So you meet someone. Maybe on tinder, at a club, or maybe you tripped and fell into their arms rom-com style on the way out of class.
However the chance meeting; you began speaking to them. You thought things were going great, the vibe was there, the gentle flirting at its peak, the 4 am deep, dark confessionals over the phone were at an all-time high.
Then suddenly, it stops.
Why are you now sending them a text and getting no reply? Calls that go straight to voicemail and even the dreaded “you can no longer see this account” error message are all too common in the world of ghosting.
You’re probably feeling pretty beat up, wondering if you did something wrong or hoping it’s all a misunderstanding. Before you can even begin to deal with it, you first need to understand what ghosting is.
Things to know
- Ghosting is the cutting off of communication between one person to another with no explanation given.
- Common reasons for ghosting include testing the waters and not liking the temperature, meeting someone new, and only being interested in sex.
- It's important to keep your head high, don't seek out a ghoster, and don't let their rejection define your self-worth.
Ghosting In All Its Horror
Be warned, this section is probably going to suck.
So what actually is ghosting?
Ghosting, by definition, is the cutting off of communication between one person to another with no explanation given. One minute things are fun and going well, the next thing you know they’ve quite literally disappeared off the face of the earth; like a ghost.
But WHY?! I hear you yell at me as you struggle to pinpoint where it all went wrong, cruising the texts trying to find some slither of evidence as to why they felt the need to hang you high and dry.
So let’s narrow down the possibilities.
They were testing the waters and didn’t like the temperature
It’s hard to believe, but sometimes dating fails just aren’t personal. Did your Ghoster just come out of a serious, lengthy relationship? Have they been single for a long time? Did they seem the type to run screaming from the possibility of facing commitment?
Some people like to dip their toes in the dating waters just for the sake of a paddle, with no intention of jumping all the way in. Some conversation and casual flirting are where the fun ends for some, and when they’ve had their fill of the fun or a confidence boost, they pack up and ditch the scene.
This is the all too common explanation for the very early stage ghosters; the first date ghosts or few and far between tinder convos ghost.
They met someone new
This is probably the most hurtful reason, but an all too common one.
It can really mess with your confidence when you feel like a second choice, or that you were played. Your gut reaction will be to think “well why wasn’t I good enough?”.
The truth is, you are good enough. The people we want don’t always want us back, it isn’t a reflection of our worth to not be chosen when there is always going to be someone out there that would pick you from a crowd. Hold out for them, don’t let a rejection bust your ego!
Sex. Sex. Sex.
This one is unfortunately simple.
In this case, your Ghoster only ever wanted sex, told you they wanted more, and when they got it they suddenly POOFED out of existence.
They wanted sex, you didn’t, so they have run off elsewhere to find it.
A tale sadly as old as time, but it doesn’t make it any less hurtful. If you’re thinking this sounds like your Ghoster you’re likely thinking “How could I have been so naive?” Or “I should have just done it to keep them around”
But ask yourself if it’s REALLY your fault that your Ghoster chose to hide their intentions. Informed consent is important, that’s not on you.
For the latter, would you truly feel good about abandoning your boundaries just to keep someone from leaving, doesn't feel like a great foundation for a relationship, does it?
Was it you?
Ghosting can be tricky.
Maybe you DO think you did everything right. Maybe from your perspective, you were the perfect gentleman, lady, or upstanding individual.
Think back on your interactions, and read through your chats. Did they show any discomfort with anything? Did you say something to them that could’ve been a little ‘out there’, immediately regret it, then forget all about it? Or more directly, were you acting like a creep?
If you look back and can deduce that maybe you were the defining factor here, then just take a step back, see things from their point of view, and take it as a lesson for the future in what not to do. Creepy usually equals ghosted.
They’re just not that into you
A tough pill to swallow, I know.
Sometimes everything goes right, two hotties in the right place at the right time, great conversation, and hilarious banter, but for one of you that feeling just isn’t quite enough.
With this example, I like to think of the How I Met Your Mother line
“almost the thing he wants, but not quite”
On the surface, two people could seem perfect for each other. But beneath having the same interests and humor, or just acknowledging you’re physically attracted to each other, actually going beyond that initial talking stage takes a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm that is impossible for everyone to feel over every single potential partner they meet.
You’re better off knowing now that it wasn’t a hit, truly!
How To Deal - The Do’s and Don’ts
Now that we’ve covered the more common reasons for ghosting, how do you get into the grit of dealing with it?
As a ghostee myself, I know the most important thing about the ordeal of being ghosted to remember is that behind all of these reasons is a person that just lacked the guts to be upfront and tell you the truth.
A text, a phone call, or even a ‘breakup’ lunch would all be mature and MUCH better ways of telling a person you’re no longer interested. So Ghosters, if you’re reading this, pull up your big boy pants and do the right thing!
It’s normal to feel empty and disheartened over having this happen to you. It’s the lack of closure or reason that makes it worse than just being told to your face. A lack of respect and dignity on part of the Ghoster.
So what now? Well here are the main Do’s and Don’ts to abide by as a ghostee.
Don’t spam call, text, or DM them. Believe me, it’s worth resisting the urge. Begging for communication just makes it harder on you to move on with your head held high.
- Don’t keep asking what’s going on. Maybe they haven’t disappeared, maybe you’re getting the Ghoster-lite treatment of a few short, cold replies. If this happens then take the hint, value your time and slip away. The name of the game is silence.
- Don’t let it get in your head. This is hard, I know. But it isn’t doing you any good letting ghosting mess with your poise. If renowned celebrities like the gorgeous Eva Longoria and awesome Idris Elba can get cheated on then don’t beat yourself up over getting ghosted, no one and I do mean NO ONE is immune is to heartbreak and rejection.
- Don’t try to make them jealous. The risk of it backfiring or becoming obvious just isn’t worth the regret you’ll definitely feel when you’ve healed from the situation.
Do keep yourself busy. Exactly the same as in a breakup, a fight, or any other upsetting situation. It’s a must to keep your mind off it by keeping yourself entertained and focused. You aren’t doing yourself any good by dwelling on a situation you can’t change!
- Do keep your options open. Ghosting most often occurs in the ‘talking stage’ or ‘get to know you’ stage of meeting someone. Don’t sit around waiting for the Ghoster to float back, there’s a world of people out there that aren’t going to disrespect you like that.
- Do focus on yourself. The best, proven remedy for a confused, angry heart. Transfer all those negative feelings into doing something positive for yourself. Better your own life, and put your time and focus into making things better for YOU instead of reeling for someone that couldn’t communicate. You’re better than that, I know you are!
- Do tell them the score. We’ve covered not spam texting them, but noticing you’ve been ghosted and want to get your thoughts across? Go for it! A short and blunt DM to let them know they could have communicated and should have handled it better could get a lot of that anger and sadness off your chest. Don't expect a reply, but at least you said your piece.
The fatal flaw in dating is that emotional maturity, communication, and feelings all differ from one person to another and will never always harmoniously align when you want them to.
Ghosting serves its unsavory purpose in the dating world as a way of cutting contact with a person while generally avoiding all of the emotional consequences and ‘trouble’ of doing so.
It’s the easy way out when they feel explaining themselves would be too much effort, or they simply just do not care about the feelings of the person they’re cutting off.
So here you are. You’ve found yourself ghosted, you’ve probably got a general idea of why, and you know what to do next.
You’ve still got to process your feelings, ghosting is rough. It’s essentially being isolated from someone you care about. But in difficult situations, true colors are always revealed, and that Ghoster just showed you they do not respect your time, your feelings, or you as a person.