So all of us are either dealing with someone doing this to us, or we do it to someone else. Orbiting is kind of like the step after ghosting. It's when someone who was in your life, but isn't anymore, still keeps up with you on social media but doesn't actually interact with you in real life or online. I've experienced this but I didn't know exactly what it was, until I read a New York Times article about the phenomenon. Safe to say, I felt SEEN.
Whether it's an ex, a person you casually dated but don't anymore, or a friend you had a falling out with, they will watch your stories, like your photos and tweets, but that's it. They just kind of lurk in the background. They follow your life but don't want any part of it.
For some, it can be incredibly hurtful. It's a painful reminder that they're there, but not really. It can make the person being orbited wonder what is keeping that person from reaching out. Not to mention, it can also affect how and what you post, as it becomes your last means of communication with that person. Your feed becomes a series of secret messages via captions and stories. Even though that person is no longer in your life, you use this as a last means to maintain SOME kind of relationship.
But it isn't healthy. Once a person decides to leave your life, or you do theirs, it is best to cut ties. If it makes you uncomfortable, have a conversation or block them from seeing your posts, if you aren't on speaking terms. If you don't want to see what they post, mute them. Ending any kind of relationship can be extremely painful, but in the social media age, moving on is so much harder than it used to be. But it is up to us to take control of our emotional and mental health as best as we can.
The temptation will always be there to check up on those we no longer speak to or who caused us pain, but there is no reason to continue putting ourselves in positions that hurt us. You wouldn't continuously rip off a Band-Aid, would you? No. Because then your wound wouldn't heal and ripping off Band-Aids hurts!
I'm glad I read that article because it reminded me that I'm not the only one experiencing this. If you have experienced orbiting, I'm sorry. It completely sucks. Hopefully you can move on from whatever is hurting you. Let us know in the comments how you've dealt with orbiting!