The slew of available mobile dating apps and the advent of social media has apparently given rise to a relatively new, altogether horrible dating trend: cloaking.
“Cloaking is when a person doesn’t just stand you up for a date, they also block you on any app that you’ve previously communicated on,” said Rachel Thompson, a Mashable contributor who shared her experience being “cloaked” for the first time earlier this month.
Mashable confirmed that Thompson herself coined the phrase “cloaking,” a practice she likens to a person using a cloaking device to conceal themselves from sight. In this case, however, the “cloaker” — i.e., the rude dating partner — conceals himself/herself from any and all possible communication after standing up a date.
For example, Thompson describes how she met a match through Hinge, and conversed with him on the app before exchanging information and agreeing to meet for dinner. But upon arrival, he was nowhere to be seen — and the record of their conversation disappeared from Hinge, as he had deleted his profile. He also stopped responding via iMessage or Whatsapp.
Subsequent attempts to reach him via social media proved fruitless, though Thompson said she was able to find out his last name and message him on Facebook, though he never responded.
Since the term “cloaking” doesn’t appear to exist prior to Thompson’s experience — at least in terms of dating — anecdotes of being #cloaked are not as widely available online. That doesn’t mean the trend originated with this specific incident; “cloaking” simply appears to simply be a harsher version of “ghosting,” during which one party stops responding to texts or attempts to communicate from the other. True “ghosts,” however, do sometimes turn back up, and won’t necessarily delete their own profiles in an attempt to distance themselves from a match.
Thompson further claimed that after doing a little online research, she was far from the only person to get straight-up cloaked.
“When I reached out on Twitter, so many people had similar experiences,” Thompson said.
Thompson likely isn’t exaggerating: In a 2018 poll of millennials conducted by Cupid’s Pulse, 78 percent admitted to having been ghosted at least once. Prior generations, too, had the ability to “ghost” if not “cloak,” only they didn’t have the hashtag-able terms millennials so often use to define their experiences.
“With the onset of technology and social media when it comes to dating, it’s harder to be in a relationship, so [millennials] want to be able to define what that relationship is,” Cupid’s Pulse founder Laurie BIzzoco told Fox News in 2018.