Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about ghosting. Ghosting, in case you’re late to the party, is when someone you’ve been dating just ceases all communication with you and pretty much drops off the face of the planet. One day you can think everything is going well and you’re about ready to finally introduce the person you’re seeing to your parents, then suddenly they’re gone. There’s no goodbye, no explanation, or even the weak, “It’s not you, it’s me,” line; they’ve just vanished and in most cases there’s nothing you can do about it.
According to relationship expert Rachel Sussman, author of The Breakup Bible, technology is actually helping to make ghosting more common. You might think that having access to easily a dozen ways to contact someone would make ghosting harder to do, but it really isn’t. As Sussman explains, the fact that so many people meet people online, as opposed to through friends or family like the old days, when someone wants to split without saying a word they can, because there’s no one to hold them accountable for it. Without someone in common to point out just how cowardly it is to ghost, the ghoster (yes, we’re making that word now) can just disappear, leaving the person they ghosted wondering what the eff the did. Honestly, unless someone killed your cat or lit your house on fire, no one deserves to be ghosted. But having been ghosted, I might be a bit biased.
Since manners and etiquette are dying at an epic rate in our society, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll probably be ghosted at least once in your life, you might as well prepare now. Here are seven ways to respond when you’re ghosted.
1. Make Sure You’ve Legitimately Been Ghosted
Although some ghosting cases are clear as day, as in your “What do you want to do tonight?” text goes unanswered for weeks, others can be a little cloudy. Like maybe it goes from texting a few times a day to every other day, or long messages go to short one-word answers ― neither of which are fun and can lead you to freak out. But if you're dealing with that particular scenario, don't immediately assume you're being ghosted; it could just be that they person you're seeing is having a family emergency and they don't want to get into it at the moment. Basically, before you call it ghosting, you want to make sure that that’s what it is and not something that else. No one wants to be accused of ghosting, when they're not a ghoster.
2. Call Them Out On It
In the one time I was ghosted, I called him out on it. After a couple weeks of trying to get in touch with him and being completely and totally ignored, I called him out on it ― via text, email, Twitter, and Facebook messenger. I wanted him to know that I knew what he was doing, and that it was cowardly, sh*tty, and wrong. Of course I didn’t get a response, but at least I was putting it out there and felt better by letting him know that I knew what he was up to.
3. Cease All Attempts At Contact
This is the hardest one to do, because I know you want to drown them in hate texts, angry emails, and even sit on their front stoop declaring to everyone who walks by, “A ghoster lives here! An evil, jerk face ghoster lives here,” but don’t do it. As much as it may be difficult, you want to take the high road as much as you can. You don’t want to ever give them a reason to think that them ghosting you was a good idea.
4. Delete Everything Related To Them
Since technology is essentially to blame for this behavior, then technology is the first place you should go to rid yourself of them. Block their number, set their email address to spam, unfriend or block them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and remove them from your contacts on whatever other apps you’re connected on ― all of it. You’re not just doing this so as to prevent yourself from reaching out and having the last word (which you will over and over again), but should they decide they want to be an adult and break-up properly or, even worse, have you in their life again, you don’t want to give them that opportunity. If someone ghosts you, they’re gone for good. You don’t give second chances to people like that.
5. Do Not Blame Yourself
Unless, as I mentioned above, you killed their cat or lit their house on fire, then you can’t fault yourself for their behavior. Don’t even waste your time trying to figure out what you did wrong, what you could have done differently, or anything that puts the blame on you. It’s not your fault that they’re immature, weak, and don’t have the ovaries to say to your face, like a damn adult, that they’d like to end things.
6. Be Grateful They’re Gone
You need to be sooo effing happy that they’re gone. You need to drink champagne, cheers your awesome life, and your even more awesome future with them. Someone who ghosts is someone you do not want in your life. If they can’t even breakup with someone properly, what else can't they do properly? You dodged a bullet when they ghosted you, so celebrate like crazy.
7. Have Yourself A Giggle
I cannot stress enough how important it is to laugh at all this, once the shock, anger, and hurt have subsided, of course. Anyone who thinks ghosting is the best way to deal, or rather not deal with ending a relationship is a total asshole who deserves to be laughed at, mocked, and ridiculed. So go ahead and have yourself a giggle, a laugh, or a delightfully wicked cackle. If this were a competition, you would have won, and winners always get the last laugh.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy(7)