What Is Gray Rocking In A Relationship?

Because there will never be an end to new terminology when it comes to modern dating and all the complications that come with it, we now introduce you to "gray rocking." While, at first, it might conjure up images of your parents or grandparents rocking out with their gray hair to one of those bands from the '70s that makes your ears bleed, that's not the case — although such a fun image, right?

No, gray rocking is quite different. But while other relationship trends, like ghosting, benching, pocketing, and the like, makes the person on the receiving end feel like utter garbage, gray rocking doesn't have to be that way. It's actually a psychological tactic you can use to your advantage (via Psychology Today), whereas ghosting and similar trends can leave you blindsided, heartbroken, and looking for answers about what you might have done to be ghosted — answers you'll never get because the person you were seeing completely checked out and disappeared (via The New York Times).

So, what's gray rocking? It's something you definitely want to familiarize yourself with now because you never know when you're going to find yourself either on a date or in a relationship with someone who needs to be gray rocked — stat.

How to gray rock someone

Dictionary.com defines gray rocking as "a strategy used to avoid unwanted social interactions or to extract oneself from a relationship with a person by engaging with them only at the most basic and unemotional level." Ultimately, the person is trying to make the other lose interest without actually having to break up with them or end the situationship themselves.

Whether it's a friend or a romantic partner, sometimes things can go sour, and you realize you're in a toxic relationship. While there's no one type of toxic relationship, they do all contain similar factors: control, lack of trust, lying, manipulation, gaslighting, and hostility — just to name a few (via Insider). "Toxic people and narcissists love drama," licensed relationship therapist and author of "The Facebook Narcissist: How to Identify and Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From Social Media Narcissism," Lena Derhally, LPC tells Well + Good. "They love to instigate, and they want to get an emotional reaction out of whoever they are targeting at the moment. [With the grey rock method], the hope is they will get bored or realize they can't get any emotional response out of you, and will more or less stop sucking you into their drama."

If may not be easy to become a blank slate when dealing with someone who's emotionally and mentally hurting you, but it's a good way to protect yourself from these personality types. If they can't mess with you, then they're more likely to leave and find someone they can control.

When you should gray rock someone

When you're in a relationship with a toxic partner, they can make it near-impossible to leave. They'll do and say anything to retain control over you and if it looks like you've come to your senses and are leaving, they'll play the victim and do their best to keep you in their clutches. "I have spoken to people who have used this successfully, but this is a practice that came out of the community of people who have experienced narcissistic abuse," W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D., psychologist and author of "The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder," tells MindBodyGreen.

The whole key, in addition to minimizing yourself for the sake of escaping the relationship, is to not let their words dictate your actions. You've already seen them for what they really are, so it's time to stay on your gray rock course and not waiver. "Gray rocking requires a disconnect from your emotions and feelings," therapist Ellen Biros, M.S., LCSW tells Healthline. "So, it's possible to experience symptoms of dissociation or complete disconnect from your own feelings and emotions."

But know that these feelings are temporary while you navigate your escape. In some cases, gray rocking doesn't work. Even if you've mastered the technique, some narcissists might see right through it and will one-up you to try to stay ahead. If that's the case, then it's time to reach out to a therapist for help. No toxic relationship is worth staying in even a minute more, so the sooner you can get out, the better off you'll be.