You meet someone, most likely on a dating app, you go out and have a great time, talk a bit after, and then as soon as you ask them to hang out again, they seem to have suddenly disappeared into a deep abyss, never to be seen again.
We’ve all had it happen to us. And worse, a lot of people have done it completely unintentionally.
So, how do I survive being ghosted, and why do I not ghost myself? I’m glad you asked. Since quarantine has kind of put a damper on my dating life and I’m currently working with a small pool of stories I haven’t already told (don’t worry, I’m working on getting more soon), I figured that this would be a good time to address the one aspect of modern dating that is probably the absolute worst.
I honestly would love to know who was the first person to ghost someone and make all of this a thing, because I’d like to have a serious talking-to with them. Let’s all establish right now that ghosting someone, whether you’ve been on a first date or not, is rude, inconsiderate, and unnecessary.
I have been ghosted – and trust me, it’s happened a lot – and at every stage of a relationship (including the infamous ghosting by The Cheater at literally the most cruel moment a girl could ever be ghosted) so I know that it sucks and sometimes it hurts, a lot, at first.
But then I just tell myself that clearly this person was just way too intimidated by my beauty and general amazingness and that’s why he disappeared.
Just kidding, that’s not what I do.
First of all, I give myself one day to have a mini pity party. Even if you haven’t been out yet, or you’ve only been out once, it is still definitely a blow to your ego and confidence to have someone that you really thought you were vibing with just disappear. Also, just throwing it out there, that most of the time when I give myself a day to just be sad about it and focus on making myself feel better – wine, bubble baths, face masks, the works – they usually end up texting me the next day.
But for those who don’t, I move on to stage two. I do like to give people second chances – clearly this is a pattern of mine, and it’s up for debate whether or not this is a good quality – but after my pity party day, when most of my negative emotions have already been drained, I reach out to them one more time. Here’s the key, though, you have to reach out CALMLY. Listen, I have gone from my slow simmering level 2 of craziness to a straight up 10 in about 30 seconds flat before, I get it, it’s hard not to, but again, this is why I give myself a day to just feel the feels so that when I try one more time, I’m not going full on psycho. Also, sometimes people do have genuine reasons to disappear for a bit – family emergencies, work, etc.
First of all, if the person is extremely rude, makes you uncomfortable, or this is not the first time you’ve tried to break things off, then I give you permission to go full on ghost mode. However, if none of those things are true, then I recommend using my line.
Usually, I’d say something like, “Hey [name], I really don’t want to assume anything, but I haven’t heard from you in [insert general time frame, we don’t need the seconds]. I hope everything is okay with you, but also, if you’ve just lost interest I would appreciate it if you could just be upfront with me about it.”
I do tailor this to the person a bit if needed, and let me just say this – while I have not had the misfortune of being ghosted by someone just after sleeping with them for the first time, if that happens to you – DO NOT TEXT THEM. At all. I don’t care if he/she was the hottest person ever, best sex ever, or had amazing Ninja Turtles bed sheets. Sorry, but anyone who does that is scum and doesn’t deserve even one more ounce of your attention or energy. No excuses. In that case, call your best friend to come over, eat lots of comfort food, and watch some good movies until you feel better.
Overall, the point is not to be rude. You know the phrase, “You kill more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”? This applies to being ghosted, too. I get it – you want to be a bit sassy/petty/bitchy, and of course I have felt the same way on occasion. But they are not worth it. Not at all. And people who ghost like that probably want a reaction and when you give them any level of sass they’re just going to be like, “Wow, glad I ghosted that one.” Think of Juan Pablo after Clare told his ass off on the finale of “The Bachelor.” While that was amazing, this is not the time to do that. Just be the bigger person and let it go. Say something, and don’t be a doormat, but be nice enough that they feel a little guilty about what they’ve done.
This is something I used a lot at Disney, actually. When guests were yelling at me about how I ruined their vacation, I would just give them my best Bambi-eyes and then smile and put on my super over the top customer service voice and it was hilarious how quickly they would start being nice to me. People don’t like being mean to nice people.
The next step is to remember the most important of all of this – it is nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. You didn’t do anything wrong, and even if you did, adults should be able to talk about that sort of stuff, not just storm off and disappear. It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy, or unlovable, or that you aren’t good enough. In fact, it means the opposite. Why would you want to be with someone who ghosts people? Personally, good communication skills are a major turn-on and I can’t imagine a relationship with someone who’s unable to talk about and work through issues, so someone who ghosts really isn’t worth my time. Lacking the courage and decency to tell you that they lost interest is a them problem, not a you problem. I promise.
So, after you remind yourself of all of these things while you wait for the text back from them that in all honesty, will probably never come, it’s time for the last couple of steps. First, get your girl or guy friends together and hang out – I don’t care if you just watch Netflix or if you go out to a club (remember when we could do that?), or if you just Facetime your best friend while drinking a glass of wine, the important thing is to not spend too much time alone with yourself and be in your own head. Let your friends build you up and tell you how great you are (you are pretty great) and just have fun with them.
And finally, get back to dating. Don’t ever let someone who’s too immature to use their words get to you or keep you from finding someone who does deserve you. They’re out there, I promise.
I feel like it’s pretty easy to sum up why I don’t ghost people unless I have a safety concern or I’ve tried to tell them to back off and they haven’t so I was left with no choice – I’m just not a crappy person.
But, it’s more than that. Admittedly, some of it is a bit selfish in that I hope that by making sure I do not ghost people, I won’t get ghosted or have my heart broken anymore. So far that has not proven to be a good tactic, but I still try to be a good person because it’s the right thing to do!
Really, most of it comes down to the fact that I know how it feels to be ghosted. It’s aggravating, frustrating, upsetting, disappointing, all of the above. It’s hard to not feel like it’s a personal attack or wonder what’s wrong with you. I know how it feels to be on that side of it, I would really never want to make someone else feel that way if I can avoid it.
I have talked about my “go to” line before, but I’ll say it again. Whenever I realize that the person I’ve been talking to isn’t the one for me – which I usually try not to do until after at least one date – I say, “Hey! I had so much fun [insert date activity or “talking to”] with you. You seem like a great guy/girl, but I wanted to be upfront and let you know that I just didn’t feel the spark that I’m looking for. Best of luck!”
You can add more if you feel like it, but I believe that less is more and for the most part, I’ve had good success with saying just these short three sentences. Most guys have appreciated the honesty and responded pretty well. It’s just a good, concise way to send the message that you had a good time (even if you didn’t, again, just be nice) but you didn’t feel it – but still wish them luck in their future dating endeavors, because if nothing else, you can at least offer them that.
Moral of the story, be nice. Do unto others as you wish to have done to you. And whether it’s spooky season or not, don’t ghost.
For an upcoming post, I’d love to do a Question & Answer piece! So, ask me your questions in the comments – no topic is off limits!