I Don’t Believe In “Ghosting”
I’ve started and re-started this post so many times and every time, I work myself into a frothy rage so I’m gonna keep this short and sweet (that’s right, UNDER 700 WORDS) and just say this: I don’t believe in “ghosting.”
Ghosting is a “new thing.” I am all for keeping with the times — I’m not one of those dinosaur elderly Millennials in their bitter mid-thirties who can’t keep up with the times. I’m hip! I was doing online and app dating before it was mainstream and back when it was still fairly shameful! So I’m not one of those old crones who sneers at the youth culture and asks why we can’t just meet people in bars anymore because that’s not me. That’s not why I don’t believe in ghosting.
When most people think about what “ghosting” is, I’d say about 89-93% of the time, people consider “ghosting” to be meeting someone — through friends or on a dating app — and going on one date with them, after which you never hear from them again. I vehemently deny that this is ghosting. This is called “meeting someone for a date and going your separate ways.” I believe it is INCREDIBLY bratty to demand that everyone who doesn’t feel sparks with you should, nay, MUST contact you to explicitly explain why they don’t see a future with you. Does a stranger really owe you the benefit of the doubt? And what do you want to get from that? What could you possibly gain from getting a paragraph of text from your casual stranger letting you down gently?
“Thanks for getting drinks with me the other night but I just didn’t think we clicked. Have a good life and good luck out there!”
What does that get you. What’re ya gonna say back? “Thanks – ya JERK!” Or – “NO! You don’t know me! You should give me a second chance!” Like. WHAT! I’m sorry. That’s not a thing. Nobody owes you a softballed breakup after spending two hours drinking overpriced cocktails and sharing a basket of overpriced truffle fries. That’s not real life. That’s not ghosting. Buh bye.
A tiny, tiny, tiny percent of the time, someone tries to play the Devil’s Advocate with a “ghost story” sooooo extreme as to PROVE that “ghosting” not only EXISTS, but that it is BAD and therefore EVERYBODY WHO GHOSTS IS EVIL. It’s usually something like this:
“I was dating someone for six months and I thought everything was going amazing. We talked about marriage and kids. I practically lived in their house for 2 and a half months. Then once day I texted them on lunch hour, and they didn’t respond. I texted after work, still no response. Three days later I drove by their house and it was all boarded up. I talked to the neighbor and they said nobody’d lived there for years, and the last person who did died in a tragic accident!”
Ok that last sentence was for exaggeration. But for anyone who claims to be “ghosted” after dating someone seriously for several months, visiting each others’ apartments, friending each other on Facebook, and doing the uncomfortable “meeting all their friends” shit, I say this: THAT IS NOT GHOSTING. THAT IS ABANDONMENT. YOU HAVE BEEN WRONGED. I’m not saying your grievance has no merit, I’m just de-trivializing it by stripping it of its cutesy nickname. You haven’t been ghosted, honey, you dated a CON ARTIST. Your former lover has obviously skipped town and violated parole and is on the lam. There is no other reason for doing that kind of thing. And if that’s not ghosting, then guess what: ghosting doesn’t exist.
I’ve only got 90 words left so I’ll just say this: dating is brutal. As much as we wish everyone’s worlds will revolve around US and our squishy little feelings, sometimes we have to give other people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, people are genuinely jerks. More likely is that humans hate confrontation and conflict, and rather than turn you down explicitly, they “ghost” to spare your feelings. Maybe the problem isn’t “ghosting,” it’s managing our expectations in the date-o-sphere and cutting people some slack. Five words left so: BOO!