What To Say Instead Of Ghosting Someone

Ghosting, disappearing on someone without a trace (or goodbye text or email or phone call) seems to be the default way to end things with someone you're seeing casually or went on a date with. If you're on the receiving end, you're often left wondering what you did wrong… or did they just take a last-minute trip across the world to a small island where there’s no cell service?! Yep, that’s gotta be it! I used to be tempted to ghost and not tell someone I just wasn’t into them (it’s easy, right?!), but my therapist would say, “Being honest with someone and giving them a direct response will help you grow as a person — and neither of you will be kept guessing.” True. “And be affirmative,” she’d say. “Not, ‘I don’t think I can see you again,’ but ‘I can’t see you again.’”

Personally, I think the best way to not ghost on someone is when it happens to you… and then you’re like, “I’m never going to do that to someone.” (Hopefully, you don’t.) In a way, your reason for not wanting to see them again doesn't matter as much as the fact that you don’t want to see them again. That’s that. Though I get why we should tell people something .

An old Grey’s Anatomy episode, from one of the first seasons, had a wonderful theme about how giving someone hope is the worst. I agree. (Yes, I got dating advice from a TV show and have used it all these years! So, thank you, Shonda Rhimes!) “Hope” is somewhat synonymous to ghosting, since by not ending things with someone via a version of “Thanks, but no thanks,” you’re keeping their hopes up. Not cool.

I asked Bustle readers — and some therapists and relationship experts — for their input on the topic. If someone’s tempted to ghost, but decides not to, what do they say instead? Here’s what I found out, so you can try letting someone down with the below instead of pulling the disappearing act; after all, Halloween is over, so let’s get rid of ghosting!

1. Brett, 35

2. Shaun, 54

3. Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, 40

4. Carmel, The Big Fling , 32

5. Ben, 27

6. Dr. Fran Walfish, Couples Relationship Psychologist and Author, 50-65

7. Stef, Owner of Stef and the City , 40

8. Treva, Author of The Late Blooming Bride , 52

9. Xander, 31

10. Erica, 39

11. Joan Barnard, Zoosk’s Resident Relationship Expert, Late 20s

12. Marcy, 28

13. Katie, 33

14. Martyne, 64

15. Brian, 36

16. Mitch, Co-Founder of the dating app InviteUp, 30

17. Sarah, 33

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