“Hey, did I do or say something wrong?”
“It’s totally okay if you do not want to keep talking to me but I think I deserve the courtesy of you letting me know that you do not want to do this anymore. Text me when you see this.”
This was my last message to a gentleman I had been talking to for some days.
Everything started off really great, the chemistry was mind-blowing, we had conversations that were difficult to end and we spoke about everything and anything any chance we got.
Like the typical young adult that I am, when his replies came in hours after my texts, when I started double texting, I made up excuses for him because the good times were really great. I ignored the carnival-like red flags and stayed in the honeymoon zone, failing to realize that he was slowly withdrawing. It went from a cancelled date to a flimsy excuse and unread messages.
A lot of bad dating habits are being normalized as the world and the people in it evolve. Ghosting is gradually becoming a practice that 9 out of 10 individuals eligible for dating have experienced or done to someone they were seeing.
It’s an insensitive act that leaves the victim feeling insecure, unwanted and in some extreme cases depressed. But the people who ghost are individuals who are selfish and have no regard at all for the victims. How do you explain disappearing from someone’s life after you come in, make them feel great, make future plans, go to the extent of making them fall helplessly in love and then one day, it’s all ripped away, it feels like they can’t breathe because the person whose texts and calls they always look forward to has just disappeared into thin air?
If you’ve never been ghosted or have but haven’t heard the word being used before, here’s a simple explanation of ghosting and how you can tell that you have been ghosted.
Ghosting is rejection without the courtesy of closure. It is that instance where someone you’ve had a connection with decides to cease communication with you without any explanation.
“Anna was a young lady I had a connection with for weeks, we made plans to go on a date, settled on a venue and date. On the afternoon of the date, my texts got no replies and my calls weren’t answered either. It stung because I felt there was more or there could have been more. She texted me later in the evening to let me know that she got “busy” and she fell ill as well. It was flimsy but I didn’t really have much power to call her out. A few hours after that, I saw her posting snaps on her story of her partying with her friend. I sent her text letting her know she didn’t have to leave me hanging and she could have been honest about not wanting to go out. I was left on read and that was the last I heard from her.” - Leroy, a 24-year-old man shared.
Disappearing after a few mundane conversations with someone you met is ghosting but it’s impact is not as damaging as ghosting someone you’ve had an impact on and nurtured a connection with. Ghosting is unfortunately, not restricted to romantic relationships only
“Jason and I had been friends since childhood. Our families practically became friends because of our bond. We hanged out one day, parted ways with everything peachy. I texted him the following day and realised it only ticked once. I assumed he had his data off or something and he will reply when he comes back. Then evening came, my calls went straight to voicemail. This went on for 3 days. On the fourth day, I decided to go by his house and find out what’s going on. His mum opened the door and her expression which is usually warm and welcoming turned cold. Before I could speak, she told me Jason isn’t available to see me and it’s best I don’t come around anymore.” Agnes shared.
The more time people have spent together and the more intimate the connection, the more damaging ghosting becomes for the victim both emotionally and mentally.
“We were in a talking stage for almost a month and slept together on our first date. She dropped me off at my place the following day with a promise to text me when she closes from work. It’s been a year; I’m wondering if she’s still at work.” Cindy says amidst mocked laughter. “Everything was great, it was one of my best sex experiences and I felt so lucky being with her. She always spoke to me like a queen too. I was broken for months when she didn’t reply any of my messages nor return any of my calls. I woke up one day and decided that I deserve so much more but the truth is, that experience has shaped my dating life so much. I’m more cautious, less trusting and almost always unwilling to let my guard down for anyone.”
There are not a lot of reasons for why people ghost but answers that run through after speaking to several people is the fact that they do it to avoid the awkwardness that comes with a break up especially if it’s not a committed relationship, they were busy and by the time they wanted to end things, it felt too late.
“I was speaking to this guy in another university in my third year. I’m 6’1 so I usually tend to go for guys taller or close to my height to avoid awkward situations. He was great in every way but he mentioned he’s not very tall. He didn’t state his height but after I told him mine and our conversations still continued, I assumed he must be tall enough or just really confident. From his pictures, he was handsome and a gentleman. We set a date for him to come to my campus so that we can hangout. I went to the meetup place and saw a gentle man approaching. He didn’t look like the pictures he sent so I totally ignored and texted that I was there, is he running late? He texted back that he’s the one walking towards me. My heart stopped beating for a mini second and my throat went dry because the person walking towards me was 5’4 at most, skinnier than he looked in his pictures and a less handsome version of his pictures. It is the most awkward date I have been on till date. I totally disappeared from his life after that. Never called, texted, picked his calls or replied his messages.” Sandra shared. “I was totally catfished, I think I was within my rights to ghost him.”
Some ghosters feel powerful after ghosting because they feel they called the shots but there is also a but research shows ghosters likely have inner weakness and low self-esteem because no individual with high self-esteem can’t confidently send a sentence ending a relationship. So if you’ve been ghosting often, it’s about time you analysed the damage you’re carrying around and the pain you’re inflicting on innocent people by leaving things hanging.
If they keep cancelling on dates with “I’m busy excuses”, baby, you deserve so much more. If you’re putting yourself out there often and they don’t give back, they’re probably on their way to ghosting you. Advise yourself, love.
Acknowledge that you deserve to be prioritized.
There’s no shame in admitting to yourself that you’ve been ghosted. I’m not here to tell you exactly how you can handle it but remind yourself that they left for a reason known to only them. You were probably too much to handle and you shouldn’t have to belittle yourself just to let another person fit in your life either. If they ghosted, you’re unlikely to get any response after them from anywhere. Chalk it up to “We probably were not compatible” and give yourself pep talksbecause it really gets better. You’ll come through it just fine.
If you’re wondering how to avoid ghosting people, It’s not rocket science. You just need to be respectful. Yes. You may not owe them an explanation but walking away without one is shitty behaviour and messes people up.
I received a text from a guy I was talking to one day, it hurt but I respected him for being honest with me. It simply said “Hi Gail, I would like you to know I’m no longer actively pursuing a relationship with you. I don’t think you’re what I need at the moment and I wish you the best.”
If you’ve ever been ghosted, bear in mind that it’s their problem not yours. The second guessing will happen but don’t let it go on for too long. They obviously had issues they couldn’t address directly.
DO NOT…UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE send a long-ass essay asking for a reason. Some feel powerful knowing they got to you like that. Cry, wallow for a few days if you absolutely have to but don’t stay there for too long.
If you’ve been ghosted recently and struggling with dealing with it, repeat this to yourself; YOU’RE WORTHY OF LOVE THAT’S WHOLESOME, LOVE THAT’S RID OF SECOND GUESSING AND MIXED SIGNALS.