You’ve made it past the first and second date feeling like everything was going well. You find yourself looking for third date ideas when it occurs to you that your newest romantic interest never responded to your text.
You text them again and continue making your plans, and your date still has not returned. So, you wait some time and then call them only to get voicemail.
If this goes on for hours, that turn into days, I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but you’ve just been ghosted.
I’ve heard the term “ghosting” a lot lately. It’s everywhere from conversations with my friends, on T.V. and I’ve even heard it on my favorite podcast "The Friend Zone." According to UrbanDictionary, ghosting means: “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication” in the context of dating.
The label may be new, but the concept is ancient. On the surface, ghosting seems innocent, maybe even funny to some, but if you dig deeper, it speaks volumes, especially if the person is a repeat offender.
I would only apply this term to people who have been on more than three dates, individuals who have spent lots of time together or people who introduced each other to important figures in their life such as family or close friends.
I would especially apply this term to people who have decided to date exclusively. These actions allude to the seriousness of the relationship.
To the person ghosting:
The first question you should be asking yourself is why does this work seem appropriate to you? Dig as deep as you can, but in case you need a little inspiration here are some ideas why this may seem appropriate to you.
I found that the most common concerns are:
Fear of commitment, if this is you, perhaps you should not put yourself in the position to be dating anyone seriously until you can get to the root of the matter.
If you find that you are not looking for anything long term or serious, then you should be able to communicate that to whoever you’re dating. Ultimately you should be comfortable with standing for that truth.
Fear of confrontation: Even with all the social networks (or maybe despite) people have a tough time saying what they want.
Perhaps it’s because no one likes to be judged or rejected. It could also be because social media adds pressure to the possibility of reliving the over and over.
While it is understandable to have some panic about hurting someone’s feelings, the reality is, the more honest you are with the person you were dating, the quicker they can work on moving past it.
It is ok to tell someone that you are no longer interested. Letting someone know that the time has run its course does not make you a bad person.
If you are concerned with your delivery just practice what and how you would say it. Keep it truthful but simple and to the point.
Saying something like “This has been fun, but I’m not feeling the connection anymore” or “I think you’re a nice person, but I believe we would be better as friends” (only say this if that’s what you want)
The common thread is honesty. Be honest about your intentions, your desires, and needs from the beginning of dating. This will save you from having to make an abrupt decision like ghosting.
To the person who has experienced/or is experiencing ghosting:
Being ghosted can leave you feeling like you did something wrong. Try not to take it personally. The fact that an adult could not communicate their desires to you is not your fault.
Take the act of “ceasing all communications” for what it is. Do not continue to reach out to this person to demand answers, or figure out why.
This may feel like a challenging thing to do, especially if you felt a connection but if anyone can stop talking to you or looking for you, then that means the connection may have been one side and would you want to be dating someone who doesn’t feel the same as you do.
There are some exceptions to the rule.
If you have already communicated your desires to end things and the other person does not respect your wishes, then Ghosting is understandable.
If your life is in danger, then Ghosting is acceptable.
Overall if you have decided to date someone seriously but somewhere along the line you start to feel that it’s not working out for you the least you can do is communicate that.
Image Credit: pixababy