It’s safe to say dating in 2020 isn’t your mother’s dating scene.
The meet-cute has died. People utilize online dating apps like Tinder to find their One and Only (an often fruitless effort). Singles line up at bars, all the while staring at their phones for entertainment or companionship.
Oh yeah—and then there’s ghosting. What the heck does ghosting someone mean?
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you were hitting it off with someone—or so you thought—and then suddenly you heard nothing but silence on their end, you may have been ghosted. Unless, of course, they needed emergency surgery or their cat died or they had to suddenly move cross-country for work (aka, lies).
Let’s dive deeper into this admittedly frustrating topic and see what ghosting is, why people do it, and how you can move on like the happy, bad-ass adult that you are.
What Is Ghosting?
Imagine the scene.
You met somebody great, whether online, in person, through a mutual friend, or through family members. You find yourself really attracted to them and enjoying their company. The best part is that they feel the same—their presence is super silly, at ease, happy, courteous, you name it!
You’ve gone on a handful of dates, and maybe you’ve even been intimate or met their friends. Before you know it, you’re starting to picture a semi-future with this person, thinking about trips you’ll go on, presents to buy them for their birthday, what the name of your dog will be.
And then, on your next date night, you stop hearing from them. You text or call them a few times and get silence in return. Since it’s the first time this has happened, your mind procures excuses for them, and you’re ready to forgive and forget.
The next day, you text them again: What happened last nite?
Again, nothing. What gives?
This goes on long enough that you’re finally starting to realize that it’s over. They’re not responding, and you’re not getting an explanation. Then next weekend, while you’re out with your friends, you see them out, too—with someone else.
So, they’re alive. They’re well. In fact, they’re thriving!
You’ve been ghosted, my friend. This person was too scared to give you an explanation. They’re too immature to be upfront, honest, and transparent with you. You’re understandably livid (and also kind of hurt!).
Was it something you did? Something you said? Unfortunately, this is a case of it’s not you, it’s them, and that’s the best you’re going to get. Now, it’s time to move on.
Why Do People Ghost?
There’s not much to it except this: someone didn’t teach your ghost their manners. Or, they did, but your ghost had a momentary lapse in judgment (and respect), and they let their fear overcome their ability to do right by someone else.
Simply put, ghosting is the easiest way out of a situation. You don’t have to offer an explanation, you don’t have to confront someone, and you don’t have to reject someone, either. Instead, you simply stop texting back or calling that person (and maybe even block them to reduce guilt!).
Why do people ghost? Because they don’t want to have a tough conversation. It’s simpler to ignore that person and move on sans confrontation.
Unfortunately, that leaves the person at the receiving end confused and without closure—which makes moving on harder. That person is left wondering if they imagined the good times, if they did something to deserve radio silence, or if it’s safe to move on at all (maybe they’ll text back!?).
If you’re the one on the receiving end of this misbehavior, trust us—you’re better off forgetting your ghost and moving on just like them.
Ghosting Someone vs. Getting Ghosted: What Are the Numbers?
Who ghosts more: males or females? Are both sexes guilty of this new-age, annoying trend? Who’s responsible for this act of betrayal?
Unfortunately, it seems many of us are guilty of ghosting. The worst part is, doing so is kind of desensitizing. If you ghost someone (or get ghosted yourself), you or your ghostee may be more likely to do so to the next person.
Let’s look at a survey by Elle magazine of 120 women and 65 men. Here are the numbers the study got concerning male and female ghosting habits.
Concerning female ghosting habits, we learn:
- 26.67% of women have been ghosted at least once
- 24.17% of women have done the ghosting
- 23.33% of women have not experienced ghosting in any capacity, whether as the culprit or the receiver
- 25.83% of women have both ghosted and been ghosted
The numbers are pretty spread out there, but what we see is that less than a quarter of women have managed to avoid this scenario. Three-quarters have experienced ghosting in some capacity in their dating lives.
Concerning male ghosting habits, we learn:
- 13.64% of men have been ghosted at least once
- 16.67% of men have done the ghosting
- 36.36% of men have not experienced ghosting in any capacity
- 33.33% of men have both ghosted and been ghosted
So, about a third of all men have both ghosted and been on the receiving end of ghosting.
What do these numbers tell us? We’re all able to do both—many of us have experienced it, despite how not-fun it is. No one likes it, and yet we keep doing it!
What’s the alternative? There’s got to be a better solution, right?
What’s the Alternative to Ghosting?
The most confusing part about ghosting is that many times, everything started fine. You each liked each other and enjoyed each other’s presence enough to hang out a few times, and maybe even more than that.
So, keeping that in mind, why would you (or they) hurt that person’s feelings by ignoring them?
The alternative, the solution to ghosting, is simple: be courteous.
Rather than falling off the map, you or that person can send a text message, an email, make a phone call—whatever the preferred method of communication is. Just be frank and real with that person like an adult. An excellent example could be something like:
- Hey there, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner. I’ve realized that although I think you’re a great person, I don’t see a romantic future between us. I hope this finds you well. Take care.
That’s it! It’s that simple! The alternative to going completely silent is to use the beautiful English language to portray feelings in a way that conveys someone’s side.
And of course, the way things are worded is totally up to the person doing the “ending.” A goodbye text can be something like:
- Hi! I hope you’re doing well. I just wanted to be honest with you—I don’t think we should continue seeing each other anymore. Thanks for understanding!
If you’re the one sending these texts, be short, simple, and transparent. You don’t need to offer a ton of explanation (in fact, it’s probably overkill and unnecessary). Just imagine yourself on the receiving end and what you’d like to hear, then try to honor that by doing so yourself.
So, what happens if you’re on the receiving end of one of these text messages?
What to Do If You’ve Been Ghosted
Of course, if you’ve managed to get a courteous and straightforward text from that person, respond in kindness. Thank them for their honesty and be understanding. This act encourages good behavior, and who knows—maybe one day ghosting will go ghost.
But if you’ve been ghosted, the best thing you can do is, well, move on. Sounds simple, right?
We know that moving on, especially from someone you liked, is difficult and challenging. That’s why there are a few guidelines to keep in mind while navigating the post-ghosting space:
- Delete them from your contact list, so you’re not tempted to text or call
- Stop following them on social media, and even better, stop them from seeing yours
- Hang out with friends and family (and try not to dwell on the loser who ghosted you)
- Realize you deserve someone better than that, someone with respect
- Focus on yourself, your hobbies, and your self-care routine
- Begin dating again . . . when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely (yes, there’s a difference)
- Don’t talk about them. In fact, pretend they don’t exist
- If someone asks you about said ghoster, be honest: “They ghosted me.” Allow that reputation to play out any way it will
And if they regret their decision to ghost and try to come back into your life?
Don’t let that happen. You deserve better.
Don’t Go Ghost
Ghosting is no fun.
If you’re dating someone and you realize you don’t see it going anywhere, don’t ghost. Use the above templates (or your own) to be courteous, kind, and transparent. Doing so can promote honesty, adult behavior, and maybe the elimination of this annoying trend.
For more great insight like this, keep scrolling our page. We cover all dating and relationship topics and even offer personalized coaching.