Want to Become a Reformed Ghoster? Here’s How
How to Stop from Ghosting Someone After a Date
Ghosting is a modern dating phenomenon that's almost become a grim rite of passage.
According to a 2016 survey, nearly 80 percent of millennial singles have experienced the slow-building sense of rejection that creeps up as you gradually realize the person you’ve been seeing isn’t going to message you again. . No, they haven’t just been busy, and no, they haven’t had their phone stolen. At this point in proceedings, embarrassment and disappointment can curdle into anger as it dawns on you that the person didn’t even have the decency to tell you it was over.
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Ghosting is a toxic by-product of "the lack of accountability that people have to themselves and each other in the modern world of meeting,” explains relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan. She believes that as we’ve become more connected online, we’ve become more disconnected in real life, losing some of the "communication tools" we need to deal with difficult and emotionally complex conversations.
"Some people choose to simply disappear," she explains, "especially if they don't feel any chemistry or a romantic connection with someone, but feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having to explain this."
But here’s the thing: Some may hurt more than others, but in reality, ghosting sucks for everyone involved.
"It can have a lot of negative outcomes for both parties in terms of experiencing a fear of rejection in the future," says Ryan. If you’re someone who’s ghosted others on a regular basis, she adds, you could end up “living with a lack of closure" or feeling as though you’re unable to "work through a relationship and conflict to deepen human connection." That doesn’t sound promising for any of your future romantic prospects, does it?
If you’re still iffy on the idea of becoming a reformed ghoster, just know that it’s not just the gentlemanly thing to do – it's also a way to improve your own self-worth and keep your conscience clear.
With this in mind, here are five key ways to break the habit.
Tips to Becoming a Reformed Ghoster
1. Stop Making Excuses so You’ll Feel Better
They're always a variation on classic self-denials: "Maybe it's kinder just to stop messaging?" or "What if they take the rejection really badly and get abusive?" Relationship psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree of the Vida Consultancy thinks it's "mostly a fantasy" that sending someone a clear message of rejection will provoke a disproportionate emotional reaction.
"I doubt many people who are told things aren’t going forward [in a relationship] will act out in some kind of dramatic fashion that you're unable to handle," she says.
2. Put Yourself in the Other Person's Shoes
you down gently [than be ghosted]," advises Ryan. "Be upfront and be clear – you’ll leave with your integrity intact and still hopefully have respect for one another."
It's still acceptable to be somewhat vague if you don't have a concrete reason for ending things.
"Just let them know you don’t quite feel the same, even if you're not so sure of the reason why," she adds. After all, an imperfect kind of closure is better than none.
3. Remember That You Might Change Your Mind
It might sound corny, but sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time — for instance, if you've just come out of a long-term relationship and connect with someone who wants to get serious a little too quickly. On an entirely selfish level, it pays to keep your options open by treating the person you're ending things with respectfully. "By giving the other person a clear message, you actually 'maintain the bridge,'" says relationship expert Mason Roantree. "So if you regret your decision at a later time, you stand a better chance of being accepted by that person if you try to reach out to them again."
4. Ghosting Can Be Warranted, but Only Under Specific Circumstances
"When someone is being inappropriate, aggressive, abusive or insulting, there's no need to engage with bad behavior," says Roantree. "For some people the very act of you texting them, even if it's to say 'I don't want to see you again', is interpreted as interest, and they'll continue to pester you."
In this situation, having to ghost that person may be inevitable because "the only message they’re likely to understand is silence and no contact whatsoever," adds Roantree.
5. Whatever You Do, Don’t Be Hasty
This one really comes into play when you're considering ghosting a person you've been chatting with on a dating app.
"Nothing can compare to real human connection," says Ryan. "Unless they've done something absolutely outlandish, you should really consider giving a meeting a shot."
Ryan also points out that "you never know what sparks will fly in person," and cautions that "the connections you make online are really just pseudo-relationships until you take the plunge and meet them in real life."
Even if you’re not completely convinced by someone’s personality through their messages, it could pay to arrange a casual coffee date and see what happens.
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