Look, I won’t lie to you. It’s 2020. We out here, in our homes self-isolating and swiping. And, sometimes you match and sometimes it sucks.
We’ve all ghosted someone at one point or another. Don’t try to deny it king, I’ve done it, too. When a guy once asked me if I wanted to go on a second date, I didn’t know what else to say and just, left the message on read. Some say to this day, he’s still waiting (I am SO SORRY).
Maybe it’s because you were overwhelmed with uni and too tired to continue dating, or maybe you just started to lose interest and realised they weren’t the guy, gal or non-binary pal for you. The point is we’ve aaalll been there. We’ve ghosted, we’ve been ghosted and we’ll only continue to ghost and be ghosted in the near future. Facts are facts.
But, not all ghosting is created equal. There are levels to this shit. Let’s break it down.
Why do we do it?
Generally, our desire to ghost someone stems from a fear of confrontation. Ending things with someone can be a supes uncomfy thing to do. We’ve all experienced it. It sucks being on either end.
Ghosting is a skill we’ve learned because we don’t want to hurt another person’s feelings. We want to tell someone to move on without actually having a conversation (which, ngl, it can be kinda scary so fair and valid). But, ultimately it ends up doing more harm than good.
America, I am confusion. Why does this one say read at 4pm 22nd March and this one say sent 8am March 16th? Explain.
When’s the right time to ghost someone?
So, knowing that, when even is the right time to ghost someone? Well, however it be, it should be early on. Like, three dates or a few weeks early.
If you’ve met their friends and have mutuals, if you’ve had “the talk,” don’t do it or if you’ve done anything coupley or opened up to each other emotionally and been as vulnerable as Rue is to Jules, it’s a general true and fast rule to not ghost.
At the end of the day, people that do ghost someone can’t go back and patch things up. No one likes a random apology message from a boy they had a huge thing for who ghosted them a few months ago and broke their heart just to follow up and ask if they can be cool or that uni was hectic and they’ve been busy af.
What to do if you’re on the receiving end?
I won’t lie to you, being ghosted SUCKS. If you really like the other person, you’re likely to spiral, second guess yourself and replay everything in your head and to your friends, and struggle to not go through their insta and cry. Trust us, we’ve been there.
But remember, if you do experience being ghosted that it’s not on you nor is it your fault. Ghosting is a response associated with avoidant behaviours, it’s not a personally charged thing against you.
And, if someone ghosted you, don’t think you don’t deserve better. They just weren’t right for you.
With that in mind, if you are going to ghost, here’s a rundown of the absolute do’s and don’t’s of ghosting.
The hard ghost approach
This is the quintessential classic ghosting method. It’s the straight up approach, where the other person just disappears, mutes their Insta convo, unmatches you on Tinder or turns off their read receipts and avoids ever addressing the problem.
This is more generally done if you don’t have each other on multiple social media, and especially, if you don’t have any mutual friends. I cannot stress this point enough. If you have mutuals and try to hard ghost someone, it comes back to bite you. There’s a chance people in this situation will cross paths or their mutual friend might get pulled along.
This is more used when you don’t want anything to do with the person anymore and realise after a date or two you aren’t a match.
The Soft Ghosting method: *Thumbs Up* Emoji
The soft ghosting method is where someone sends short non-committal replies, “haha” reactions and likes to the other person’s messages and stops initiating conversation. It’s more commonly done when you want to still stay in touch but don’t want to imply you’re still interested without actually saying it.
As Deberett’s puts it, one word replies imply you’re “too busy or not interested,” just as sending a follow up message within a few hours puts the recipient in a defensive position.
The softer ghosting approach may seem like the kinder method compared to the straight up block but tbh, it hurts more. Seeing who you thought was your boo open your snaps and send random photos of plates of food while overseas in response (or sometimes not even a reply at all), or sending short “yeps” and “sures” to open questions is kinda brutal.
When you want to maintain a friendship but don’t know how to do it and want to ease them down, you might find yourself doing this. But, if anything, it’s not very appreciative of the other person receiving it and isn’t the best start to a new friendship.
Side note: why not try to send them a Carrier Pigeon
If you’re really feeling brutal and too anxious to shoot a text saying, “well, it’s over,” then perhaps try a fun alternative. Send a carrier pigeon, call a friend, tell a mutual, send them a meme (don’t do this, lol) or shout it out the roof. Get creative!
Just, try not to be one of those peeps who’d send a letter in Animal Crossing. That’s straight up cruel
Be Direct And Respect Their Feelings Dawg
For those that genuinely care about the other person and want to be mature about things, no matter how short their time with them has been, they try to be as direct and honest as possible. Rejection sucks but it’s better than silence.
Being direct is not only the kindest and more grown up thing to do when you lose interest in someone, but it also is the clearest path to turning what you had into a friendship.
If you have mutuals with this cutie, have class with them or are likely to bump into them somewhere, we strongly recc you do this. Even a simple call or “hey, I’m sorry but I don’t think I like you that way but would still be open to being friends,” goes a loooong way when compared to just haha reacting.
And look, we’ve all done it. When someone I didn’t see romantically asked if we could go on another date, I didn’t know what to say and just said “sure maybe, I’ll see what my schedule is like in a few weeks.” But, when I tried to arrange a fifth date with a guy I liked last year and he acted flaky and distant, it sucked. We all deserve better.