What It Really Means To Be ‘Haunted’ By Someone Online

Aaron Mello

So there’s a new term floating around the realm of social media.


In case you haven’t heard, it’s basically when someone you used to date/almost dated/matched with on Tinder—who is very much past tense—makes regular appearances in your present by liking your Instagram post, watching your Snapchat story, or making some other mark of acknowledgement on social media. But it’s always silent. They never say any actual words.

It’s not exactly a new phenomenon. It’s essentially the same as being Facebook-stalked by an ex. (Another reason to log off from the wretched thing.) I guess the only difference now is that there’s an awareness of it. You know that this person is looking at what you’re doing.

It can be a little alarming. Definitely a little unnerving. It can also be a little flattering, perhaps even a little bit addictive. It can lead you to start having this imaginary dialogue with them…

Well I used to like you, and I know you used to like me, and you obviously care about what I’m doing, and I care that you care. Is this us flirting again? Are we going back to that now? Clearly this isn’t over yet.

And that conversation can stay in your head for a lot longer than it ought to, taking residency besides a load of other thoughts about them that you swore would stay buried.

But you tell yourself it’s okay to think about them now, because they’re the ones who started it. Your overthinking is simply a reaction to their action because you want to understand what’s going on. You want to know why this person who was supposed to be gone is keeping a tab on what you’re doing now. You want to know why you’re being haunted. You want to know what it all means.

Well, allow me to spare you a few hours of analysis and just tell you what it means. (Careful, this might sting a little.)

Nothing. It means nothing.

Well, more appropriately, the fact that they liked/watched/clicked whatever they did means nothing. Certainly nothing other than they’re nosy, bored, or they’ve already read through all of the trashy headlines on the Daily Mail. They’re not pining for the one who got away, they’re not wishing to go back to the days where the two of you could talk, they’re not searching for a way to rekindle an old romance—if they did they would actually talk to you. They would make the move. No excuses about rejection or pain or complication—they’d just do it. They’d do it because they had to do it.

But they haven’t.

And the fact that you’re obsessing and willing to analyze an innocent click for hours on end means you’re the one who’s not really over it. Hundreds of people will view that picture—and a load of them don’t talk to you all that often—but you’re only ever fixated on that one.

So yes, you’re being haunted. But it’s not by the ex. You’re haunting yourself with a product of your own imagination. The vision of things you want to happen but never will.

And if I had to give you just one piece of advice it would be: don’t.

Just don’t. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m that awkwardly tall girl who you wouldn’t want standing in front of you at a concert.

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