Chapter 4: The Slow Fade

I think one of the most annoying aspects of modern dating has to be the slow fade.  I’m sure people have been utilizing some version of this method for decades, but I have a feeling it’s become more prevalent in recent years.  Personally, I think online dating and cell phones have created a “perfect storm” situation where we don’t need to be near to or actually talk to the people we are trying to date.  It’s too easy to stay in touch with people now, so we get lazy, and we just don’t do it.  Dating, at least in my recent experience, starts out much more impersonally, and I think that makes slow fading someone easier.

For those who might not know, the slow fade is when either you or the other party just slowly stops talking.  This is slightly different from say a cliff dive scenario where someone just…..all the sudden stops talking!  That’s annoying too, but in a different way.  Slow fading is the modern version of the phrase, “letting someone down easy.”  You like them enough to not drop your departure on them like a ton of bricks, but not enough to actually tell them why you don’t want to date them.  Usually, let’s be honest, that reason is, “I’m just not that into you.”  I’m maybe being a bit hypocritical here, because it isn’t like I’ve never used the slow fade on someone.  I think that I differ slightly from the typical slow fade user though.  Even if I don’t want to date you, I’ll stil talk and probably hang out with you.  I’f I’m really just not feeling it at all, I’ll start the fading process by just “being busy”.  Now, realistically, I’m almost never too busy to hang out with someone, but I guess you make time for what is important.  My constant state of busy basically puts the ball in the other person’s court.  If you want to slow fade me at this point, great!  The feeling is mutual, I just don’t ever really want to be the one to crush some poor guys hopes and dreams.

If after a significant period of time the poor guy just isn’t grasping the “friend zone” concept I’m trying to roll with, I’ll perform a slow fade.  Just slowly stop answering texts and definitely don’t answer phone calls!  Frankly, I really only prefer this technique on people I haven’t gone on face to face dates with.  Not only do I prefer it, I totally accept it!  If we haven’t bothered to meet in person and it’s been several months, we clearly aren’t all that into each other.  I have enough friends, I don’t need an extended circle of random dudes I met online.  Thanks, but no thanks!

The use of the slow fade that I don’t understand is when you’ve meet someone in person, had a good time together, agree to meet up again, and then bam….the slow fade.  I mean, I get that sometimes you’re just not that into someone.  I also understand that even if you’ve casually been seeing someone, when it comes time to move on, it can sometimes feel like you have to “break up” with someone you weren’t actually dating.  Trust me, that’s a feeling I’m well acquainted with!  However, have we really become so fragile that we can’t just tell someone we aren’t interested?  Again, I think it’s laziness.  It’s just easier to give someone the slow fade, but that doesn’t make it right.  I should clarify that the mutual slow fade is a rare gift, a mystical unicorn of modern dating.  If you find yourself in a mutual slow fade, count your lucky stars and have a celebratory drink!!  It truly is a “get out of jail free card”.

As someone who has been on both the receiving and giving end of a slow fade, it’s a complicated topic.  On the giving side, you want an easy way to remove yourself from a situation, all whilst causing the least amount of emotional trauma.  On the receiving end, sometimes it would really be nice to know why you can’t hold down a relationship.  I think generally we should all be less accepting of the slow fade!  It’s really not helping anyone, and it’s use is probably just adding to an already high amount of dating anxiety!  However, no one wants to be the crazy one who demands explanations for everything, so we all just accept the slow fade.

I’ll be the first to admit that hearing about my flaws is only something I want from close family and friends, and even then it’s still not enjoyable.  However, my friends and family really aren’t likely to tell me the reasons why I send guys disappearing into the shadows.  They probably don’t know the reasons honestly!  There probably isn’t a good answer to the slow fade problem which plagues the dating scene.  I understand the appeal of giving someone the slow fade, however I’d really prefer people didn’t use that method on me.  Maybe we are just destined to be hypocrites in a slow fade world.