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To ghost or not to ghost? A question that has (unfortunately) become a part of everyday single life. According to a recent survey conducted by Plenty Of Fish, nearly 80 percent of millennials have experienced being “ghosted.” Ghosting isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is clearly on the rise. It’s an epidemic, people! And it’s about time we knew how to handle it.

Ghosting, defined: A modern dating dilemma in which someone pulls a digital disappearance act instead of manning up and having a difficult “I’m just not that into you” conversation. It’s happened to the best of us – someone can ghost you after your first date, first weekend away, or first year into a relationship (they are the real nasty stories, though). From first hand experience, we all know being ghosted is mental torture. After the initial denial in assuming they haven’t responded to your text and Facebook message because they are busy / in a meeting / have friends in town / dead, the panic settles in when you realize they are in fact ignoring your every attempt at communication for a reason. You then hit that downward spiral of questioning why – from what you ordered at dinner to whether he really did hear you burp. And then it hits you: you are being ghosted.

It turns out, you have likely been the ghost yourself before. It is a typical human reaction to avoid conflict – especially with someone you don’t actually have to own up to in the long run. At the end of the day, if you are being ghosted it is not about the person choosing to ignore you or make you feel shitty – at it’s core, ghosting is about that person avoiding confrontation or conflict, and therefore avoiding hurting your feelings. This certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t completely cowardly and immature, but it can at least help you understand it.

In the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, Alex’s character makes it pretty clear to Gigi (and all of us): “Trust me when I say if a guy is treating you like he doesn’t give a shit, he genuinely doesn’t give a shit. No exceptions.” Brutal, but true. It is the same with ghosting. If he isn’t returning your calls, if he isn’t texting you back, if he is ignoring your every attempt at communication – he’s just not that into you, and you deserve better. Today, we blame it on dating apps, with the ridiculous assumption that ‘hookup culture’ has killed romance. If you met on an app it doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be treated with respect and decency. Do not blame yourself and get haunted by OKCupid’s past. Rip the bandaid, and move on!

Here is what to do when you get ghosted:

Refrain from the crazy

Firstly, be 100% sure you have been ghosted. If you haven’t heard from him for a few hours and you are feeling a little antsy – please don’t make the immediate assumption you have been ghosted and release your wrath / call your girlfriends crying. He genuinely may be very busy at work or has dropped his phone in the toilet. If you haven’t heard from him for a few days… you have permission to freak out.

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Call them out

It is certainly not nice to be ghosted, no matter how long you have been dating for. It may be awkward turtle and you may cringe the whole time you type – but sometimes it helps to call him out on his behavior. Whether he responds or not, you will feel better sticking up for yourself, no matter how uncool you may look.

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Cut all contact

How to get over a breakup when you’re not exactly sure you were ever dating to begin with? (Preach, all ladies, everywhere). Cut all communication. Don’t obsess, don’t make yourself upset – delete everything associated with them so you can move on promptly and stop torturing yourself.

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Get back on that bandwagon!

Have a laugh. It’s kinda funny how cowardly supposed gentlemen can deal with this sort of thing. Appreciate that anyone who is going to treat you like this isn’t the one you want in your life to begin with. You know you deserve way better – good riddance! Get back on that dating bandwagon.

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