So, where was I? oh yes. The den of inequity that is internet dating. Should we even call it that now? For a start, it’s not like it’s possible to make an awful lot of meaningful connections on there.
Obviously this is a series of posts, but today I’m focusing on the second part of ‘Ghost’, mainly so I can move onto other things (so many things to talk about).
In the last week I’ve had someone ask me what Ghosting is. It turns out it’s a real thing, by that I mean the Oxford English Dictionary actually defines what it is:
The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.‘I thought ghosting was a horrible dating habit reserved for casual flings’‘a victim of ghosting herself, Dani also admitted that she will ghost guys she’s been dating’
It kind of goes one step further, it normally results in being blocked from whatever method you were using to communicate (WhatsApp or iMessage) and removing the connection from whatever dating site you’ve found the delightful chap on.
Legitimate reasons (there actually are some)
There are, some legitimate reasons why you would ghost someone, or cut them out your life. However, these are less what would be defined as ghosting, and more a question of personal safety. Not engaging with someone and blocking them for any of the following reasons is not similar to ghosting.
- Stalker / Intimidation – if someone is sending you creepy messages, and making you feel unsafe, blocking them is the most legitimate use of ghosting. It’s a question of personal safety.
- Trolls – similar to 1. We all know, don’t feed the trolls.
- Nuisance calls – hardly ghosting, more like blocking.
So, what’s the difference between that and ghosting? well…
I would define ghosting as you’re having a conversation with someone, you’ve been engaged in a bi-directional dialogue for a while. Then their messages go cold. Then they dry up. So you’re sending messages and (if you’re like me), start to feel like you’re a little bit crazy.
I mean, if someone doesn’t want to talk to you anymore, or is done with your friendship / relationship ignoring them until they go away is hurtful and damaging. Not to mention possibly one of the most immature things you can do.
Talking to people, telling them you’re not into them anymore (whether that’s platonic or otherwise) is fucking hard. I get it. But, ignoring someone until they go away leaves the following questions in their mind:
- What did I do / say? this could be a legitimate one, and you’d think the easiest way to save a relationship. Asking the other person if you’ve said or done something that might have upset or offended them will allow you to make amends (note – you need a certain degree of emotional intelligence to ask and respond to this).
- Do they have someone else (friend / mate / job) that means they’re no longer interested? in my case, I’m mature enough to accept and let go. I’m not very competitive*, so I prefer not to play games and let someone walk from my life than try to prove I’m a better choice than someone else – it rarely works out well.
- Are they freaking out? plausibly something is causing them to freak out about the relationship between you. There is very little you can do about this, unless the other party is prepared to admit that there is an issue and that it can be worked through. Less salvageable at the start of something, more complicated the longer the relationship has been going on.
- They’re just not into you?
- Is something going on that is not great for them? Do they need space and support?
*OK, OK, I’m a really sore loser so I choose not to compete to save me throwing a tantrum when I lose
What we have here is a failure to communicate
All of the above can be difficult to communicate and resolve from either party, and ironically, the only way you can resolve anything IS to communicate there’s a problem.
In not communicating there is a problem, the person doing the ghosting is saying that it’s acceptable to treat other people with such lack of respect they will continue to do so. For the person on the receiving end of it, it’s just plain hurtful (and a lot of other different emotions).
Have I ghosted someone? yes. I’ll admit it. It didn’t make me feel particularly good about it though. It really ate away at me.