The Dating Smartz team recently had the great pleasure to chat with certified relationship expert Angela Reid about how to respond to ghosting and what to do if you’re actually the one ghosting someone. Anglela is the upcoming author of ‘Successful Relationships The Intuitive Way’ and treated us to an excerpt from this upcoming book.
First things first, what is ghosting?
First, let’s set the scene:
You meet someone online, or anywhere, for that matter. You go on a date, or two, or three, and you think you’re getting along well. You have banter, things in common, and even like to eat the same things.
You feel comfortable around each other, and you’ve already had deep, meaningful conversations. You’d love to have a full-blown relationship with this person, and at this stage, you may or may not have started a physical relationship. At the last date, you make plans for the next one. Maybe you’ll go for a nice meal next time, or one has offered to cook for the other. The future with this person is looking bright.
You’ve got into the habit of saying good morning and goodnight to each other almost every day. It’s 9am, and you haven’t received your usual 8am message, so you send one. You get no response. You message a couple of times during the day, still no response. In the evening you call, but your call doesn’t go through. You send an email, and you message via social media, but nothing is responded to, even though you can see your messages have been read.
If you haven’t heard anything within a day or two, chances are you have been ‘Ghosted’.
So, why do people ghost?
What makes people ghost someone? The simple answer is that they probably aren’t that into you after all and don’t know how to tell you. Perhaps in the past, breaking up with someone was difficult, so they are avoiding you to escape a potentially similar scenario. Maybe they don’t like confrontation, or they’d previously been persuaded to stay when they desired to leave. Maybe they’re scared of commitment and can see the relationship is getting serious. Things are moving too fast for them. The scenarios are endless and you will probably never know the truth.
If you’re not what they want, but they don’t want to tell you because they don’t want to let you down, or they just can’t be bothered to explain, ghosting—to them—is the best option.
It’s hard to know how to respond to ghosting! The good thing is that it isn’t your fault; chances are, this isn’t the first time this person has done this. The bottom line is that they just aren’t ready for you, or anything that resembles a relationship.
How do you avoid it?
So, how do we avoid it? The bad news is that you can’t guarantee it won’t happen to you again. You can, however, minimise the effect it has on you by not jumping in with both feet and letting the other person set the pace of the relationship, and you then follow their lead. I will explain what I mean below.
If suddenly you’re having to suggest and arrange your meetings, or if getting a date confirmed is increasingly difficult because they always have to ‘check’ their diary before confirming, consider why you must remind and prompt them so often. It might be that the person is going out with you just for something to do instead of really wanting to get to know you.
If you’re always the one calling or messaging first, and the other person isn’t initiating any contact, plus it takes more than one call before you’re called back, again, it might be that they’re just going along with it until they have other options.
If they aren’t making an effort anymore, neither should you. If your calls aren’t returned, you also stop calling. If dates are cancelled, especially at short notice, let them arrange the next one. Put as much effort into the relationship as they do. If they start pulling back, so do you; that way, if you are ‘Ghosted,’ it won’t come as such a shock.
The signs are probably there, but you’re so enamoured by the idea of being in a relationship that you’ve been ignoring them. Your gut will tell you if someone is genuinely into you, so listen to and trust your instinct. It’s there to protect your feelings.