An Argument for Ghosting

The term ghosting has become almost as annoying and overused as the word sustainability. Especially when it comes to online dating (or perhaps it should now be called app dating?).

People seem to get so offended when someone allegedly “ghosts” them.

For the record, in the dictionary, ghosting is defined this way:

The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

A couple things about the term "ghosting:"

It seems to me the term gets taken out of context. I have heard people say they were ghosted when someone stopped messaging them on Tinder before they ever met in person. If you haven't even given your phone number out yet, or if you have been texting but haven’t met in real life, you don't actually have a personal relationship yet, so you have NOT been ghosted. That's the game you're playing...

On the flip side, I understand that to cease and desist communication without warning or explanation after a month of multiple dates, hang outs, intimate encounters a bit of a low blow. My point is simply that there's a threshold the relationship needs to reach before ghosting should be considered rude, not to mention before it can even be considered ghosting.

I have ghosted and have been ghosted and my ghost and ghostee experiences are by far better than the situations that have resulted in weird and disingenuous explanatory texting to formally end the non-relationship.

To reiterate the point, I ask you this: Which situation would you prefer to experience?

Situation 1: Ghost!

Him: “So, I’m assuming you weren’t thrilled by our lunch meeting?”

Me: Ignore text and person disappears into the pile of unmemorable lunch dates without incident.

End of situation.

Situation 2: Explanation Gone Bad

Him: “I got the vibe that you you’re not really into this?”

Me: (Copy and paste stock line:) “You seem awesome, but I just wasn’t feeling the connection.”

Him: “What's missing for you?”

Me: "Nothing specific. I guess I’m just looking for that intangible connection. Sorry for being vague, but I don’t know how else to explain it.”

Him: “Well, I'm not going to lie. I'm disappointed. And truthfully, I think you’re just scared because you actually like me.”

Me: “I acknowledge your opinion, but that doesn’t change mine."

Him: “Well then. I Hope you find what you’re looking for. Have a nice life.”

Me: “You too.”

Him: “You're a bitch I hope you die in a fire!” (sent with a fire emoji).

(Think to myself: ‘Hmmm…pretty sure I made the right decision here').

Safe to say the first situation was more pleasant, while the second situation was disturbing and makes me wonder: Why do people need a bullshit explanation from someone who owes them nothing? What value is there in receiving a stock copy and paste disingenuous sentence or two in text form before they can move on?

I think the big shortcoming with app dating, though— and a complaint I have heard from many of my friends who have dabbled with the app of the day—is there are no commonly agreed-upon rules or social norms to follow. So without further ado, this is what I’m proposing:

RULE #1: 

The term ghosting cannot be used before an in-person meeting.

RULE #2:

Ghosting is allowed after 1-4 dates.

RULE #3: 

Two unanswered text messages are allowed before you must accept you have been ghosted and get back on the app.

(In other words, if you don't get a reply from your post-date text, you probably know in your little heart it’s over, but if you really think technology might have failed you and the message didn’t go through—or you come up with some other wild story in your head about why the person didn’t reply—then send one more text. Still no reply? Assume you have been ghosted and move on).

RULE #4:

If you tell someone you hope they die in a fire, you should be banned from all of the apps.