'Tuning': The Toxic Dating Trend To Steer Clear Of

Have you ever been in a situation where someone you know is always the first to like your social media posts, sometimes even commenting flirty emojis or words like "cute" and "hot," but never actually initiates a face-to-face conversation? Or, maybe someone messages you playful jokes and compliments but doesn't ask you to meet up. If you can relate to these scenarios, you're probably getting tuned.

Somewhat similar to the obnoxious OnlyPlans dating trend, tuning is arguably even worse, as typical tuners won't even bother initiating plans, even if they genuinely like you. If someone is tuning you, they'll act friendly and playful via social media — or sometimes texting — but won't bring up spending time with you or directly confess their feelings. They may not even acknowledge you in person! Plus, tuning involves less effort than traditional flirting and tends to lead to hookups rather than relationships — if it does lead to anything at all. That said, you'll want to avoid falling into the trap of getting tuned, as the trend typically causes more annoyance than anything else in the long term.

Tuning is frustrating

While receiving a bunch of Instagram likes or fire emojis from your crush might first seem exciting, people tend to get fed up when someone keeps it up with no effort to move the interactions to something more. "[A Story like] means nothing unless there's an actual action from them," Lindsey Metselaar, who hosts the successful "We Met At Acme" dating podcast, told Bustle. "I'd rather someone like me and say something, like ask a question or give me something to respond to... It's the bare minimum that they like your photo." 

So, if a crush only likes your Instagram posts and comments an emoji of a rose rather than giving you real roses or asking you out on a date, they could have real feelings for you but are probably still tuning you. TikToker @taylerbradford posted a video expressing the frustration from being tuned, dramatically lipsyncing to "Chasing Pavements" by Adele. Plus, if someone likes your social media content and that's it regarding interaction, you can't be surprised to find out they like other people's posts, shared TikTok user @thenikkss. In other words, you shouldn't expect anything exclusive from someone who seems to be tuning you.

Keep an eye out for tuning exes

What's worse than getting tuned by your crush? A toxic, tuning ex. Many people can relate to the scenario of going through a breakup with someone, only for that someone to send you social media likes and DMs after the end of the relationship. "Liking your photos can be a result of monitoring your social life to see if you've started dating someone else. You could call it 'creeping.' They're stuck in the past...," Connell Barrett, the executive dating coach who founded Dating Transformation, told Elite Daily. "Instead of calling you up or texting you directly, they're tiptoeing on your social media feeds to see if you'll engage with them — and maybe if you like their photos, they'll like their photos back, which in their mind could be a sign that you're interested in reconciling. It takes no courage to like a photo." 

If your ex displays that courage-free behavior, it's typically best not to fall into the trap, especially if they cheated, mistreated, or dumped you. TikTok user @josies.mf.spam uploaded a relatable video about tuning exes, sharing that some exes will show behavior as disrespectful to flirt with you via DM after choosing another person over you. If you ever find yourself in that situation, never be afraid to hit the block button and remove yourself from the toxic relationship cycle once and for all.