Photo by Trinity Kubassek via Unsplash
I’ve become an authority on ghosting. In the last three months, I’ve been ghosted four times by men I've met online dating. How maddening it feels is directly correlated to how involved I’ve let myself become with my ghoster.
At the essence of why we’re so bothered by ghosting is that it takes very little effort to not ghost someone, especially with the ease of communication with online dating apps. People still choose to do it. It’s not difficult to communicate with someone but it requires acknowledgment that what you say to someone could be hurtful. But, guess what? Ignoring their entire existence is more hurtful.
Thankfully, I’ve also had a number of men communicate to me why we would not be moving forward in a way that lends closure and finality. I was always grateful for that. I might have been a bit disappointed but it passes much more quickly.
As someone who has been ghosted enough times to make A Christmas Carol seem like an average Thursday night, I’m going to tell you everything someone could have said to me instead of turning into vapor. These are designed to bring finality so if your intention is to get out as quickly as possible, you can do that.
You’re not into them.
We’ll start with the big one. This reeks of rejection but a “no thank you” text is humane. If you get done with a date and didn’t feel it, just tell them. Nicely. I went out with a guy who was interesting enough for me to consider a second date. Apparently, I was the only one that felt that way.
I texted him to say thank you for the date. He sent back a very nice text and told me he wasn’t feeling it:
“Thanks for meeting me last night. I’m sorry to say that I just didn’t feel the spark I was hoping for. I wish you the best of luck.”
After this, you’re done. You have ended it. People will justify ghosting with fear of continued conversation or verbal attacks that follow rejection. If you fear this or it starts to happen, block the number. You’ve done your part.
You’re too busy.
This legitimately happens. However, no one is too busy to take 20 seconds out of their day to communicate that. That’s cowardice. You can shut down the conversation and get back to what’s important.
“I have a number of things that have come up in my life that need attention. I can’t put the time and energy into this that would be fair to you. I wish you the best of luck.”
Notice a familiar ending? It’s closure. It’s a “fly and be free” statement. Of course, if you are interested in seeing someone after the storm you're in passes, you can say that. Just don’t lead them on.
You’ve met someone else.
This one sucks. It’s happened to me. Being told you were cut from the team is horrible. It’s easy for someone to feel like they weren’t good enough. It’s better than seeing you with someone else three days later.
Everyone has to know that people are playing the field unless there is a discussion of closing that relationship and going exclusive. Until that happens, you meeting someone else should not shock anyone.
“As a big part of dating is meeting different people, I’ve enjoyed meeting you but have met someone I feel I’m more compatible with. You are a great person. I’m sorry and wish you the best.”
There’s nothing wrong with saying something nice. It’s kind but not necessary. That’s up to you. You’ve communicated that they’re a great person, just not your person. Again, you do not owe them any explanation of why you feel the way you do.
You’ve been freaked out.
People can get weird. Everyone puts their best face forward and it may not be until the third date that you realize someone is possessive or drinks too much. Whatever it is that throws up a red flag, trust yourself enough to honor it.
Expressing that you’ve lost interest can be done honestly and tactfully.
“I appreciate your time but, after a few dates, I don’t think we’re going to be as compatible as I thought we were. Thanks again and I wish you the best of luck.”
You don’t have to get into the fact that their propensity to baby talk you is annoying as hell or that the fact that their house is a pigsty and makes your teeth itch.
There will always be reasons for ceasing all communication without notice but they are few and far between. If there is a threat of safety, let someone know about it and don’t communicate back. Just walk away and block the number. Taking care of your physical and mental well being is your priority.
Beyond that, be a decent person. Part of being mature enough to date is understanding that you may need to say some things you don’t want to. If you don’t have the maturity to communicate, you may want to rethink dating until you have that confidence. No one would fault you for that but people are not playthings. Treat them with consideration.