Because it’s October, and officially Halloween–don’t even try to argue with me about this–I thought I’d indulge you on the etiquette of ghosting. And for anyone who’s not familiar with the newly christened term, it basically means: ceasing all communication with someone by disappearing into thin air. There are only two rules that apply to ghosting someone, it’s rather simple, really:
- DON’T FUCKING DO IT.
- When in doubt, refer to rule #1.
Casper, the friendly ghost, is the adorable, anthropomorphized specter of Devon Sawa–every 90’s girls’ wet dream. Although Casper is a ghost, he would never ghost on someone. You know why? Because it’s not…friendly. It’s downright fucking rude, TBH. It’s cowardly. It’s heartless. It’s confusing–it leaves too much room for interpretation.
However awful, the act has become increasingly pervasive since the dawn of digital dating. I’m sure ghosting existed long before Tinder, but Tinder–and other online dating apps–has made it ubiquitous. When confronted with situations you don’t want to deal with, or people with much messier feelings than you had anticipated, it’s easy to pull the fade-away. But in a world that’s hyperconnected, it’s not like you can vanish without a trace. In other words, WE GON’ STALK YOUR ASS ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, SNAPCHAT, LINKEDIN, TUMBLR, REDDIT, PINTEREST, YOUTUBE, GOOGLE, GOOGLE+, YIK YAK, PERISCOPE, WHATSAPP. Ghosting can make even the sanest person a stalker.
Furthermore, ghosting on a romantic partner just goes to show the shallowness and superficiality of online dating. Mariella Frostrup’s wisdom column, Dear Mariella, for The Guardian, recently dealt with such a topic. In her response to someone who had been recently ghosted, Mariella wrote this about the “why” of ghosting:
It’s not too great a leap to presume that what [we’re] suffering is related to the pressure of living up to omnipresent, unattainable standards fed into [our] lives on ever-present gadgets. In our drive to keep up we may be losing the ability to rise to a challenge or identify an individual path, and the internet is a perfect place to disappear to duck any form of confrontation. If your life is a fantasy construct you can’t possibly drag it down to the uneven ground and hard toil of daily life.
I don’t want to go as far as to say Tinder has played a role in creating a commitment-phobic generation–there’s a lot of information out there to prove that “one-night stands” existed way before cars did–but online dating surely allows us to wear many masks–we’re a little more anonymous and deconstructed than we would be if we met people more organically. And if we, ourselves, are a little less real, then wouldn’t it make sense that we treat our romantic texting partners like they’re a little less real? Simply speaking, we don’t build the same rapport online that we build IRL. Although Tinder may expand the dating pool for online users, it doesn’t necessarily foster better romantic relationships. While ghosting someone may seem a lot less complicated, it doesn’t make it any less puzzling or frustrating.
As I said in an earlier post, I, too, have ghosted and been ghosted on. I don’t condone my behavior, and to be honest, I can’t even remember who or why I ghosted. There’s been too many dudes for me to recall such nuanced details–proving my point of quantity over quality. And plus, as the ghoster–and not the ghostee–my feelings were minimal. But as the ghostee, I rememeber how much it fucking sucked. Both guys I met on Tinder. Both were drawn to my intelligence and eyes. Both came on strong and initiated the first date. Both were handsome and charismatic. And both vanished without a trace. I was really angry and hurt and confused when it happened, but like everything else, you get over it and move on. TBH, I don’t even remember their names.