GhostingPeople talk a lot about the rules of dating. Pshaw! Rules? What rules? Dating requires you to be a ninja. You barely have time to contemplate your ever-changing instincts let alone consult your antediluvian rule book. However; there is one rule that I consider my duty to adhere to, probably because it’s the thing I dread the most. To me, it’s the Golden Rule of dating and I believe the rest of humankind should be bound (perhaps by law) to follow it as well. Daters of the world, Thou Shalt Not Ghost.

Ghosting is when a person you thought you were dating vanishes into thin air without explanation. Perhaps you’ve gone on four, 11, or 32 dates with a human and then, without reason, they stop returning your texts, emails, or phone calls. They vanish from your life, much like an actual ghost vanishes when you turn on your nightlight. Does that happen to anyone else?

You’ve probably been ghosted at some point (I’m so sorry!) or maybe you were the ghoster (shame on you!). You may still be haunted by past ghostings. I know I am. Not because those ghosters were hard to get over, just because they pissed me off. There are many psychological reasons why an otherwise decent-ish person may ghost : cowardice, weakness of character, self loathing, narcissism, or pathological fear of hurting feelings. But are we going for decent? Don’t most of us want to be better than decent? But honestly, all of a ghoster’s justifications for their disappearing acts are irrelevant. Why they vaporized into thin air is not important. It’s the fact that they did.

So you may be asking yourself, “Why should I care if someone I’ve only seen a few times, who I have no investment in, ghosts me or I ghost them? Why should I have to give/listen to an explanation of why things aren’t going to work out? Why is silence so utterly unacceptable?” Because it sets a precedent. The people you date are not disposable. They are just like you — other ninjas looking for love. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in having respect and compassion for other human beings — their time, their feelings, their effort to go on dates with you. You are not owed their company, it’s a privilege and should be treated as such, even if you’re not “feelin’ them.”

Let me simplify this for you: If you don’t want to date me anymore, have the decency to tell me so. If it’s difficult for you to tell me in person, at least shoot me a vague, yet polite email that you will be moving on along. And likewise, if I don’t want to see you again romantically, I will tell you so, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel.

So there you have it, you’ve heard my plea. Let’s make the dating world a more humane place.

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.


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