A few months ago, I was wracked with a horrible feeling: was I a bad person? On a couple of occasions, if I found myself disinterested in a dating situation, I would just kind of… stop talking to the person. It’s not to say I would ignore them, but I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to continue the communication.
So, I did what any young millenial would do (if they were like me and morbidly curious about other people’s lives and also trying to write a blog about what it’s like to date in 2017): I surveyed my Facebook friends about ghosting. Who had ghosted? Who had been ghosted? What did they think about the phenomenon?
I got a lot of cool answers, which I will hopefully dedicate time to in another post, but out of the 25 or so people who responded, it was a pretty even split between ghosters and ghostees, with most people who responded acknowledging that they had done both. It didn’t seem to me that ghosting was seen as too much of a big deal to most people, however, it seems that almost everyone has a ghosting story. I’ve narrowed it down to three main forms of ghostage, and they are as follows:
Type 1: The Fade Away
Perhaps the gentlest of ghosts, although arguably the most confusing, the fadeaway is brought about by slowly diminishing replies to messages and offers to hang out. Phone calls are out. The “fadee” will receive the occasional reply to text messages, usually after 24 hours, and often with short, non-committal answers. Eventually, the answers will stop, however, the fadee has already been trained to not expect anything, and so, is no longer disappointed.
*Garfunkel and Oates are goddesses and definitely say it best, so I would check their song, about The Fade Away, which says it best.
Type 2: Breadcrumbing
One time, I was talking to a friend of mine about how things were going with a guy I was seeing. I explained things were good, he’d send a sweet message checking in every once in a while, but wouldn’t engage much, or pursue any plans to hang out. “He’s probably just busy” we agreed. A few minutes later, we were discussing how I had to explain what breadcrumbing was to another friend of ours. Realization and horror washed over both of our faces at the same time. I WAS BEING BREADCRUMBED. Ouch.
Cosmo argues that breadcrumbing is worse than ghosting. I disagree. However, there does seem to be a degree of premeditation with regard to breadcrumbing that there may not be with ghosting (one can often chalk a ghosting up to absentmindedness, or a busy schedule). The real kicker behind breadcrumbing is the MO- which is that they want to keep that person around in case they get bored/want to get laid at a future date. So you’re good enough to keep around, but just as a back up. That must feel good, right?
Type 3: The Full-Out Ghost
This one needs little explanation, because the ghoster offers no explanation. Poof. They gone. Outta there. They don’t call, don’t write, don’t explain themselves.
One thing that does deserve a bit of explanation is why people choose to ghost. In some cases, they are dumbos who are afraid of any kind of difficult conversation and can’t face potentially disappointing someone, even if it isn’t in person. OR. The ghoster may be reacting to something traumatic or upsetting that happened on a date or during a conversation. While I would argue it’s better practice to explain to someone what they did wrong, in case they had assumed it was a-okay or at least passably okay, and give them a chance to improve their behaviour on future occasions, sometimes things are just too intense/upsetting/scary/etc. for people to face. And so they ghost. So, before you get pissed that someone had the nerve to ghost you, perhaps consider how your behaviour may have led to the ghosting. They may have been a scaredy-cat jerk, or they may have been genuinely fearful of you.
- I would argue that it does not count as ghosting if you have never met the person before, and they just, like, stop responding to you on Tinder. You are boring, or they are busy, no one owes anyone anything. I would say at least one date would have to have been planned or taken place in order for it to count as a ghost.
- Don’t take it personally! Look over things and your behaviour, run the sitch over with your best friend or a customer at the coffee shop you work at (just kidding- maybe?) and if you’ve determined nothing fishy has transpired on your end- MOVE ON. It sucks, but it’s probably not about you. This person has some issues with communication and can’t get on your level, so find someone who can!
- Everyone does it. If you’re a ghoster, cut yourself a little slack. I wouldn’t make it a habit, but I definitely wouldn’t beat yourself up about it too much. Chances are the person you’re ghosting has also ghosted someone else.
- Communication is cool. Try it sometime.