Take a Step Back through Half-Masting

Florence Williamson
3 min readFeb 6, 2023


Dating is hard enough to navigate as it is. Throw the internet into the mix, and it’s an even bigger mess. Gone are the days when you didn’t think twice about things happening too soon. Nowadays, getting a text or message from someone feels like the first time someone says “I love you.”

Modern dating’s ever-changing nature can get pretty frustrating. Unless you’re chronically online, understanding its nuances will be a challenging task.

Every year brings new dating trends, which some daters have trouble keeping up with. The one I’m about to discuss is no different, but hear me out: you’ll want to pay attention to this one. Why? It brings much-needed nuance to your love life.

Say hello to half-masting.

Introducing Half-Masting

When we date people, we know that not everyone we meet guarantees a fun time. Some folks are walking red flags that we ignore for these reasons:

Emotional attachment

Sometimes, getting attached to someone makes it hard to see warnings. Even if the signs are tattooed onto their foreheads, some of us can’t be bothered to pay attention to them.

Fear of being alone and lonely

Some people stay with toxic partners because they fear they can’t find someone better. Others are scared of ending up alone and lonely.

Low self-esteem

People with low self-esteem believe they don’t deserve healthy and fulfilling relationships. With that, they tolerate toxic behaviors and dynamics just to keep their relationship going.


Even if they see and hear alarm bells going off, some folks would rather stay with bad partners because they don’t want to admit their problems. Others brush off red flags because they truly believe their partners will change.

As bad as these reasons are, allow me to give a counter-argument: what if you don’t dump them at the first flaw?

I know we all should stay away from toxic people at all costs. But here’s the thing: the benefit of the doubt exists. We simply can’t box life (and its curveballs) as “good” and “bad.” Don’t pull the plug immediately!

This is where half-masting comes in. You step back from your relationship and think about where things are going.

How to Half-Mast Someone

Let’s say you’re going out with someone, and they’ve said or done something that feels off to you. This is a perfect scenario for half-masting. Here are some pointers to help you pull it off:

Don’t go all-out on your effort

As you step back and think things over, don’t egg the other person on. Don’t push for dates and cut back on your energy to avoid messy conclusions.

This doesn’t mean totally cutting your partner off, though. Give them a head’s up if you need some time and space.

Dig deep

Ask yourself where your feelings are coming from. Half-masting is less about your partner and more about you.

Don’t actively hunt for dealbreakers

Looking out for red flags is a must. However, it’s another thing to actively look for them just so you can break things off.

If somebody’s a toxic person from the jump, then by all means, walk away! Half-masting doesn’t mean putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations. But if you believe things can still be resolved, hit the pause button and talk things over before coming to conclusions.