So, you've been ghosted. Don't worry; you're in good company. While most of us disapprove of this dating habit, most have also been there — and survived it. But some deal with ghosting more gracefully than others. And given how common it is, that's a skill worth learning.
Seventy-eight percent of single Millennials have been ghosted by a date, according to a Plenty Of Fish survey. But we can't complain too much, because 61 percent of Millennials have done it, according to another survey by Yik Yak. In certain scenarios, like when someone is making you uncomfortable, it can be totally justified. Ninety-two percent of users of the social polling app Winq would rather be told straight-up that someone's not interested, but 34 percent think ghosting's sometimes OK.
No matter what you think of it, being ghosted is not a pleasant experience. Getting ghosted by someone you're newly dating can be an ego wound, and getting ghosted by a long-term partner is devastating.
Some of the strategies you can use to survive getting ghosted are just strategies to get over a breakup in general, like feeling your feelings and distracting yourself. But others are ghosting-specific. So, here are some ways to bounce back from ghosting and preserve your dignity.
1. At First, Give Them The Benefit Of The Doubt
Sure, it's unlikely that the person ghosting you has just had a family emergency or gotten stick in an elevator. But it can happen! So if it's only been a few hours, wait it out and see if they have an excuse, LoveSuccessfully.com relationship expert Samantha Burns tells Bustle. If you really want, check their social media pages and Google their name to make sure they haven't been injured, arrested, or kidnapped. Just to cover all your bases.
2. See If They're OK
If they have not in fact been in a freak accident and you're expecting to see them or hear from them about plans, you can check once to make sure they're actually ghosting you. A simple "I hope everything is OK...?" will do, says Burns. "You don't want to sound desperate or angry — just concerned."
If you don't have immediate plans but you've gotten to know each other well enough that you feel like you deserve a response, try, "Haven't heard from you, are you still interested in getting together again?" Call them if you've been on five dates or more or are exclusive. If you've only been on one or two dates and don't have any plans, you may want to skip this step.
3. Leave A Respectful Parting Message If You Must
If you've been dating for a while and want to stand up for yourself, you can leave one voicemail or text along the lines of "I'm hurt that I haven't heard from you and would have appreciated you being honest that you no longer want to date me. Ghosting is not OK. Good luck out there!" says Burns.
If you can move on without it, just move on, but since you don't really owe them anything at this point, you can do what you've got to do.
4. Stop Talking To Them — For Good
If they don't respond to your last-effort "you OK?" text or call, take the hint. And if they respond but without an apology, as if it was OK for them to drop off the face of the earth, that's also a hint — that they're not a great partner.
5. Turn Your Attention To Dating Prospects Who Are Communicating
Being ghosted can really make you appreciate people who are straightforward and honest. Since the person who ghosted you didn't make you a priority, don't prioritize them either. Get back on your dating app and follow up with people you've already been talking to, or even message new ones, matchmaker and dating expert Stef Safran, owner of Stef and the City, tells Bustle.
6. Discuss It With Your Future Dates
Different people have different attitudes toward ghosting, so if you want to avoid this situation in the future, you can talk about it with your other dates, says Safran. Ask them if they've ever gotten ghosted, share your own experiences, and find out whether each of you would ghost. That way, if they ever ghost you in the future, you won't be left wondering if they're stranded on an island.
The guidelines for dealing with ghosting will depend on the relationship and situation. But in general, the less attention you can give the ghoster, the better. Once you've done everything necessary to put them in the past, ghost them back.