Ghosting, begone: It’s time to confront the offenders and kill the rudest dating habit ever


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Photo: Getty Images/Martin DM

A few weeks ago, I got a text message from a guy who ghosted me last summer. I didn’t have his number saved in my phone anymore because I’m pretty quick to delete contacts who are no longer in my life. So I asked who he was (“Same phone, who dis?”), he answered, and I quickly decided I wasn’t interested in anything he had to say. Not only had he ghosted me after three dates, but about a week after my last text went unanswered, he started posting photos to his Instagram of him with another girl. The nerve.

But this man must have had amnesia, because he started talking to me like everything was normal, as if there were no time-lapse of entire seasons between our last amicable interaction. He told me how much he admires me, how beautiful I am, and how he’d been following me on Instagram (since he ghosted me) and he’s “very impressed with me.” Well, since he’s impressed…JUST KIDDING.

Condescending and a ghoster? Clearly, he needed words from a straight shooter, and I was up for the job. So instead of being polite, I let him know exactly how I felt about him: I told him that reaching out to me a year after kicking me to the curb was a shitty thing to do and reflects his gross sense of entitlement. I told him that ignoring me after we were together and then dating someone immediately wasn’t in any way cool or acceptable. And I told him to please leave me alone.

He offered a lazy apology and then slinked back into the interwebs, tail between his legs. I, on the other hand, felt exhilarated.

If you think about it, letting a person who ghosts you off the hook is enabling bad behavior.

It’s a high I’ve felt over and over again in the past six months ago, when I embarked on my mission to call out all my ghosters. There was the guy I dated and slept with for two months, and who one day didn’t answer my text. And I was pissed. I’d understand the lack of response if we’d only seen each other once or twice (though, I’d contend, it’s still rude behavior no one’s mom would be proud of). But we’d slept together. We’d had day dates. I’d met his dog for goodness sake. And this dude was just going to up and never talk to me again? Hell no.

So I sent him a long, artfully crafted text, explaining why it was deplorable of him to just disappear out of the blue. I told him that he’d be smart, or at least less of an asshat, to evaluate this decision before repeating the mistake with someone else, because it was, quite simply, bad behavior.  I pressed send and instantly felt lighter.

I decided in that moment that I would never not confront a ghoster again. Because, if you think about it, letting a person who ghosts you off the hook is enabling bad behavior. Given our reliance on text messages and Instagram DMs to communicate with one another, it’s incredibly easy to give someone you’re dating the digital slip. It’s a convenient way to let someone down without having to deal with fallout of hurt feelings. And that, in my opinion, is total crap.

I’ve taken it upon myself to confront the ghosters of the world—call me a ghostbuster, if you will. Because the more crappy dating karma we singles put out into the world, the more we’re going to get back.

When you dump someone, and they don’t want the relationship to end yet, then guess what? You’re the villain in the breakup conversation, which, by the way, should definitely be a thing that happens. Ghosting may be your attempt to avoid being the villain, but the act only makes you more cowardly.

IMO, it’s better to be upfront about your feelings instead of just leaving the person you’re dumping in a ball of confusion. Because those questions and those feelings are what make breakups like this hurt even more. And, especially if you were intimate with the person (physically or otherwise), you certainly owe the courtesy to let them know, with your words, why you want to cut it off. Even if doing so makes you the bad guy for a second.

But, plenty of people still won’t. So that is why I’ve taken it upon myself to confront the ghosters of the world—call me a ghostbuster, if you will. Because the more crappy dating karma we singles put out into the world, the more we’re going to get back. I consider this my little part in making the men I date better for the women who come after. So, calling all upstanding humans who want to join the ghostbusting cause: Let’s do our part and pay it forward for the greater good of romance etiquette and kill the habit of ghosting, once and for all.

Other unfortunate dating trends to be on the lookout for? Rebating and orbiting

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