I think I speak for most people when I say one of the strangest phenomenons I’ve encountered is the case of the disappeared socks. One second they’re on my feet, in my laundry, or in my sock drawer, and the next moment they seem to have disappeared into the void – lost from the comfort of being matched with its other half. They’ve disappeared into thin air, and it’s unreasonable to blame sock goblins or random black holes opening up in your house. It must go then that ghosting doesn’t only happen in the dating world – it’s only more complicated in it.
Most people are somewhat familiar with the concept of ghosting – when someone suddenly, with no explanation, ends all communication. It might be during a fling, a casual hookup, or even a real relationship (I am truly sorry if you’ve ever been there). The point is it’s common, and it’s gotten more frequent with most of our dating being online recently. It’s a normalized occurrence in our current dating world; a simple, emotionless way of leaving someone behind without having to make a fuss. However, when you’re on the receiving end, it stings. I’ve had friends tell me they felt stupid or naive because they felt hurt they were ghosted, and I’ve known others who told me they did it just to shake someone off, or move on and not make the situation too deep. I’ve been ghosted by and ghosted people myself. Some I still reflect on, others I don’t even remember why or who it was with. Ultimately, however, I would never call someone stupid for feeling like they were ditched, or feeling sad or rejected by a ghosting.
While some of us might be accustomed to the fast-paced, harsh realities that we might face in the dating landscape right now, a lot of people are sensitive to this rejection. But there’s ways to deal with it.
For example, one of the things I think about is the fact that if that person is ghosting me, then I probably didn’t want to pursue anything with them anyways. Hypothetically, if I did develop feelings, and therefore it felt more personal, then I wouldn’t want to be with someone who is willing to cut someone off like that – especially if they knew the emotions were there. While I might slip up sometimes, I generally know that I deserve better, and I encourage people to adopt the same mindset. You truly do deserve the best.
Furthermore, while ghosting is random and shocking, it can be helpful to keep in mind that while it may feel like a personal attack (and they might even frame it as one), if someone is ghosting you it’s probably a problem of their own. In my experience (which is limited), the type of people who are more willing to ghost are those people who haven’t figured themselves out yet. They don’t know what they want, so they move from situationship to situationship, collecting the validation and excitement and then ditching before things turn very involved. So, assuming you’re looking for something more than a one-night stand, you’re probably better off.
On another note, I do take pride in the fact that I think my own ghosting days are done (unless I feel unsafe or threatened of course). I say this because now if I’m not interested, I’ll tell the person in the most respectful, kind way possible. This way, I can go about my business and take pride and solace in the fact that I did give them an explanation, and my bases are covered. Being honest is generally the best policy, and if I’m speaking romantically or sexually with someone, then I’m going to afford them the same honesty I expect them to give me – which means clear boundaries, open communication, and sometimes some blunt, but long-term beneficial thoughts. Therefore, if someone chooses to run away rather than shoot a message just saying they don’t think it’s a good idea, then I’m not sure it’s really my loss!
I think at the end of the day the most important thing to keep in mind while dating, is that most people’s actions towards you are not personal, and you understand yourself and your needs better than anyone else. So if someone is underperforming for your needs, or ghosting you then popping back up again, just know you deserve better and that there are literally probably a million other people on earth who will be willing to give you the love you deserve. After all, new people give the gift of new experiences, and you should be looking for the ones that lift you up.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: Sadie Levine