Dating has changed over the years. Online dating has been a major factor and has caused a shift in the traditions we once accepted as normal. Nowadays, with the rise of social media and ‘connectivity' there are even more dating trends constantly emerging. One of the most unsettling is ‘zombie-ing', a term coined by author and relationship coach Francesca Hogi.
At first glace, zombie-ing can resemble something from a horror movie. In its essence, it's a dating trend where someone ghosts you then randomly resurfaces afterwards, almost seemingly in the same manner as reanimated undead. It's not just about love, either, but also about platonic relationships between friends and colleagues. The truth is, however, it can cause the recipient of the ‘zombie' some very real distress.
When we think of the dating world, ghosting is the most recognizable trend, usually with someone mysteriously disappearing for no apparent reason - no reply, no explanation. Well, zombie-ing brings a weird twist to this, where communication may still exist through some form of a response, but no commitment or investment. You'll end up having one-sided conversations with them as they only reply once in a while or never follow up on conversations. It's likely that they actively avoid committing to questions or discussing any meaningful topics, almost as if they forget the conversation ever happened.
It essentially leaves you feeling like you're interacting with a brain-befuddled zombie, hence the name, where the person behaves robotic or apathetically. You might sense a superficiality in the relationship where instead of being a mutual exchange of feelings and thoughts, the ‘zombier' insists on keeping a safe distance. For those already struggling with self-esteem issues, this can be even more difficult to cope with psychological as it adds to further feelings of worthlessness, as if you said something wrong or offended them.
Unfortunately, zombie-ing is often part of the ghosting process, and is a way for the offender to emotionally detach from the person before finally cutting ties with them. It's important to acknowledge your feelings too, and give yourself the time to process what happened. It's natural to feel angry and confused, but it's important to remember that in these cases, people try to keep things ambiguous to minimize feeling guilty or they just want to avoid confrontation.
We can surmise then that zombie-ing is a form of passive aggression not to be confused with ghosting. While ghosting generally speaks volumes to the lack of interest of the zombier it isn't always their intention– sometimes they just don't know how to adequately express themselves. That's why it's important to try talking to them to work through what might be at the root cause of their behaviour.
Being a victim of zombie-ing can leave one feeling undesired, apprehensive and even alone. Oftentimes, it's difficult to know exactly what caused the behaviour, and even harder to fix it. Compassion and communication is key- and avoid internalising it- it's important to understand it certainly doesn't say much about your worthiness. Rather, it speaks volumes to their own state of mind, indecision and potential inability to commit and give clarity. While significant others may appear uncaring, unreliable, and distant, our primary focus should be on ourselves and how to mend our broken hearts.