Goodness. Life used to be so simple (annoying but still simple) back when all we had to really worry about was some dude possibly ghosting us. Now it seems like not one week goes by when there isn't a new cray-cray dating trend that's gone viral.
Well, out of all of the ones that I've researched (or a single woman has talked to me about), there are seven that have made me exclaim — and yes, I'm yelling this — ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Just as a heads up, unfortunately, these are the kinds of trends that you typically won't pick up on until after it happens to you. By then, you're already pissed with a touch of jaded.
As an act of service, what I'm going to try to do is not only define what they are, but provide a red flag that you should look out for beforehand so that you don't have to fall victim to any of this total and utter foolishness.
Something that I oftentimes say is, "If it's God, you'll run into your ex at Kroger. If it's you, you'll look them up on Facebook." Haunting kind of co-signs on this point. It's when you and someone connect — on and offline — go out, end things but they're still trying to engage you on social media.
What sucks about this is they attempt to do it in a very passive-aggressive kind of way — liking your photos but not commenting on them. Checking out all of your IG stories but never calling or texting. It's "haunting" because if you're still emotionally-attached in any kind of way, you can really get a read on whether or not they are too.
How to Avoid This: There's no cardinal rule that says that just because you know someone that you have to be social media connected to them. If you're like most people, a lot of details of your life are shared online, so before you accept someone's request to follow you, think about if you'd want to stay connected even if you were to stop dating each other. If you're not sure, wait until you are.
I can't remember where I heard it, but the author of this quote deserves the offering plate passed to them a couple of times— "The problem with accepting the crumbs of a man is you're always left hungry." A breadcrumber is someone who gives just enough to keep you hanging on but not enough to establish anything lasting or even really real. It's emotional manipulation at its finest.
This is something that narcissists like to do because it's more about feeding their ego than meeting your needs. And a narcissist? You need to run from them at all costs!
How to Avoid This: Be clear about what your wants and needs are before going on your first date. If you make it to Date #3, state some of them. If there is no effort being made into meeting some of them, that's your first clue that he's probably a breadcrumber and that he probably doesn't see you as more than a…duck.
Ugh. Another word for curving is "evil". Only, it's in a subtle kind of way. It's kind of akin to ghosting, only it takes a lot longer to catch on to what's going on. You text and he takes two days to respond. While on a call, he mentions getting together soon but a week later, no concrete plans are made. This cycle continues to happen and it drives you crazy because you can't really tell if they are into you — or not.
How to Avoid This: When you have your first couple of conversations, explain that you're big on communication. That poor communication is kind of a deal-breaker for you. If he wants you in his life, he'll take note. If he's on the fence, his communication will be lukewarm, which is sending the message that he's "iffy" about you. I'm pretty sure you can take it from there.
Doing the absolute most. We've all said that phrase about someone before. Well, as far as dating goes, when someone is "mosting" you, it means that they're dishing out PLENTY of compliments in the attempts to convince you that they are oh so into you.
What's wrong with that? Nothin'. Other than the fact that they don't mean half of what they're saying and/or they're saying the same thing to five other chicks too.
How to Avoid This: Let's go to the Good Book on this one: "He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail." (Job 17:5 NKJV) I have an ex who once said something to me that was like 10 sermons in one sentence— "Your problem is you receive confirmations like they are revelations."
His point? Never be so grateful for what a man thinks of you that you overlook signs that are pointing to him sneaking around, not being honest or simply playing around with your heart.
Trust me, if you've got a strong sense of self-worth, you'll pick up on "most-ers" quicker than most.
You might be thinking that I'm making this one up, but we can thank our Caucasian brothers and sisters for this one. The best way to explain it is, it's our version of "cuffing season". Just like a lot of white people get freckles by spending too much time in the summer sun, only to have the freckles fade by fall, freckling is a hot-n-heavy fling that comes with an expiration date — and a return date. That's right, just like freckles come and go, so do those who partake in freckling.
How to Avoid This: If you ask someone what their dating history is (on the first or second date), you can get a feel for if they are commitment-phobes or not. If they are (and you want something serious and lasting), already file them as "not the one for me". That way, it'll be difficult for them to boo-up with you for three months at a time…every six months or so. And if they do, you'll already know not to let them be a repeat offender.
Just when you thought you heard it all, right? On the surface, this one probably doesn't make much sense. But if you're a fan of the book or movie The Great Gatsby, you know that the character Jay was the king of overkill when it came to trying to impress the object of his affection. The modern-day twist of this would probably be The Bachelor (kinda). Fantasy dates that cause you to think you're falling in love with a person when really what you're in love with is the high-class ambiance.
Hmph, there's even a digital version of this where someone has a crush on you and try to make you want them by making their IG look like they are independently-wealthy travelers who want to insert you into their life.
How to Avoid This: I'm not gonna knock an over-the-top date. But try and balance those out with more simplified ones like picnics or hanging out in a coffee shop. That gives you a chance to see if he's got substance behind his finance, presentation, and social media shots.
STASHING IS THE WORST. The absolute worst. If you're currently seeing someone who constantly calls, texts and takes you out (and it's been this way for a few months now), but when you ask them about their friends and family, they change the subject and/or when you hop onto their social media pages, there's not an ounce of evidence that they are seeing someone — in fact, they seem to represent the epitome of singleness — this is called "stashing".
What they're actually doing is compartmentalizing you. Sure, you are a part of their life, but they are intentional about keeping you from the rest of it. Why? Usually, it's either because they don't plan on things going to another level OR they are seeing others on the side. Or both.
How to Avoid This: After a month or so of dating and chatting, suggest inviting some of your friends and their friends to meet each other. Present it as casual; like it's no biggie. If they give you push back, inquire why. First, it'll give you insight into if they even want to make you a part of their world and two, it will let you know what you should do about it.
Life's too short to be stashed away somewhere. Or to settle for any of these dating trends. Choose wisely, y'all.
Featured image by Getty Images.