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What Is Orbiting?

·453 words·3 mins

As long-time readers of the blog very well know, I’m fascinated with new words. And there’s no shortage of them in modern times. It seems like every time I turn around, mainstream dating columns are inventing — or at least popularizing —  a new one. Whenever I hear a new one in the wild, I want to learn it — and to share it with you folks. 

Orbiting isn’t exactly new to me per se. I’ve had it on my radar for a while and have been meaning to write about it. Because while I haven’t heard anyone use the term in a while, I’ve definitely seen people _doing _it. So if nothing else, it’s had a private utility for me to be like, “Oh yup, that person is orbiting again.” 

Keeping Tabs on People You Don’t Talk to

So what is orbiting? Simply put it’s checking up on someone that you don’t talk to anymore on social media. 

See? You know someone who does it, too. It might even be you (and if it is, then no judgment). 

When you orbit, you have that ex or old friend that you really aren’t on speaking terms with (whether that’s because of a nasty falling out or because time crept in and drove you naturally apart and now things are awkward), but you keep tabs on them nonetheless. You look at their public-facing social media and/or blogs and see what they’re up to from time to time.

You orbit them like a satellite might orbit a planet, picking up stray info via your sensors.  

Is It a Good Idea?

Okay, so people do it. We know that. But is it a good idea? Is it healthy? Is it destructive?

Well, it kinda depends on your motivation for doing so. If you’re keeping tabs on someone and long to reach out and connect but feel like you can’t… then that’s probably not a great situation for you, to be stuck in that ambiguous cycle. You could probably use a bit of space from it, space you’re not giving yourself.

But if it’s more done out of morbid curiosity, and you’d rather keep your distance, it could be neutral or even positive.

However, like everything else, it can be tough to sort out your motivations for doing things — and if you’re not careful, you might find yourself caught up in an orbiting pattern where you are longing for contact but hadn’t admitted it to yourself yet.

Anyway, no judgment from me. I have friends who regularly send me screenshots from people they’re orbiting. And I think the behavior is a natural byproduct of this strange new social media world we find ourselves in.


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