to watch your new story on Snapchat and like your Instagram post. Because they can.
Also, it’s not uncommon if that person resorted to orbiting after they ghosted you AKA dropped all forms of communication. Which, you know, also sucks and not the best way to end things. Dudes, just be upfront. If you don’t like a girl, man up and say it’s not gonna work out. Ghosting is so cowardly in my opinion.
Anyways, writer Anna Iovine bemoaned how orbiting plagued a friend of hers:
“But largely, this man is in her orbit, seemingly keeping tabs on her with with no intention of engaging her in meaningful conversation or, you know, dating her.”
Also, this trend sends one heck of a confusing message because, surprise, women tend to overthink everything. Sorry girls, you know we do. Don’t lie. You’re probably analyzing this article right now and wondering if this happened to you.
And then you’ll text your best friend about this trend and swap stories about different guys/girls that did this to you.
Why do I know this? Because my best friend sent me the article that I linked above and I immediately thought of someone who is currently orbiting me. And then we swapped stories about different dudes. Totally normal Bechdel test-failing stuff.
Anyways, back to the point at hand. After a ghosted relationship, seeing that same person pop up on your social media sends one heck of a confusing signal. You might wonder “is he telling me he’s still interested or is he just being a creep?” No one really knows for sure why this happens, either.
But, this trend continues to grow every year and affect more women. And drive them even crazier considering we still don’t have equal pay. It’s like society loves giving us new things to worry about, like losing our reproductive rights.
On the other hand, many people find this trend fascinating BECAUSE they don’t know what’s going through the orbiter’s mind. Why do they still like posts on Twitter when they have no intention of being friendly?
UK writer Philip Ellis theorized that oribiting is a “power move.”
“A not very subtle way of letting them know you’re still on friendly terms, and that you’ll still say hi when you inevitably see them at the bar. It’s kind of like how you stay friends with your cousin on Facebook for the sake of Christmas and Easter gatherings.”
AKA, a way to save face in front of others. But, no one else really knows you’re still keeping tabs on that person since you won’t run into them at family functions, so this theory barely holds water.
So, it might be a different”power move.” Ergo, becoming another way to stay present in someone’s life without being face to face. You know, to remind that person that they still exist.
Some might do it for laughs, but others might do it simply because they don’t want to entirely write that person off yet. If it’s the prior, man that’s mean and screams “I love wasting my time!”
However, this 2nd theory is my favorite and is probably the right one. A guy or girl who orbits just might not know what they’re really doing. Or, more importantly, they don’t think what they’re doing is wrong or creepy. Instead, they think they’re being friendly.
Again, part of that urge to save face and to come across as a good person. “I still think of you even though you’ll never see me naked again!”
But, this fails to explain WHY they wanted to watch that Instagram story in the first place.
Which brings us to the most likely explanation of all: FOMO. The Fear of Missing out.
Dr. Rachel O’Neill, a licensed professional clinical counselor, fully supports this theory.
“Part of this orbiting behavior is really related to the underlying FOMO. The person might not necessarily be ready to commit to a relationship; however, there’s a concern that if they were to completely eliminate contact with you, then they might miss the opportunity to reconnect with you later on.”
“Orbiting also offers the opportunity for the orbiter to maintain a commitment-free connection with you. If circumstances change (for example, the orbiter decides they want to pursue a relationship), the orbiting behavior also offers a relatively easy entry to return back into your life (i.e., commenting on a post, DMing).”
Which does make the most sense, but I don’t think Orbiting has a one size fits all explanation. A person could keep tabs on another for a myriad of reasons, from harmless to “I know this will annoy them!”
But, most people agree this behavior is just someone wanting to keep their options open. That, and the curiosity of wanting to know what a particular person is up to. It’s a way to learn more about the person, but from a safe distance.
And, as I said earlier, it irritates the person on the receiving end. They want to know WHY this happens. Personally, I don’t blame them.
You kinda feel like you’ve been relegated to a mindless distraction where a person, who has no interest in communicating with you, will keep tabs on your social media for their own amusement.
And, because I’m a girl, I then think “Well, maybe they’re still making up their mind about me? Maybe they’re thinking of me right now?”
Also, before someone likens this trend to creeping, know there’s a major difference. When you creep, you don’t want the other person to know. You secretly keep tabs on a person without tipping them off that you’re watching them.
Orbiting, however, is you loudly announcing that you’re watching them without telling them why.
And that’s why so many people have an issue with this trend. And, honestly, I get it.
So, here’s my advice if a person orbits you… delete and block them. Boom, problem solved. It also sends a clear message to them that if they want access to your life, they have to work for it.
Anyways, has anyone orbited you? Or, are you currently doing it to someone else? If so, why? I seriously want to know your thought process.