Last week, the New York Times published an article on “ghosting”. What is ghosting, you ask? Ghosting is when you’re seeing someone and then, seemingly out of the blue, you disappear. You stop answering phone calls and you stop texting. It’s no doubt an efficient exit, but is it the right thing to do? Ghosting can be hurtful, and it can leave resentment and distaste in the mouth of the ghostee.
So, how do you tactfully remove yourself from a dating scenario? We decided to get both sides of the story, and ask both men and women how they approach this situation. Do you ghost? Do you not ghost? And what is the best way to end it with someone you have only been on a few dates with? Here’s what they had to say:
Kate Edwards – Three Day Rule Matchmaker and Dating Expert
I have to admit – I was a ghoster. Although I am in a relationship now, in my early twenties, I lived in New York and was often dating a few people at once. If I stopped liking one of them, I would simply “forget” to text him back. This almost always solved my problem. New York is a huge city, and I never ran into the men whose hearts I had broken. Once, I even double-ghosted. I went out with a guy I met on OkCupid, ghosted him after a few dates, and then was coincidentally set up with him again through a mutual friend. I ghosted again! How horrible is that? Andrew, I’m sorry.
But the older I got, the worse I felt. As I myself have had my heart broken a few times, I realized how miserable being ghosted could make someone feel. How could I have been so callous? When a guy ghosted me, I was insulted. “What a jerk!” I always thought, even though I was guilty of the exact same behavior. We have the tendency to villainize everyone but ourselves.
I also realized that, after five years in New York, the city wasn’t so big after all. I began running into exes. They were friends of the new guys I was dating. They were new coworkers. They were potential business contacts. Uh oh.
I decided to reform my ways.
Now, as a dating expert, I tell my clients that they have to suck it up. They need to have the tough conversation and tell someone they just aren’t interested. If you’ve been on more than two dates, it is the right thing to do.
Ending it is easier than you think. If you feel it’s appropriate, you can text. But if you know the person could potentially be hurt, even just a little, you owe them a phone call. Break up phone calls are some of the toughest conversations to initiate, but you will ultimately feel relieved – I promise!
All you have to say is one simple phrase: “We’re not a match.” Because we’re not talking long-term relationships here, you don’t owe them a long, drawn-out explanation of why. Chances are they won’t ask for details, but if they do, tell them why. Be honest. In dating, honesty is rare, so people really do appreciate it when they hear it. Once you tell them you’re not a match, tell them that you think they are great, and wish them the best.
The ghosting rule in dating is a lot like the golden rule – Do unto others, because no one likes being left in the dark when it comes to matters of the heart.
Ray Christian – Founder of Textpert advice app
A few weeks ago I received a surprising text…
“I have to say, so much respect. I really appreciate the call. Thank you”.
It seemed a little surprising considering the circumstances.
When and how should we break up with women? Everyone knows , exclusive relationships should obviously end with a face-to-face conversation or at LEAST a phone call in extenuating circumstances. After a first date, a text or even silence is a fair way to end things but what about the ephemeral relationship that lasts roughly 2-7 dates. Is it ok to ghost?
How should we break things off after a FEW dates?
I received the text above from a woman that I called to end a romantic situation after three dates. Can you imagine being thanked for breaking up with someone? It seems strange but that’s the power of picking up the phone.
If a woman isn’t right for you and you feel compelled to break it off, don’t do it over text and definitely don’t go M.I.A. by ceasing communication. Sit down in-person with her or at the very least pick up the phone and take a few minutes to end things over a conversation, especially if the two of you have been intimate. It’s not easy but afterwards you’ll feel better about it and she’ll feel respected.
During the break up conversation it’s good to open with small talk. Nobody likes picking up the phone and immediately getting blindsided by getting dumped. After a little small talk, tell her she’s awesome but that you don’t feel the spark of a long-term relationship. Diplomatically answer any questions she may have without criticizing or critiquing her. Your tone should be friendly. Don’t treat it like it’s been a long term relationship, which could potentially turn into an airing of grievances.
This is an incredibly easy way to show that you’re a grown man. Practice a few times, and you will find it’s much easier than ghosting. You’ll have more friends in the long run, and who knows – that girl you almost ghosted could actually introduce you to your future wife. Plus it’s good karma, and we could all use a little of that in the dating world.
What often happens with ghosting is that when the ghostee doesn’t know what’s going on your side of things, they can become paranoid and may subsequently try contacting you over and over again. To save yourself a long-term headache, it’s best to just nip things in the bud the moment you feel like it isn’t a match.
Let’s take a stand to end the ghosting epidemic. Share this article with anyone who’s ghosted you, your serial ghosting friends and even your friends that are getting ghost and they just don’t know it yet.
Who ya gonna call? #TDRGhostBusters