A person may conduct their insidious curving habits via texting. PxHere

So you’ve met somebody and you’re really into them. But they take forever to answer your texts, and when they do their replies are short or cold in tone. Sorry to break it to you, but you could be the victim of a nasty dating trend called curving.

Like ghosting, curving is the new millennial dating trend - it’s a way of letting someone down without actually telling them you’re no longer interested.

Sneaky? Yes. Devious? Probably. Curving has been the ammo of choice in the dating game since Brenda Fassie sang about weekend specials. Only now there’s a word for it.

Curving can take many forms, said The Independent's Olivia Petter. “A person may conduct their insidious curving habits via texting. Maybe they take days, or even weeks, to reply to your last WhatsApp message.”

Another avoidance tactic is making plans and then cancelling at the last minute.

According to the UK’s top dating coach James Preece, curving is a problem many of his clients experience.

“Deep down, they know that the other person isn’t that interested but they still hold out hope,” he told The Independent.

While curving may seem innocent enough, it’s more cruel than ghosting. With the latter, when someone disappears into thin air, you’ll know there’s no chance of resuming a relationship. With curving, the curver leads their “victim” on, giving them just enough to keep them hoping things might go further.

“Things like ghosting and curving are problems today because people are getting worse and worse at rejection and conflict management,” therapist Aaron Anderson told the Huffington Post.

Relationship coach and professional matchmaker Kas Naidoo says communication is the key. “If you have dated someone a few times and you feel the person is not Mr / Ms Right for you, then clear but kind communication is the ethical thing to do.”

There are ways to let someone down gently without playing the villain. Dating website eHarmony has a few suggestions:

Honesty is the best policy

It’s better to be upfront about how you are feeling rather than stringing someone along because you don’t know how to tell them you aren’t interested in seeing them again.

Kindness goes a long way

Treat people as you would like to be treated. If you go on a date and know in the first five minutes that it is a non-runner, don’t be rude. Stay, and treat it as a learning experience.

Don’t block people

This leaves the person with questions and a feeling of insecurity.