Ghosting. I think we’ve all done it for one reason or another, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not big and it’s not clever. It’s bloody ridiculous.
Ghosting is the new fangled term for an old trend of avoidance in the dating world and it really is a shame that this has to happen but alas, here we are. Think of a time when you’ve been dating someone you find incredibly attractive in all ways, only to have them disappear after a few dates. Pretty disheartening huh? I mean, 9 times out of 10, you’ll be left wondering whether it was actually real – whether you dreamed the whole charade – but you didn’t, and that’s the cruel reality of ghosting.
How do people justify such cold behaviour? It’s simple. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been seeing each other on the reg because you haven’t say down and had “the talk” yet, therefore you aren’t official, so you’re pretty much in relationship limbo – a state of commitment confusion that’s ignored because, well, it’s the honeymoon period and you’re having far too much fun to focus on the particulars.
This is the catch. You aren’t officially boyfriend and girlfriend so if one (or the other for that matter) decides that they just aren’t that into you, rather than “breaking up” or having the balls to say it, they simply cut you out of their life. They disappear. When the texts, the meet ups, the reciprocal romance and the phone calls suddenly diminish into thin air, chances are you’ve been ghosted. All forms of communication and commitment cease. Gone into nothingness. Poof.
Ghosting can, and will remain to be, pretty devastating. Each time you meet up with someone in which you have a significant romantic interest, you make a great effort to build on the bond between the both of you that you feel is becoming stronger. When that bond becomes broken, feelings get hurt and the guard you’ve worked so hard to drop slowly starts to work it’s way up again. Of course, the natural instinct is to assume that if you get ghosted once, chances are you’ll get ghosted again, and again, and again, so why on EARTH should we trust people, emotionally invest or take anyone’s word for golden?
That’s the cruel irony of the dating world I suppose. Ghosting as an act in itself generates a substantial amount of confusion, no matter how casual your liaisons are. Just because you’ve only been on a few dates with someone definitely doesn’t mean that you should disappear if you’re not interested. Sometimes, telling the truth is no picnic but if he asks you out again, you should respond – whether it be a yes or a no – if anything, it’s just the polite thing to do I suppose, and we British put good manners on a pedestal right? At first, yes, it may seem slightly cold or harsh to reject someone so directly but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. By laying your cards on the table, you’re providing closure by giving that person the opportunity to move on to someone else instead of leaving them wondering what happened to you.
If you choose to be a ghoster, rather than ghosted, for the love of God, stop. Enough of this madness, enough of veering around problems and confrontations instead of owning up to your own feelings. Believe it or not, there really is nothing wrong with going out with someone a few times then just not feeling it anymore. Ghosting should not become an acceptable element of dating etiquette so as a nation, we need to grow some balls and be honest with others.
Generally speaking, the warning signs of a ‘ghoster’ are fairly recognisable – they’ll vanish from dating apps, they’ll start a trend of ignoring your texts, they’ll always be busy if you want to make plans, they keep communication short and simple, they may even cut dates short. The amalgamation of any of these acts tends to suggest that the person you’re dating just isn’t into you, so don’t be afraid to bring it up or even call it a day from there yourself. Remember, you’re a bloody gem and you deserve to be treated like one, but more importantly, with respect.
The sad truth is that it’s become a ‘thing’ now and it’s always going to happen, so if it does, don’t take it too personally. Just be thankful that someone who cared so little about your feelings made an effort to cut themselves out of your life. Never mind dodging a bullet, you’ve swerved a bloody minefield. Oh and don’t do this to others. It makes you feel crappy and deep down, you’re not a bad person so don’t give people the wrong impression. Be honest and courteous about your feelings and trust, you’ll feel a whole lot better for it. So there you have it, what ghosting is all about, why it happens, and how to avoid them.
Unless it’s Patrick Swayze with his arms around you at a potter’s wheel. In that case, do not avoid. Embrace.