As far as dating habits go, few things are more frowned up than ghosting. Whether it's ignoring someone after a few dates, or straight up disappearing mid-text, there's no denying it's rude, it's hurtful, and it's not the best way to end a relationship, however short it may have been. And yet,
there are times when ghosting is OK — and may even be necessary.
Usually, if you aren't feelin' the connection, it's best to "be honest and upfront so that the person being rejected isn’t left wondering what really happened," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at
Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. If you've been chatting for a few weeks, or have taken things a bit further, simply say you've had a change of heart and wish them well.
If, however, that doesn't feel possible, ghost away. "There are times
ghosting isn’t rude and some circumstances might even require ghosting for one’s safety," Bennett says. For example, "if you’ve already told the person messaging you that you’re not interested romantically, then you’re under no obligation to continue texting," he says. At that point, ghosting is about sticking to your personal boundaries, especially if they aren't taking the hint.
The same is true if the person is being inappropriate or
making you feel uncomfortable. It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons , and do whatever feels right. Here, a few folks who say ghosting can sometimes be OK, including instances where it might be best to disappear. 1 Lily, 26: When They Cross Important Boundaries
"Generally, ghosting isn’t great because it’s avoiding emotional experience and it can be really unkind to the person you’re ghosting. Kindness and dealing with feelings are top priority in my book, but ghosting is acceptable in some situations. If the person ever [...] makes you feel violated or unsafe in any way, ghosting is the best option to keep you physically and emotionally safe. Someone who crosses those important boundaries does not deserve any explanation, courtesy, or second glance."
2 Johnny, 28: When They're Lying To You
"Ghosting is an OK thing to do, and it might be even a good idea in particular situations. A great example that comes to mind is if you are having suspicions that the person you're talking to online is a catfisher and is using a fake profile on their dating app or social media profile. When you notice the signs of a catfisher, like they keep coming up with excuses on why they can't get on a video chat or [they try] to move the relationship too quickly, then it might be a good idea to ghost the person and move on."
3 Christiana, 28: When They Send Inappropriate Content
"Insulting commentary? Inappropriate photo? Any dialogue that makes me feel unsafe? It's 2019, don't be a jerk online. Consider me likely to ghost if you are."
4 Jennifer, 32: When You're Getting Bad Vibes
"Although ghosting isn’t the most emotionally considerate thing to do to someone, there is an exception. Anytime you feel physically or mentally unsafe with someone, you are under no obligation to give them an explanation for not wanting to see them again. Being polite is nice, but you should always put your health and safety first and foremost. So, if you’re getting scary vibes, ghost away."
5 Becky, 45: When They're Being A "Zombie"
"I think it's perfectly acceptable to ghost a ghost (or 'zombie'). In other words, if someone shows signs of being flaky and inconsistent in the early stages of dating (not following through on plans, vanishing for a week and then reappearing), this should be a clear sign to move on. If someone isn't making an effort early on, it's not going to improve over time. And if someone is too busy/conflicted/distracted/uncertain to reply to a text or keep a date, do you really want to potentially 'date' someone like this? (Answer:
no.)" 6 Korrie, 36: When The Date Was Ridiculous
"Ghosting is acceptable in certain situations, [like] if the date was ridiculous [...] Put it like this, if they do something that there's no coming back from and you're not that invested, meaning no commitment was made, it's OK to just never call or answer calls/texts again."
7 Corry, 27: When Words Aren't Necessary
"Although I am typically an anti-ghosting advocate [...] there are instances when words aren't necessary. Let's be honest, dating sucks and immediate turn offs, empty energy, and pure ignorance justify a read at 3:23 p.m., especially when we've dated/communicated briefly and on a surface level. In those instances, I should be able to have the autonomy to make a selfish choice (to end communication) without expectation or real worry on how it effects the person on the other end."
8 Dave, 44: When There's An Obvious Lack Of Interest
"Having been ghosted for years before it was a term, I have no problem with it. When someone doesn't respond to your calls, texts, or emails, it's pretty clear that they aren't interested in you. If they were interested, they'd respond."
9 George, 27: When It Just Makes Sense
"Ghosting is a totally fascinating concept, and although I think it will always leave a sour taste in the mouth of both parties, sometimes you just let the thought of sending that 'no thank you' message slide until it would actually become weird to not ghost that person."
10 Elizabeth, 55: When You View It As A Gift
"I believe ghosting is a gift that lets us know that we can move [...] on and find people more communicative if that's what we want. Because the ghoster doesn't enjoy communicating with words, we thank the ghoster for letting us know that by ghosting us."
11 Cyndi, 44: When They Don't Get The Hint
"I would absolutely say
yes, there are some cases where ghosting is acceptable. 1. If you have explained to them why it will not work out and they just don't get it... ghosted. 2. If you got a glimpse of who the person might be in the future and you don't like it... ghosted. [...] 3. If the first meeting didn't go so well for you, you owe the other person no explanation as to why you don't want to talk to them."
Of course, when possible, letting the other person know
you aren't interested is much kinder, and saves them from having to worry or wonder. But there may be a few instances where disappearing is the best option. If you find yourself in that position, go ahead and ghost.
Get Even More From Bustle — Sign Up For The Newsletter
From hair trends to relationship advice, our daily newsletter has everything you need to sound like a person who’s on TikTok, even if you aren’t.
Subscribe to our newsletter >