Confession: After all of one day I took the advice of my friends and broke up with my seventh-grade girlfriend by slipping her a two sentence “Dear Jane” letter into her hallway locker. In subsequent years my breakup technique became more sophisticated although just as spineless. Sometimes I was the evader and occasionally the discarded. The insightful reader will recognize my wrongheaded attempt to avoid or inflict emotional pain as rationalization.
The advent of virtual technology has given rise to yet more ingenious ways to enable this faulty logic. Faulty thinking often necessitates a corruption of the language. Nowhere is this better illustrated than the corruption of our language around relationships.
For instance, are you “cushioning?” Cushioning once meant to buffer or brace. In the context of virtual dating, cushioning is when someone plumps up their network of partners in case their current relationship doesn’t work out.
Have you been stashed? Stashing refers to being hidden from your soul mates family, friends, and worst of all not posted on his/her Facebook page.
Ever have the experience of meeting someone, and all seems to be going splendidly and then without warning they just disappear? They don’t return texts, emails, phone calls. You’ve been in the modern vernacular…ghosted.
I have never watched an episode of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” but have seen enough parodies on “Saturday Night Live” to have a vague understanding of breadcrumbing. Never heard of it? Breadcrumbing is sending just enough signals to make someone think you are interested in them romantically but all the while maintaining plausible deniability.
George Orwell said, “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The more we use poor language, the poorer our thoughts become.
Instead of trying to avoid the anxiety, guilt, resentment, with rationalization, commit to honesty, courage, and compassion. These are the values that result in a regret free life.