My best friend went on a date with a man who seemed fine at first — they sat at a neighborhood bar and talked for hours. They went on a second date, but this time, the dude tried every trick in the book to get her to come to his place and have sex. She refused his offer, and tried to leave it be, but three days later, when she was visiting me from out of town, she showed me the text he sent, asking her in a very straightforward manner whether or not she was interested, or if her lack of communication was the hint that he needed.
“You have two options here,” I told her. “Write back with a one word answer, or just don’t respond.”
“I have to say something,” she said. “I can’t just ignore this.”
“Just ghost on him, dude,” I told her. “It’s easy.”
When is it appropriate to ghost? Some may say never, that each person deserves the courtesy of hearing directly that you’re not interested in them, but please, take a moment to think about how many times you’ve been ghosted, specifically how sometimes it was fine and sometimes it wasn’t. It goes both ways. Here are some common dating situations in which it’s perfectly fine to ghost.
1. After A Terrible First Date: Life is short, and dates, whether you want to accept it or not, are kind of easy to come by, so I say why waste time with people you definitely don’t want to get to know better? First dates are great because they serve as handy litmus tests for whether or not you want to continue to see that person with the intention of eventually sleeping with them. If he was a boorish, mansplaining pig at dinner who snapped at the waitress and and asked you pointed questions about your willingness to give hand jobs in public, then I’m willing to bet you don’t want to go on a second date with that charmer. So, when you get the inevitable, “I had such a good time and when can I see you again ????” text, I think you are well within your rights to disregard that completely. Ghosting, in this situation, is fine, because think of the extended conversation you’re going to have to have when you kindly but firmly rebuff his advances. Save yourself the grief of the extended text-debate, and just let it go.
2. When You’ve Gotten Back Together With Your Ex: You and Mr. Right ended up being super wrong, and so your relationship ended in a trail of tears and returned belongings. After you picked up the pieces and wallowed for a week, you begrudgingly allowed yourself to be set up on a date. Maybe the date goes well and you have a great time and even exchange kisses and/or bodily fluids, but still, it feels weird to be out with someone new.Then, lo and behold, you get back together with your ex. Your breakup, which seemed like the end of the road, was really just a bump in the road to happily ever after. What to do about your rebound? Common courtesy suggests that you at least let the other person know what happened, as a way of keeping your conscience clear, but sometimes life gets in the way. In this situation, think about what a dude would do in your shoes. If you went on a really good date with somebody, and then never heard from them again, it’s shitty, but there are so many variables that you’re not privy to. Ghosting in this situation is less malicious and more circumstantial.
3. After A One-Night Stand: One night stands are difficult situations. Some of us can handle them with grace, sleeping with someone and then moving on, without attaching any emotional weight to the act. Others struggle, crafting narratives in their head about what the next five years will look like. If you’re the former, ghosting should come naturally, without a second thought, and even though I feel that it’s always nice to treat others as you want to be treated, don’t feel too shitty if you sleep with someone and don’t ever contact them again. If you don’t want to sleep with them again, continued contact gives the wrong impression. Simply disappearing into the ether is an easy way of dissolving this situation without having to actually face it head on. It’s cowardly, but a little empowering, too.
4. In The Case Of A Major Life Event: So, you went on a few dates with somebody that you actually kind of liked, but then life, that bastard, got in the way. A death in the family, unexpected job loss, being evicted from your apartment — life events that take you by surprise have a neat way of hogging your attention, with good reason. Ghosting after a major life change is never malicious, but is oftentimes a natural reaction to the trauma you’ve just been through. Chances are you’re probably not thinking about the date you went on, because you’re too busy dealing with whatever traumatic event that just happened to you. Your dating karma won’t take a hit if you ghost.
5. After You’ve Discovered Something Shady: Let’s say your friend tells you that the person she set you up with is actually still dating his ex, or is mean to animals, or just isn’t that good of a guy? When he texts you for the second or the third date, your inclination to ghost is one hundred percent correct. Really, regardless of how you met them, if you stumble upon new information that you consider a total dealbreaker — especially something they’ve hidden from you, like a girlfriend/wife or a history of attending Tea Party rallies — ghost away.