'Sidebarring' is the nasty new dating trend that has probably already happened to you
Dating, in all its forms and guises is decidedly terrible. Personally, I often liken it to throwing paper towels at the ceiling, and seeing what sticks. But while I mostly say this in jest, in my experiences, it holds largely true. Whether you're using Tinder and Bumble or doing it the good old-fashioned way, and relying on your friends and family to match you with some interesting, albeit good-looking individuals, the chances of finding someone that you just click with are slim.
As such, our generation has seen the rise of some nasty dating trends, including the much-maligned ghosting, as well as cushioning, firedooring, and now... sidebarring. Yes, as if it wasn't bad enough having the object of your affections disappear without a trace, or leading you on while they look for someone better, there's now yet another thing they can do to make you lose faith in love.
Have you ever been on a date where the person you're seeing just couldn't stop checking their phone? Whether it was the occasional glance, or some full-fledged texting, I regret to inform you that you've been sidebarred.
Sidebarring refers to people who can't help but become distracted by their smartphone, especially in situations where they're supposed to put their screens away, such as dates and business meetings.
And chances are that all of us have been "sidebarred" at one point or the other. I mean, picture it; you're enjoying a meal with someone who is full of interesting stories, and just as you're getting really engrossed, they cut off, pick up their phone and proceed to message their friends for the next couple of minutes. And by the time they come to, and innocuously query "where were we?", the moment is over.
Now, in most instances, the person in question isn't purposely trying to be rude. Sidebarring, in all of its many manifestations, is just part and parcel of living in the modern age. However, it's clear that people need to start watching when and where they use their phones, and it just so happens that a date is a place where they need to observe stricter phone etiquette.
A recent study by Facebook attempted to analyse this sidebarring trend. Researchers discovered that 71 per cent of participants had "sidebarred" before and that in most cases, people usually do it at social events or family functions.
And as could be expected, the study found that 82 per cent of millennials and 79 per cent of teenagers had sidebarred in the past. However, Facebook also mentioned that while this may make their dinner dates feel awkward, those who engaged in the habit were strengthening their online friendships.
In the increasingly "online" and virtual world we live in, this may not seem to be all bad. However, being the old-fashioned sort I am, I believe that there's a time and place for checking your messages, and it's most definitely not when you're trying to woo someone.
In other dating related news, here are 18 revelations from people in a "throuple" relationship.