I opened my phone to an upside down smiley face emoji, a gun emoji, and a screenshot. A friend of mine was maintaining conversation with a boy she only marginally liked, approaching their fifth date when he hit her with some buzz words like “no chemistry,” “better as friends,” and a bunch of bullshit in between that made those two things seem like slightly less of a blow. I, on the other hand, had recently been subject to some witty banter with a guy who always responded to my texts, but never seemed too engaged.
“Why can’t they just ghost us like decent human beings?” I asked.
My friend seemed horrified. Like most of you, she thinks that ghosting is the modern dating equivalent of murder in the first degree. And I get it. Sort of. It seems cold. It seems like you’re just leaving someone hanging and letting them deal with unresolved rejection issues. But frankly? I ghost people every single time, and you can’t convince me it’s not the best way to end things with someone who isn’t even remotely your boyfriend.
For our purposes, I’m talking about ghosting someone you are seeing casually. Obviously a real boyfriend owes you an in-person explanation. But if you’re just hooking up, or have been seeing each other for under two months or fewer than five dates? Ghosting is just fine.
The Argument: You’re left wondering why things ended/feeling insecure imagining why someone didn’t like you.
Why That’s Bullshit: When someone you’re not really dating breaks up with you, they’re not honest with you either. They say vague things like “the timing is off” or “I’m not sure we’d make sense in a relationship,” and you know what you’re still left wondering? Why? When a guy all but tells you “I just really don’t like you like that,” you still search your mind for reasons he could have possibly felt that way. “I just don’t” is never a good enough reason. How could he feel “no chemistry” when you did? So you wonder if you said something wrong, or did something wrong, or if it’s your nose, or your hips, or you’re bad in bed. Why a guy didn’t like you is hardly ever answered in a breakup text, because frankly, this guy doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. So either way, he leaves you to hurt your own.
The Argument: It’s not a clean break.
Why That’s Bullshit: I’d argue, actually, that it’s a very clean break. No text is the clearest of indications that you’re not going to hear from a guy again. You don’t need to feel like you should keep up conversation or ask about his life, because, frankly, he doesn’t want to talk to you. The slow fade is where it gets tricky. He cancels plans, and slowly talks to you less and you have to come to your own realization that he’s done with you. Ghosting? He’s (literally) all but telling you it’s over in one swift motion.
The Argument: It’s rude not to reply to a text.
Why That’s Bullshit: Oh, come on. We all have that one friend who doesn’t reply to texts for seven full days, and she’s one of your favorite friends. You’ve accepted that as part of her character, and taken it upon yourself to text her 32 times in a row. Don’t pretend an unanswered text is so offensive to you. What are you, my mom?
The Argument: It’s cowardly. You should have to own up and tell me like a man.
Why That’s Bullshit: Literally, no he shouldn’t. This is just something women tell themselves when they’re mad they got ghosted, but it actually holds no validity. A guy you went on fewer than five actual dates with doesn’t owe you anything. You’re a blip in the radar of his life, and a short-lived not-relationship doesn’t deserve his “courage,” especially considering you don’t want what’s on the other side of that breakup text anyway. All you want is to bitch about him in a way that makes him look like the bad guy.
The Argument: I’m worried something happened to him.
Why That’s Bullshit: Nobody in history has ever actually worried that something happened to somebody they were casually seeing. Nobody. In fact, you’re not even worried that something happened to your boyfriend of three years when he doesn’t return a text. The only thing you’re “worried” about is that he’s not paying an adequate amount of attention to you, but you need an excuse to text him 500 times in a row, or until you get a response. Whichever comes first.
I know, you want to say ghosting is the worst, but really, you just mean rejection is the worst, and since ghosting is so common, it’s easy to say you only have a problem with the way he didn’t love you, when your real problem is that he didn’t love you at all. But with ghosting, you have so many opportunities. You can pretend that it has nothing to DO with who you are as a person, because he didn’t explicitly tell you that it does. You can pretend he died! Who doesn’t want to pretend every guy that rejected you died?
But most importantly, you don’t have to try to come up with a response that makes you seem like you wanted to reject him too..