Ghosting people over text; It’s taking the easy way out
When I was a kid, my mom, like most parents, told me to treat people how I would want to be treated; don’t be a bully, don’t poke fun, show respect.
This ideology, treating others how you would like to be treated, is a fairly common approach to being a decent human being.
So why is it that this ideology has not translated into the world of adult dating?
Picture this: you have a dinner date with someone that doesn’t go well. Maybe you don’t have the same interests or sense of humour. Maybe they were better looking in their pictures on their Tinder profile. Maybe they ordered seven beers, got wasted and knocked over a chair.
When the night is over, you smile, hug good-bye and say, “We should do this again sometime.” You have no intention to do so, but you say it because that’s the nice thing to do.
The next day, your shitty date texts you, “Hey, how are you?”
And you don’t respond.
Three days later, they text again: “Hey! I had a great time with you last weekend. We should do it again!”
Once again, you don’t respond.
Ghosting is a disappearing act. It’s a tactic used when you don’t have the courage to tell someone you just don’t like them. It happens frequently in the single world, without any notice or explanation.
In his book Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari explains that the two most frequent ways to show someone you’re not interested is to either ghost them, or pretend that you’re too busy to make plans.
On the other hand, Ansari’s subjects said that if someone wasn’t interested in them, they would like that person to be honest and straight-up. That would save the rejected person from the anxiety and uncertainty that coincides with being ghosted.
Picture another scenario: you have a dinner date with someone that goes very well. You both love the same music and you spend an hour talking about the same countries that you’ve both traveled to. You find them wildly attractive. You stay until the restaurant closes, talking and laughing.
The next day, you muster up the courage to send that person a text: “Hey you, how’s it going?”
They don’t respond.
A week later, you send another message: “Hey! If you’re around this weekend, I’d love to grab another drink!”
They don’t answer.
And you know sending any more texts would make you seem needy and too available.
All that’s left are hours of over-analyzing what you did wrong. You really thought they liked you. Maybe they lost their phone? Maybe they got back together with an ex? Or maybe they just really didn’t like you.
Ghosting is cowardly, but it’s just way too easy. Especially with the digitalization of dating, ghosting someone is the easy answer, because a new love interest is just a swipe away.
Here’s my rule of thumb: ghosting is fine when you haven’t met the person in real life.
Been talking to someone on Tinder for a couple weeks and the conversation just flat out sucks? Ghost away.
Been talking to someone on Tinder for a couple weeks, finally meet up for drinks and they aren’t what you expected? Give them the common courtesy of responding to their text. You can let someone down without being an asshole.
And, if being honest and letting someone down is too stressful for you, I’ll let you use my method. Pay close attention.
“Hey, you seem like a great person, but someone from my past has recently come back into my life and I’m really committed to making it work again. I’m so sorry.”
No one can argue with that.