If you haven’t heard of ghosting yet, you’ve at least been the ghost-er or the ghost-ee at some, or many, point in your life.
“Ghosting” is just the cute way of saying, “That annoying thing people do when they want to avoid directly ending a relationship.”
This is the point where I’d tell you something along the lines of “How to tell you’re being ghosted”, but we all know (even if we don’t admit it) when we’re getting the slow fade. It can be executed in many techniques, but are generally a variation of:
Replying less frequently with less enthusiasm.
Saying you’re “busy” and will call/text later.
Complete radio silence. (Admittedly, my preferred method.)
Slow fading isn’t fun or satisfying, so why do we do it? Better yet, why do we do it even though we know it’s just plain rude?
Becoming The Ghost-er
Ghosting is really, really tempting.
It seems to absolve you of all the responsibility and confrontation that “breaking up” involves – note the quotes.
The slow fade happens a lot to relationships that are relatively new and undefined (not to say it doesn’t happen in long-term relationships). A couple of drinks and a few dinners sprinkled with a Netflix night or two does not a relationship make. The reluctance to verbally “end” a budding courtship that’s not quite a relationship often leads to the slow fade.
Actually acknowledging, “I don’t think this is working out,” or something along those lines can sometimes feel too official for something so casual, no?
It’s especially effective – at least in your mind it is – when you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. Let them down easy. Just answer back hours/days later and definitely with only monosyllabic words. Temper your lack of interest in small, manageable doses. That’ll make them feel better.
By disappearing, you’ve seemingly taken away the chance for anger or disappointment. Because you’ve essentially cut off communication, there’s no room for anyone to blame you or label you the bad guy.
Sarcasm aside, ghosting someone isn’t really avoiding any of these problems.
You’re still causing disappointment. You’re still being painted as the bad guy. You’re communicating that you don’t respect the other person enough to be upfront with them.
Silence speaks for itself.
Unwillingly Being The Ghost-ee
There’s not much to say besides it sucks.
Whether it was a casual summer fling or exchanged messages post date, getting the silent treatment isn’t painless.
The pain could be a tiny shrug of indifference. “Oh well, guess he/she wasn’t into it.”
The pain could be a growing burden of annoyance and lack of closure. “Did I do something wrong?”
Or anything in between.
Being the ghost-ee is being in between a rock and a hard place. You want to be like, “Hello? I know you’re alive because you just posted on Instagram,” but you’re thinking, “I don’t want to seem desperate, so if you don’t want to message me back, fine.”
Modern technology has put ghost-ees in a place where they’ve lost power to hold the other person (ghost?) accountable. You could send them a text, but you’ll probably get no response. You know they’ve seen it because it’s 2015, and we don’t even go into the ocean without our phones let alone not check it for 10+ hours.
As in-person interactions become valued as more “intimate” because most communication is done through texts and, ironically, Snapchat, it’s become easier to avoid confrontation and accountability, which breeds confusion.
The truth is, ghost-ees usually become ghost-ers and visa vera.
When Ghosting Is Ok
I hate to say that ghosting is appropriate in any situation, but there are some instances when silence could be a better answer.
If you’ve only had a quick back and forth via Hinge – I’m talking basic “Hi :)” messages – then losing interest usually translates to no more chatting. No hard feelings, bud. We’ve known each other for as long as a right swipe and an emoji.
Deciding Not To Ghost
The first time I grew a pair and called my then end-of-summer fling to tell him I wasn’t into it anymore, I did it for completely selfish reasons.
I was tired of fielding endless texts and wasting time making up excuses. When he picked up my call, I told him that it was the end of summer, we’re both going off to college, and we had a good run while it lasted.
And after a pause, he said, “Props for telling me straight up. I had fun, too.”
Since then, I’ve definitely lost a bit of my bravado. There’s been one too many “Wait! Help me think of an excuse to say to this guy!” at the weekend brunch table lately.
Instead of slow fading and ruining that bridge with bad vibes, why not just give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re a chill person (you obviously thought so if you were interested in them in the first place) and that they won’t take your “break up” in a bad way.
By first giving someone the respect of letting them know where you stand, you’re setting yourself up for mutual respect in the future.
The only person who is 100% in the clear for ghosting is, obviously, the Snapchat Ghost.