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Shelving Is the New Too-Busy-to-See-You Trend

If there were a dictionary of all the nuanced forms of shitty dating behavior, I’d light it on fire. Seriously.

Nowadays, I can’t vent about my single-and-dating woes to my happily coupled pals without someone explaining with diagnostic glee that there’s a term for that.

That girl I’d been phone-sexing stopped the steamy chat but keeps watching my IG stories? I’m being orbited! The hottie from Stonewall has only an 80 percent response rate? Apparently, I’m being slowfaded.

Or pre-ghosted.

Or breadcrumbed!

Like, thanks Nancy*, but relax.

But then there was a new choice move that my pals had no words for: chatting me up (and up and up) online but nixing the possibility of meeting due to “work obligations” that apparently last until further notice.

And I learned that a sigh followed by an “I’m so sorry, Gab. That must be hard for you” is a 10 times more irritating response than “OMG! I was just reading about this trend.”

So, because I’m apt at using my job as a sex and relationships writer for personal gain, I’m inventing a term for this behavior: shelving.

It’s the non-letdown letdown. It’s keeping someone on the back burner but disguising it as career-mindedness or ambition. It’s breadcrumbing but with the addition of the under-the-radar manipulative BRBASAWCD (BRB as soon as work calms down).

Wait, let me backtrack…

What the hell is shelving?

Back in January, on an uncharacteristically unbooked Friday (yeah, that’s a flex), I started chatting up an old Tinder match. Let’s call her Rebecca*. She was a stellar conversationalist and great at providing words of affirmation.

While she wasn’t what I typically go for, we continued to exchange texts for a month until she suggested meeting up for coffee.

That’s when I pulled the calendar card.

“You know, I’d really love to hang out, but I’m honestly just too busy and overwhelmed by work to commit to a time and place.” Or, blah de blah blah, “but I’d love to link back up when work calms down.”

Translation: It’s not you, it’s my schedule.

At first we kept in touch with slightly less frequency, but within a few days our exchanges fizzled into nothingness.

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