Do you ever find yourself having a particularly boring or irritating conversation with someone and wishing you could just evaporate into thin air to get away from it? The marvels of technology have brought us one step closer to being able to do so... just not in the way you might think. Fading out of contact with a romantic interest without telling them why or "ghosting", has been made a whole lot more convenient (and sometimes more necessary due to all the creeps on dating sites) thanks to our reliance on dating apps and online messaging services. And not to sound like a jerk, but it kind of makes sense why.
You've probably heard your parents or grandparents complain that our obsession with technology is making us more and more inept when it comes to face-to-face interactions, and ghosting is definitely a symptom of that. After all, why go through all the trouble of meeting up with someone to break things off when you could just send them a message saying that it's not working out... or just stop replying to their messages altogether? In fact, a poll by information designers David McCandless and Lee Byron shows that if you're dating someone under 30, there's a 53 percent chance that your relationship won't end in person, but through digital means such as Facebook or an instant messenger.
I'll be the first to admit that I have ghosted on people, though I try to make sure I'm only doing it as a last resort for guys who don't understand that "I've lost interest," means, "Please stop messaging me fifty times a day." I've also been ghosted on multiple times and wasn't informed enough to see the signs before it was too late. Thankfully, most of them were just flings rather than long-term relationships, but ghosting can happen at any stage of romance. Plenty of people believe that it's high time we all grow a backbone and become more direct with our romantic interests rather than just fading out of their lives, but if you're really, really feeling like whisking yourself out of someone's life without so much as a farewell, make sure you aren't doing it in any of these situations.
1. When You've Already Scheduled A Time To Meet
You know what's annoying? Scheduling a date with someone who decides the day before that they aren't interested in you after all. You know what makes me want to saw off someone's left arm with a rusty butter knife? Scheduling a date with someone who doesn't reply to my confirmation texts and calls, then doesn't show up at our originally planned place and time, then is never heard from again. Unlike sexy people, time isn't replaceable. If you aren't so keen on following through with plans, do the other person the courtesy of telling them first so they can fill up that time slot with something or someone else.
2. When You're In An Established Relationship With Them
When I was young(er) and dumb(er), I dated a guy for six months who I really thought was my Prince Charming, except he didn't really understand how the story of Cinderella actually went. You see, in the movie, the dress and the carriage disappear at midnight, but in real life, the guy disappeared. Poof! Just like ~*~magic~*~. Such an awkward mix-up, right? Your dating sins will probably be forgiven if you decide to suddenly stop replying to the one-date wonder that chewed her food too loudly during dinner, but if you're calling someone your "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" and then disappear on them, I genuinely hope you get turned into a frog that no one wants to kiss.
3. When You're Sure To See Each Other Again
If you start ignoring someone's texts when you're going to see each other at work the next day, you're not just a jerk — you're an idiot. Ghosting on someone that you'll never see again (say, that creepy dude on Tinder you were talking with during your study abroad trip) is easy enough, and the only real consequence you're likely to face is the guilt that comes with leaving someone hanging. Ghosting on someone you're pretty much guaranteed to see again on campus is just stupid, though. At the very least, it's going to lead to a very awkward conversation between the two of you at some point, and at the most, everyone in earshot is going to hear about what a massive asshole you are.
4. When They Have Done Nothing Wrong
Ghosting is such a horrible way to mess with someone's mind that it's actually the perfect way to end things with someone who has really, really done you wrong. Found irrefutable evidence that your boyfriend has been cheating on you with three other girls and your old math teacher? Discovered that the girl you've been chatting with on OkCupid has "future leader of the Westboro Baptist Church" listed as her dream job? Ghost away, because that ish is messed up, and those sorts of people don't deserve the courtesy of a proper farewell. However, if your reason for wanting to peace out is simply that you've lost interest, even a simple text message saying you don't want to carry on the relationship is better than leaving an innocent person staring at their phone for days on end.
5. When You Aren't Scared Of Them
If you are involved with someone who legitimately makes you fear for your safety, please make like Casper and G(host)TFO of that situation if you can. It is not worth it to put yourself at risk by actually meeting up with them or angering them with a breakup call if you believe they will react violently. That said, if you're dating someone you believe will react like a normal human being if you call things off, there's really no reason to make it harder by tormenting them with thoughts of "Why?" and "Is she lying dead in a ditch somewhere?" running through their heads.
6. When You Have Given Zero Indication That You're Unhappy With Them
If you know someone who simply doesn't know how to take a hint, I have some people blocked on Facebook that they'd probably get along with. When you try to let someone down gently and they are just not pickin' up what you're puttin' down, it's OK (and probably advised) to let them message themselves out until they finally realize that it's not worth trying to get a hold of you anymore. But when you've given zero indication that your feelings for someone have changed, it's extremely cruel to just suddenly disappear from their life. How do you know if you're doing this right? Well, if your last words to them were, "I really like you," it's probably best to include, "I really don't like you anymore," before giving them radio silence.
7. When You Are Less Than 125 Percent Sure You Want To End Things
Ghosting on someone might be rude, but ghosting on someone and then hitting them up later because you realized you actually do want to be involved with them is fifty shades of effed up. Depending on the person and intensity of your relationship with them, ghosting can do some serious emotional damage, so going back and changing your mind can mess with their head even more. If you decide to go no-contact with someone, make sure there is literally a zero percent chance that you will change your mind... and even if you do realize that you messed up, do the other person a favor and let them live out the rest of their life without having to hear from you again.
8. When You're Still Facebook Friends With Them
If you're going to ghost on that Tinder match who just sent way too many winky face emojis for your liking, make sure you get rid of him on all your social media accounts, too. Erasing them from your Facebook and Instagram sends a few messages. The first one is that neither your phone nor their phone is malfunctioning — you are deliberately trying to fade out of their life. The second message is that you're not trying to manipulate them by suggesting that you might be interested (or interested enough to still allow them to "like" your selfies), but not enough to reply to their messages. Even though a survey of 1,000 people by YourTango.com revealed that 59 percent of people remain Facebook friends with an ex after a breakup, it's still pretty frowned upon to do so when you never officially told the other person you don't want to see them anymore. If you're going to ghost on someone, make sure your social media interaction is the first thing to die.
9. When There Are Clearly Better Ways Of Breaking Things Off
There are select situations in which ghosting someone is the best way to end things with them, but there are far more times in which it's more appropriate to find a different way of cutting off communication with them. Ghosting should not be your go-to method of breaking up, but rather a last resort when all other options have either failed or could endanger you. It can be tough to directly let someone down, but they and your conscience will thank you if you do it the hard way rather than just fading out of their life.
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