If you’ve dated for an extended period of time, especially online, you’re probably familiar with ghosting. Ghosting is when either you or the person you are talking to discontinues contact without providing explanation. This is usually a confusing experience but for some, this might actually feel relieving!
Today we are going to dive into ghosting: Why it happens, why you might want to ghost someone, and how to handle both situations. Because the truth is, there is a better way!
As a dating coach, I hear about ghosting all the time. In fact, ghosting is the number one topic that people ask me about. Whether it’s left you wondering “What the heck went wrong?!” or “I just don’t know how to tell them I’m not interested,” this topic comes up often in my dating coaching sessions.
So today, I’m going to demystify the act of ghosting for you, so you know what to do if you think you might be getting ghosted, and how to avoid ghosting others.
Why am I Being Ghosted??
So, you’ve been chatting with someone for a while, things seem to be going great, maybe you even meet up for a date or two then…nothing. No follow up text, no plans made, no response when you check in to see if everything is okay. Being in this position is hurtful and confusing and it’s hard not to feel like something went wrong.
Sounds familiar? If so, then you may have been ghosted in the past. You may be wondering, “Why did this happen to me??” And understandably so! It’s difficult to know what truly went wrong if you’re left with little to no feedback.
However, instead of allowing yourself to get bogged down in thoughts like, “Is this my fault? What could I have done differently? How am I ever going to find the one when I can’t even get a text back?” I encourage you to take a step back from the situation and see if you can find a way to feel grateful. After all, you’re no longer going down a path with someone who wasn’t compatible with you.
[Want to learn how to tell if you’re compatible with someone? Check out this article]
Just because you’ve experienced ghosting firsthand, it doesn’t mean you’re unloveable or that something is irreversibly wrong with you. It really has more to do with the other person.
Being ghosted is confusing, so I wanted to outline some tips to utilize if the person you’ve been talking to suddenly goes MIA:
4 Ways to Move On When You’ve Been Ghosted
#1 Wait to See if They Respond
How long should you wait before calling it? Typically around 5-7 days is a good time frame to see if someone will respond. Unless something urgent comes up, or they explicitly tell you they aren’t able to respond, if you haven’t heard from them in more than a week, it’s safe to say that they have discontinued contact.
#2 Try Not to Take it Personally
This is important. When you get ghosted, it’s normal to reflect on your conversations and dates to analyze every little thing trying to figure out what happened.
I want you to stop, take a breath, and let yourself be okay with not knowing. Whatever happened, it was on their end. In the end, you’ll be happier dating someone who likes you exactly the way you are and who can effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings!
#3 Send a Closing Message (optional)
Sometimes, when you get ghosted, that’s the final straw. If you feel like you need that closure, draft a message to provide that closure for yourself. You don’t even need to send it: just writing down your feelings can help provide that closure.
Being able to say something like, “I haven’t heard from you since our last date. It was really nice getting to know you and good luck in the future!” can be a relief and a symbol of closure. Remember to be kind and courteous, we’re all going through our own journey.
#4 Get Back Out There
Don’t let this experience discourage you from moving forward. This might even be a great talking point in future dates because — chances are — your future dates will have been ghosted too!
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Why Do People Ghost?
There are plenty of reasons that someone might ghost a new relationship. But the most common reason is that the ghoster doesn’t know how to communicate their needs or express that they just aren’t interested.
So, instead of having a tough and honest conversation with the other person, they just *POOF* disappear. Ghosters aren’t typically bad people, but they aren’t always great communicators either.
But sometimes, ghosters just aren’t sure how to handle the situation without completely disengaging. If this sounds like you, then read on to find out how you can provide healthy closure instead of confusion.
How to Avoid Ghosting Others
When you’re in a position to ghost someone, it’s easier to understand that sometimes, ghosting happens! Some of the more common reasons I hear are: I’m not interested, I don’t want to hurt their feelings, I’m too busy, etc.
Whatever your reasoning is, more often than not, ghosting feels worse than direct communication.
#1 Be Explicit About Your Expectations
Before going on a date, let the other person know what your expectations are. Talking about your expectations for the date and any future relationship BEFORE beginning a relationship can help you decide whether or not you even WANT to date this person. It’s easier to end a conversation about dating than it is to end a relationship several months later.
#2 If You’re Feeling it On the Date, Address It
If you’re on a date with someone and begin to feel uninterested, bring it up! Being able to be vulnerable and say, “I don’t feel like we are connecting the same way we used to. Do you feel that way too?” gives the other person the opportunity to voice their feelings and thoughts.
This is a good chance to see if your disinterest was situational or if you really aren’t feeling it. Because if you’re feeling it, chances are the other person is too.
If you’ve done some serious thinking about your relationship, and you don’t think it’s going to work out, send the other person a text or call them to let them know that you’re not interested in continuing to pursue this relationship at this time. Here are some examples of things you might say:
- “Hey! I had a lot of fun last night, thank you for inviting me. I didn’t feel a romantic connection and I am not interested in going on a future date. Good luck!”
- “After talking to you, I realized we don’t have the same desires for a future relationship. I think it’d be best for us to both continue seeing other people. Thanks again.”
- “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you recently, thank you for sharing about yourself. Because I respect you and your time, I wanted to let you know that I am not interested in pursuing a relationship.”
#4 Anticipate a Reaction
Being able to communicate and be vulnerable about how you’re feeling, leaves you open to hurt and rejection. I believe this is part of the reason so many people ghost: because you don’t have to see or hear the reaction that your silence has caused.
In most cases, people appreciate open communication and, while they might be disappointed, will ultimately be understanding. Other people might show their hurt differently. Try to remember during these times that you are making the best decision for you and that you are being respectful of the other person’s feelings.
Final Thoughts on How to Avoid Ghosting in a Relationship
Dating is a tricky world to navigate, and it’s become even more complex with the integration of dating apps and social media. Because technology gives us so many ways to hide and avoid people, it’s even more important that we show up fully.
Sometimes that means recognizing your own feelings of discomfort, sadness, or loneliness. I want to encourage you to continue to push through, listen to yourself (not your inner-critic), and not feel discouraged with your dating experiences.
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