The latest dating app to drive Gen Z away from finding love is ‘Orbiting.’

Gen Z dating has turned into a game of survival and strategy.

Dating apps and social media have not only boosted long-standing dating trends such as ghosting but also created unique situations for love seekers. The latest: orbiting.

Benjamin Camras is known to his 262,000 TikTok followers as “The Flirt Coach”. He defines orbiting as the phenomenon where a former lover, ex or fling remains connected to you online but has stopped direct engagement.

“Either you or your partner is observing each other, and you’re both watching the other’s posts and stories. But you don’t really leave a digital footprint other than what can be seen,” Camras said to Fortune. “You are not liking, commenting, or sliding into DMs. You’re just kind of there.”

Camras says that if you have ever connected with someone on social media you are likely to have experienced the phenomenon of orbiting. Although the phenomenon is not necessarily negative, it can cause anxiety among younger people trying to read tea leaves.

Hinge, a dating app, is capitalising this trend and trying to understand the reasons why online dating can be difficult for Gen Z.

For older generations who are used to only relying on landline calls to communicate with a potential date, it may seem absurd to focus on their online behavior. Social media norms are what have shaped the perceptions of Gen Z daters who grew up in a digital world.

Those who are younger may mistakenly interpret a delay when texting for a lack in interest. They might even withhold their responses intentionally to appear distant or mysterious.

As a relationship coach for younger people, Camras is often asked this question: A person has a wonderful first date and then notices a distancing before the second date.

He said: “They are pulling away a bit, but still watching your Stories. So you send them a DM, and they don’t reply, but still online. You can see their Snapchat Score go up.” These signals are not very useful.

Sabrina Zohar is a viral relationship coach on TikTok with over 900,000 subscribers. She agreed that the social media features are leading many young people into delusion with meaningless signals.

She said that tracking someone’s activities stimulates a “dopamine high and cortisol drop”, causing young people become obsessed with creating fictional narratives, which are not based in reality.

Analysing digital body language

Dating apps are now considered inauthentic by Gen Zers, who feel the pressure to understand and respond to these cues. Hinge, for example, has tried to adapt its app to the new and complex communication styles of the digital age.

Hinge, in a D.A.T.E. The report (Data, advice, trends, and expertise) studied Gen Z dating habits. The “digital bodylanguage” is the type of signals Camras & Zohar discussed: “emojis & punctuation; message length & response time”. These are subtle nonverbal signals daters use.

The report suggests that while these forms of communication, or lack thereof, may seem trivial at first glance, it is important.

According to the study, two out of three Hinge daters look at a person’s message response time when determining if they are serious about dating. Three out of four Hinge daters say that initiating conversation is a sign of interest.

The Hinge Report indulges Gen Zers by analysing digital bodylanguage. The report, for example, explains the meaning of a Hinge match asking to move the conversation to another messaging app. This could be seen as a “sign” of interest. Or if the Hinge matches send memes, but don’t have a scheduled date.

Dating apps must pivot to appeal to younger generations. It could be an indication that social media apps are starting to realize the psychological impact they have on young adults.

Zohar says that people in love are always obsessive. Now, there are many ways to keep someone stuck in a limerance cycle.

You get excited when posting that story. “You can’t wait until (your crush sees it) and then when they don’t respond, you’re stuck in the loop of wondering what else I can do to get their attention,” Zohar said.

You’re trying control others, but we should start bringing this issue internally and saying, “If you don’t like the way someone is orbiting around you, set boundaries.”

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