You’ve already got “ghosting,” “orbiting” and “breadcrumbing” on the long list of online dating slang terms that describe the terrible ways people treat each other in the digital age. But now you can add another one to the list: R-Bombing.
The term only applies to exchanges which include read receipts, like Facebook and iPhone messages (if you choose to turn on that function).
In R-Bombing, the perpetrator will read your message, but fail to respond. This is different from ghosting, in which you at least have the luxury of assuming the person didn’t get the text, or, I don’t know, died. With R-Bombing, it is abundantly clear that the person received your message, and is willfully choosing to ignore it.
“[R-Bombing] is incredibly common both by text and through social media,” dating coach James Preece told The Independent. “It’s very similar to ghosting, only you have no doubts they have got your message. You’ll be confused and wonder why they aren’t responding. The truth is that the other person doesn’t want to meet but doesn’t want to hurt you by explicitly saying so.”
Preece added that it’s common for an R-Bomber to occasionally throw you a bone and respond, excusing their behavior by saying they were “super busy” or that they’re “just not that great at texting.” This makes the behavior even worse, as it gives the victim reasons to hope that ignoring your texts doesn’t mean anything, and that they’re the ones being psycho for expecting someone to respond, when in fact their frustration is a totally normal emotional response to being tagged along.
Needless to say, we’d encourage you not to R-Bomb people. It’s not that hard to send someone a message saying you had a nice time but are focusing on your career or need to be alone right now or (genius idea!) whatever the truth is. When you fail to respond, remember: You are being kind to yourself and not to the person waiting to hear back from you.
If you’re the victim of this kind of behavior, Preece suggests not giving in to any excuses the R-Bomber may give, especially since victims of R-Bombing are prone to drive themselves crazy by stalking someone’s social media accounts to try to determine whether or not they are really too busy to answer.
“It’s just not healthy to torture yourself by constantly checking out what someone else is up to,” he said. “Focus on finding someone who treats you respectfully. If you get R-bombed, stop chasing and don’t contact them again.”
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