Sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein looks into the rise of ghosting and puts forth a more gentlemanly guide to ditching your date.
When we talk about ghosting – we are not discussing the act of getting it on with a ghost in the Patrick Swayze / Demi Moore sense, but rather the cowards alternative to having the awkward conversation “it’s not you, it’s me.”
Thanks to a rise in technology, a lack of communication and a fast paced dating world full of swipe rights and ‘happenings’ where you might not remember the name of the last person you had a drink with, ghosting it is becoming a norm.
It doesn’t mean that it’s right, but instead of simply telling you it’s wrong, it’s time to work with it – and propose a guide to ghosting so to speak.
Technology is not going anywhere, rapid dating is only speeding up, so ghosting could be here to stay and a séance won’t solve this one.
How to be a respectful ghost
Some would argue that ghosting is in itself a thoroughly despicable and disrespectful act, but lets weigh up the individual elements.
Rule of thumb – the closer you get to someone, not just physically but emotionally, the more you should give them a definitive ending or reason. There is never going to be a clear line of right and wrong, but try and match your actions to the intimacy you had with them.
When ghosting might be the best option
Breakups are never a pleasant experience (unless you’re being released back into the world after years as a caged stallion) and ghosting can sometimes have a value depending on the reasons for “officially” calling it quits.
You could turn a casual scenario into a more serious one by officially breaking up, which is often the case for a “friends with benefits situation”. If you disappear for a while instead of stating, “it’s over”, you might be able to walk back in if you change your mind – or seamlessly move past the physical and back into friendship land. Ghosting might just keep some options available.
Consider recycle dating
It is increasingly likely that you will date someone who’s a friend of someone you previously dated before. Everyone is someone else’s ex and many men and women discover that at some point down the track that they’re dick brothers or sisters, having once shared a bed with the same man before.
Newsflash. They will share their opinions.
If you act disrespectfully and continually ghost your way out of situations, the chances are that the next time around someone else’s opinion might be the deciding factor – regardless of your own wants.
To ghost or not to ghost, that really is the question. So many things in life can be resolved with a compromise, in this case – moderate ghosting. This doesn’t involve a breakup speech (although it might if they don’t get the picture) but rather a slow progression into being unavailable which. The slow and steady disappear into the night.
It might take time before they see the writing on the wall, but hopefully by the time he/she does, your lack of interest will not be entirely unexpected.
Think of what a ghost is – a sheet that hovers and doesn’t have legs. Use that image as inspiration for your slow exit, not a sudden one with no tracks left behind.
Ultimately, honesty is the best policy and if you genuinely have a reason for cutting the chord after a few dates or a couple of rolls in the hay, then you really do owe them a five-minute conversation to say “thanks but no thanks”.
It is merely the gentlemanly thing to do chaps.