A while back, a reader sent me an email with a request for a certain topic.
She says: “I would love to see a post on how to handle *soft nexting*. I am sure you know what that is. I myself just delete that person from my life before they are out of my laneway. But I am sure there must be other ways to handle it. I do not like dealing with avoidant people so any form of nexting or putting off does not sit well with me if I have topic that I think needs dealing with. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.”
What is soft-nexting?
You may have heard this term from any of the pickup artist communities, but it’s also used among other male bloggers who write about dating and relationships. One definition from Blackdragon Blog: “When a man removes a woman from his life for a short period of time, usually three to seven days, during which he completely ignores all communication from her, because of drama she gave him. At the end of the soft next, the relationship resumes as normal.”
This is what I always thought of as the silent treatment. There could be some differences, but the concept is still the same. On Blackdragon’s glossary, a “hard next” is defined as a farewell forever. In other words, a breakup.
So what should a woman do if she finds herself being soft-nexted? I have searched this topic and so far I have found no other women discussing how to respond. The way I see it, there could be a few different options. Depending on your situation, think about which of these might be best for you.
Break up/hard-next. Soft-nexting is very passive-aggressive, and if you don’t think it’s worth the trouble, you don’t have to put up with it. You can just remove yourself from the situation and move on from him. You don’t have to make a big fuss about it, just let him know that it’s not going to work out for you this way.
This would probably be my personally preferred method.
Call it out, give him space, and then address the issue again when he starts speaking to you again. If you aren’t ready to break up with this guy, then one option would be to first call out his behavior and then proceed to give him his space.
By calling him out, you are letting him know that you are already aware of what he is doing, so you’re not going to be worried about it. That is important because he’s expecting you panic and fear losing him so you’ll be “good” when he does decide to start talking to you again. This is assuming that according to him, he soft-nexted you because of some problem, conflict, or drama.
What you’ll want to do when he speaks to you again is address the issue calmly but assertively. He might be in a better mood to discuss it, but if he avoids it or nexts you again, it might be time to move on indefinitely.
Be too busy to notice that you’re being soft-nexted. Any time you’re dating a guy, you should still maintain an active lifestyle outside of him. Keep your interest in your work, school, family, friends, and hobbies as you did before you met him. If you are doing this well, you will be so busy that you won’t even noticed that he has soft-nexted you. This aloof approach can be good for you since what he is doing is so dependent on a certain reaction from you, one that you will not give.
A few important points.
Don’t, in any way, show him that his silence is bothering you. If he can tell that ignoring you is making you upset or uncomfortable, he’ll know that it’s working and see it as all the more reason to keep doing it. Don’t complain, cry, pout, or behave abnormally whatsoever. Especially If you beg or demand for a response, he’ll know he’s gotten under your skin. Avoid blocking him on social media for this same reason. The less you react to his silence, the better. Go on about your business as usual.
Don’t apologize if you don’t know what you did wrong. For some people, it might be tempting to give in and apologize in order to quickly move past the discomfort of this silent phase. You may have been in the wrong, maybe you weren’t. No matter, don’t apologize if you don’t know what you are apologizing for.
Don’t apologize if you don’t feel sorry. Similarly, you might feel tempted to say sorry in order to get him talking to you again, even if you don’t mean it. This is a good way to lose even more respect from him. Sure, he might want to hear your apology in the moment, but if it’s not sincere, then you aren’t being honest in the relationship. Any apology you make should be authentic.
Above all, remember that you can’t control his behavior, you can only control yours. The behavior you allow is up to you.