Ghosting (according to Urban Dictionary): The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.
Being disappeared on typically feels like shit no matter whether you’ve gone on one date or five. And while recently I’ve been lucky enough to steer clear of any ghost-like situations, I haven’t been able to completely avoid them in the past.
One time, a guy who I had gone on three dates with and was texting all day every day for three weeks disappeared after he cancelled a date because he was sick. And by “sick” I mean as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw him partaking in some outdoor activities looking all…un-sick. In his defense, maybe it was his body double. Or maybe he just decided I was repulsive.
It wasn’t that traumatic of an experience, but it was just enough to upset me for a couple days. A year later, that dude actually wound up apologizing for his “immature actions” (Probably only because he saw all the press my book was getting) and that experience was really nothing compared to some of these horror stories I’ve heard. One of my friends actually got ghosted by her boyfriend she had been seeing for a YEAR. A full twelve months. If it weren’t for social media, it would probably be much easier to assume he fell down one of those sewer grates that we all avoid like the plague in New York. But no, he was still Instagramming up a storm.
The line is definitely blurry on when it’s okay to ghost or not. How long have you known that person? Have you even met in real life yet? How many times have you hung out? Do you have four kids with them? (TIP: It’s always wrong to ghost if you have four kids with them.)
Personally, at any point past a first date where I’ve decided I have no interest in seeing someone further and they want to go out again, I’ll let them know we aren’t on the same page. I know not everyone agrees with this, but it eliminates confusion quickly and is what I’d want done to me. (P.S. There’s no use in telling someone you’re not interested before they even ask you out again…you’ll just look and sound like a big self-centered dummy).
Another detail to consider is what kind of state each person’s dating life is in. A first date will most definitely mean more to someone who hasn’t gone on one in three months versus a person who went on three that week. Maybe the person who went on three that week isn’t putting as much pressure on the date and therefore, ghosting the other was just a subconscious thing that happened. Whereas, the other person actually winds up a little bummed.
There’s also a strong reason why women specifically ghost. There’s a whole category of dudes out there who cannot mentally handle the slightest diss to their ego. The second you let them know that you’re not interested, their mind goes through an ego explosion. They can’t comprehend why you don’t want to suck their dick and make them sandwiches twenty-four hours a day, therefore they throw as many insults as possible at you. A conversation could go something like this:
Girl: I had a great time with you, but I don’t think we’re really a match.
Guy: You fucking disgusting slut you don’t even know how what you’re missing out on
Guy: You will never find someone as good as me
Guy: I didn’t even like you
Guy: You have STDs don’t you
Guy: You’re fat
(4 hours later)
Guy: Don’t ever text me again
Another example of the fragile male ego phenomenon is not so vulgar, rude, or obnoxious but it is still part of the same phenomenon:
Guy: Hey. How’s your week going? Wanna grab drinks this Thursday?
Girl: To be honest, I think you’re a cool person, but I didn’t feel any chemistry between us.
Guy: Yeah, you’re right. I felt the same way.
UM OKAY. THAT’S WHY YOU JUST ASKED ME OUT AGAIN BRO.
Anyway, I think you get the point. There are a lot of different circumstances behind why people ghost, and I think that it will always be specific to your situation. With it being easier and easier to hide behind your phone and the human brain’s natural distaste for confrontation, it’s going to continue to happen no matter what.
Perhaps though, maybe if we start being more aware of other’s feelings, not consciously deciding to be assholes, and grow a little bit of courage every once in awhile, ghosting will happen just a little bit less in the future.