You haven't unlocked the modern dating experience until you've been ghosted. Added to Merriam-Webster in 2017, ghosting isn't a new phenomenon, but it's easier to do than ever. Everyone has their ghosting story - some more tragic than others - but few people look back and feel vindicated by how they reacted. Ghosting isn't going away anytime soon, so it's time we all learned how to respond to ghosting the right way.
How to Respond When Someone Ghosts You
Knowing how to deal with ghosting isn't easy. There are many different dating ghosts out there; from the soft ghoster who starts responding less and less to the 'witness-protection-type' who seemingly flee the app and internet completely overnight. Naturally, we're all just out here trying our best with the tools we've got, but it's time for an upgrade.
We're going ghost hunting.
Take a Gentle Approach by Reminding Them You're There
If it's been a while since you made contact with your interested potential-ghost, give them a quick reminder that you're still around. You should only use this for people who are just starting to ghost you, and not someone who's left you on read for a month.
Life can get busy and people can make the wrong choices when it comes to prioritizing their time. Don't throw in the towel just yet. Instead, send them a non-accusatory text to see if they respond with an answer as to where they've been or with an offer to make plans in the immediate future.
It can go something like this:
You: Hey, haven't heard from you in a few days. Hope everything's alright!
Or like this:
You: I'm sure you've been busy, but I'd love to see you this week if you've got some free time.
For a Serial Ghoster, Hold Them Accountable
Turning the other cheek might work as lifelong philosophy, but when it comes to serial ghosters, the first cheek is all they get. If someone's not interested in talking to you or dating anymore, you deserve to have some closure. It's just disrespectful for someone to take the coward's way out and not let you know that the spark's not there anymore.
Of course, we all want to give people second chances. But if they've burned you multiple times, it's time to hold them responsible. Need help crafting the perfect message? We've got a few options for you.
Option 1: "I know that we hadn't put any labels on our relationship, but it's disrespectful to disappear again. This has happened one too many times, and I don't deserve to be treated like that."
Option 2: "It's been a few weeks since we've had any serious conversations or seen each other, and I'm getting the hint that you're not really interested. I'm not interested in an apology nor am I am compelled to continue whatever this was, but the least you could do is explain why you disappeared."
To Keep Your Peace, Don't Take the Bait
Sometimes, people who have ghosting tendencies do it in an attention-seeking way. They know full well that they're deliberately leaving you on read, but they want you to keep showing interest and grow more desperate for their attention. But these kinds of people aren't worth your time. Manipulation isn't cute and you shouldn't tolerate it.
Instead, don't respond to them at all. They don't need an explanation, and they're only going to continue stringing you along if you take the bait. Accept that they're never going to be committed in the same way you are and start looking elsewhere.
Let Cooler Heads Prevail
The minute you realize someone's ghosted you, it can be so tempting to blow up their phone with notifications asking where they are and for an explanation. In the moment, step away from the dating apps. Let cooler heads prevail and don't send any attacking, threatening, or aggressive messages. They'll only encourage someone to attack you back, which isn't emotionally healthy for anyone.
Finally, Tell Them the Door's Closed
One of the biggest reasons people have repeat offenders is because they can't help themselves when a past ghoster pops back up into their life. It's tempting to see if they've changed or to try your hand at getting some closure by talking to them again. But if they reeled you in once, there's no reason they won't be able to do it again. It can be hard to get over ghosting, but deciding not to give them emotional access to you anymore and moving on can be empowering.
So, a final text to send your ghoster's way is that they should lose your number. Ghosted once, shame on them, ghosted twice… shouldn't happen.
Make sure they pick up the hints you're dropping with these responses:
Option 1: "It's really disappointing that you couldn't give me the respect I deserve by telling me you didn't want this to go any further. Either way, I heard your message loud and clear. I'm deleting your number and you should get rid of mine."
Option 2: "I hope you treat the people you talk to in the future better than you've treated me. Make sure to get rid of my number; you won't need it anymore."
Option 3: "Just wanted to do you the courtesy (something you've yet to give to me) of sending you one final text that I'm deleting your number."
Everyone Gets Ghosted - Better to Prepare Now
If you're dating online in any way, shape, or form, you're going to get ghosted at some point. People who've only talked to you a few times will disappear into the void and others who you've actually gone on dates with will just stop responding. Them ghosting you isn't a reflection of you as a person, but them as an adult. Don't fall prey to their selfish and disrespectful behaviors; instead, respond to a ghoster deliberately. Show them you're not duped and that they won't be getting a second chance.