'Soft ghosting' is the latest terrible breakup term

(STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

As if modern dating wasn’t already tricky enough, a confusing new breakup trend is said to be rocking romantics — and their cellphones — in all the wrong ways.

Apparently inspired by the well-known “ghosting” phenomenon, “soft ghosting” is described as slowly breaking off communication with someone by “liking” their text messages, but offering no genuine response or continuation of a conversation. Humor blog Overheard LA was perhaps the first outlet to share the term a few months back, according to the Huffington Post, and commenters have since had a whole lot to say about the rumored fad.

Over the summer, the blog shared a post defining the terrible “soft ghosting” spectacle as when someone “responds” to conversation by “liking” a message, making them the last person to answer the chat. By doing so, this person may be attempting to break off communication altogether, albeit in a less-than-straightforward way.

However, this play puts the recipient in the awkward position of having to “risk double-texting” if they fire off another message.

“I see this kind of communication all the time with my clients. Today’s communication has changed quite a bit as we try to balance phone life and real life,” Ontario-based dating coach Chantal Heide told HuffPost of the phenomenon.

Heide further advised hopeless romantics who suspect they’ve been so-called “soft ghosted” to take things in stride and be patient in the dating game.

“Singles sometimes feel a loneliness void that they fill by seeking validation from other people,” she said. “That can go wrong or turn to anger when that validation isn’t turning into the instant gratification we’re conditioned to expect with texting.”

The original post defining the term by Overheard LA, meanwhile, clearly struck a nerve with Instagram users, with the post racking up over 84,000 likes to date.

“Omg I SOFT GHOST everybody,” one commenter cried.

“Oh snap,” another agreed.

Others, meanwhile, weren’t quite so fazed by the fad.

“Who cares?” one wondered.

“Unpopular opinion: double texting is fine and people make too big of a deal about it. There’s a difference between sending a few sentences in different texts and obsessively spamming them,” another said.

In other words of wisdom, singles looking for love should also be wary of other frustrating dating fads that have recently made headlines, including “paper clipping,”"cloaking," "trickle ghosting," "pocketing," "cookie jarring" and "you-turning."