It may be the spooky season but ghosting is a year round phenomenon. If you’ve been online dating for a while, you’ve probably ghosted someone or been ghosted yourself. For those who don’t know, ghosting is when someone suddenly cuts all contact with you, minus an explanation. You could be mid conversation with a match, thinking it’s going well when ‘POOF!’ they turn into Casper the not-so-friendly ghost, never to be heard from again.

People who ghost just want a quick out and forget there’s a real person on the other side of the screen who can be hurt by it. It might seem like the easy option if you don’t want to keep speaking with someone but why is ghosting so bad for everyone?:

  • It leaves the person on the receiving end wondering if it was something they did
  • It’s avoidant behaviour for the person ghosting; we should be learning how to have these uncomfortable conversations
  • It unnecessarily causes additional anxiety, stress and negativity for everyone on dating apps

If you’ve moved the conversation off the dating app or you’ve met someone in person, you owe them an explanation if you no longer want to engage with them. To ghost someone at that point is cowardly and disrespectful. It IS ok to ghost/block someone if they harass you in some way, make you feel unsafe or disrespect your boundaries. Your priority should always be to protect yourself.

Here are some things you can say instead of ghosting someone:

  • It’s been fun chatting but unfortunately I’m not feeling a spark with you
  • After getting to know you a little I think we want different things from dating and aren’t a good match
  • I’ve realised I’m not in a place where I can’t date right now because I’m too busy/not emotionally available/need to focus on my mental health

Be honest, concise and kind. Round out the conversation by wishing them luck with their dating efforts. Unless you genuinely want to stay in contact with the person, don’t make empty promises of friendship or string them along by saying you might change your mind in future. 

The online dating landscape is desolate at the best of times. It would be a kindness to everyone if we all stop ghosting each other and just have the honest conversation with our matches if we no longer want to date them.

7 thoughts on “Ghosting

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