The trend of someone leaving your life, but still appearing in your online world, can hinder the ability to heal.
I didn’t know what to call it at the time, but in a recent piece for Man Repeller, writer Anna Lovine used the term “orbiting” to describe when a person leaves your life but still appears in your social media world — by watching your Instagram stories and Snapchats and even liking your Facebook posts, they’re still in your orbit. As she describes it, you’re “close enough to see each other; far enough to never talk.”
Why do people orbit each other?
If a relationship has been severed in real life, why do people feel the need to keep ties on social media? Could it just be human nature? Michelle Crimins, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in New York City, says that “as social beings we have very voyeuristic and social tendencies. We are actually wired to gossip, so that part of it is huge. We used to only have tabloids, then reality TV. Now, social media is reality TV for people we know. What’s more salacious than that?”
How orbiting affects our mental health?
- The mixed messages are confusing.
- It can encourage confirmation bias.
- We may be complacent in setting boundaries.
- It can make healing harder.
What to do when you’re being orbited
- Don’t read into it too much.
- Consider blocking or unfollowing.
- Ask yourself…Am I guilty too?
- Examine how social media in general makes you feel.