We’re not going to sugar coat this, Darling. Ghosting is for wimps. Time to pull up those big kid pants and take a new approach. It’s easier than you think.
I did some research before I started writing about ghosting.
Not because it’s something I don’t understand—admittedly (and unfortunately), it’s an act I’m much too guilty of committing.
I communicate for a living, but I’m not always a great communicator in my personal life. The reasons why are less important in this specific scenario, but rather just that it happens. I also really, really hate confrontation. There are people in the world who love confrontation, but I’m not friends with those people because they make me pretty uncomfortable. I know far more people who don’t enjoy it at all.
It doesn’t feel good to watch other people not feel good.
So, then there’s ghosting.
Resident confrontation-hater hurts other people’s feelings in the spirit of not liking how it feels to watch people feel bad?
I researched to see just how many people do this same thing—avoid this bad feeling that feels really awful, because (most of us) are wired to not enjoy making people feel bad, and make people feel worse in the process.
I’m not alone! I learned that while researching. According to a somewhat informal survey from Elle, more than 16 percent of men and more than 24 percent of women have ghosted. I find that number to be alarmingly low, as I’ve done this enough times in my life to know there is no way 75 percent of my gender hasn’t ever.
But it’s not very kind, in the long run, to do this ghosting thing.
Truthfully, I have no idea how much time I would gain if I spent less time worrying about why I never heard from some guy I thought was super into me, but never called or explained or answered a text or anything. I’d also have consumed far less wine in my lifetime, but that’s another conversation.
So how do you say “no thanks,” with kindness?
I’m a big fan of the truth, but I suppose I’ve learned the truth is sometimes a little bit hard to say out loud. As a person who is paid to tell the truth in a kind way, I’ve finally figured it out on some level, though.
The truth doesn’t have to be so abrasive. That’s pretty much the secret.
For instance, out of all of the dates I’ve been on in all of my life (admittedly, I would like it if that number was higher lately, but I digress), I’d say at least 75 percent of the first dates ended with a guy saying, “let’s do this again.” The percentage of guys who actually called was much lower.
I’ve also spent years (and a few too many girls’ nights) trying to figure out why some guys broke up with me for a number of reasons I can’t change.
I’ve also done both of these things: Told guys I wanted to see them again and never answered a text or call again. Stopped seeing someone for reasons they had no control over.
It happens, but let’s all work on it a little bit? Together?
I’m a big fan of manners.
Tact. Respect. All of these things go so far in all aspects of life. Specifically dating, though. When you’re dealing with emotions (and regardless of how new a relationship is, there are always at least some teeny-tiny feelings in there) it’s nice to use manners. They are generally a nice way to keep the world turning with a positive spin.
My solution is pretty simple.
Think of how you’d like to be treated. I’d personally prefer a guy walk away from a date and thank me for a nice time, rather than saying he’d like to see me again if he really, really doesn’t want to ever see me again. By all means, go find your spark if it’s not me, but please don’t let me think it’s me when you know it isn’t.
And I’ll work on doing the same, remembering that we’re all in charge of how this human experience goes, and every word we say affects someone else’s experience.
The secret to saying you’re not into something or someone with kindness is simple: be kind.
[image: via thebarrowboy on flickr]