The world of dating is brutal.
If you’re one of the singletons trying to navigate your way through the rough seas that are the current dating landscape, the chances are you’ve been benched, breadcrumbed, ghosted or just plain fizzled-out. So much for plenty of fish.
Or if you haven’t been victim to any of the above, you’ve probably inflicted them on someone else.
And the latest term to emerge in the world of dating is zombieing – you’ll almost definitely have experienced it without even realising.
It can seem like ghosting to start with: you may have been seeing someone for a little while or perhaps just messaging and arranging a date, but then three days go by and they haven’t replied to your message.
So, naturally, you send a totally-casual-easy-breezy-relaxed follow-up message to see if you’re still on (without suggesting you actually like them or care though, of course).
And when they fail to reply to that one as well, you know you’ve been ghosted.
You move on, you go on other dates, you forget all about your ghoster.
The cartoons that perfectly sum up relationships
It could be months later when totally out-of-the-blue, they pop up again.
You thought they were dead forever, but no: you have been zombied.
It could be something as small as a like on an Instagram post or a Facebook status, which is always a mind-f***.
Why on earth has that guy from two years ago favourited your tweet? You didn’t even realise he was following you. Was he drunk? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!?
One of the most bizarre ways in which someone can be zombied is through the invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Like, what? You weren’t even ever really friends let alone business colleagues, yet they think you’re going to help them get a job? It’s happened.
And of course, sometimes the zombie will just straight-up message you, most often completely ignoring the previous messages that they failed to reply to months ago.
But why do people do it?
We’re fickle beings, and more often than not we look back at a previous “partner” (in quotation marks because it usually hasn’t got to the point where you’re anything official) whom we’ve fizzled-out with regret.
“Maybe that was a mistake, they did seem really nice, why did I do that?” you think to yourself. And so you try and rekindle.
But it’s rude, especially if you don’t acknowledge your previous disappearance. That’s no way to treat a person.
So if you’re a bit of a zombie, it could be worth working on your next return from the dead:
“If you are thinking of someone you lost contact with or might have ghosted, you should reach out to that person if you have any regret or curiosity but acknowledge the passage of time and your responsibility for it,” says New York dating coach Francesca Hogi.
“Just do it respectfully and like a grownup.”