You might have heard the term “ghosting” growing in popularity over the last few years. Well, what is ghosting? When it comes to dating, online dating especially, ghosting is one of the most disheartening elements. However, rejection in all its forms is, most unfortunately, an almost inevitable part of dating, with ghosting someone essentially being rejection’s digital cousin. In this article we cover what ghosting means, what different levels of ghosting there are, how to respond to being ghosted and what to text after being ghosted, despite how heartbreaking it may feel.
What Does Ghosting Mean?
So, what does ghosting mean? For those unfamiliar with the term, ghosting describes when somebody ends all communication and contact with you without any apparent warning or justification.
If we are truly honest with ourselves, many of us have been guilty of ghosting someone at some point, whether romantically or otherwise. Have you ever received a text from an old friend you had no intention of re-connecting with and ignored it – even if by accident? Or perhaps an ex-colleague was in town and messaged to ask if you wanted to grab coffee or discuss coming back to the company and you simply didn’t open the message? Well, in a way, that’s a form of ghosting. It’s okay; it’s part of life and we are all guilty of it.
When it comes to ghosting in the field of dating, there are arguably different stages which can be met with different levels of tolerance.
- Light ghosting might be having a single message ignored. When it comes to dating, the most common experience of getting ghosted would be that the first message you send (you know, that “hi, how are you?”) is ignored. While disappointing, an engaged relationship hasn’t yet been built, making this form of ghosting a little more micro.
- Midweight ghosting refers to being ignored after some contact and relationship building has been done. Let’s say you send a message after a first date asking if a second is on the cards. While you felt the first date went fairly well, your special someone ends all contact. This can be very heartbreaking, especially if you felt the first date went well.
- Heavy or high level ghosting, however, is when someone cuts off all contact with a person they have been romantically and/or sexually involved with. This is arguably the worst kind because a relationship has been developed and one person has left without giving the explanation owed.
What To Text After Being Ghosted
If you’ve experienced any form of ghosting, it can be tricky to know what to text after being ghosted or if you should even text back at all! Let’s break it down a bit more depending on how severe the ghosting experience is.
More often than not, when it comes to light ghosting, the mantra is to leave them to it. Don’t reply. Remember, the “problem” is not you. This person may be very anxious and the reality of finding an ideal match could have resurfaced their anxiety surrounding dating. They may also have too much going on in their personal life and, therefore, have changed their mind.
Ultimately, there could be a plethora of reasons as to why they don’t respond, but 99% of them have everything to do with their situation and nothing to do with you. Don’t stress; they don’t even know you yet, so how could it have something to do with you? While still hard, the best thing to do is give it three days and then put it to bed. There are many other fish in the sea who would be ecstatic to build an emotional and romantic connection with you. So, let’s keep looking for that ideal match instead.
Midweight ghosting goes up a notch because it can often make us feel we have wasted our time, energy and feelings. We picked out an outfit for that first date and researched the best pizza restaurant in our area just to waste a great first impression on someone who didn’tfollow through.
One of the best ways to respond to midweight ghosting is to send out a feeler text. As the name implies, a feeler text can feel out for either encouragement or closure. It shouldn’t imply pressure but instead gently ask for a yes or no answer from the person ghosting – which you do deserve. We suggest waiting three to five days before sending a feeler text – this allows time to account for busy schedules and those maybe trying to “play it cool”. Here is an example of what to text after being ghosted:
I had a great time on Saturday and hope you enjoyed the rest of your weekend. I just wondered if you were interested in going on a second date? If not, no worries. I totally understand – I’d just appreciate it if you would let me know. All the best,”
After sending this, hopefully the other person will be prompted to confess whether or not they’re interested in progressing things. Unfortunately, saying nothing is easier than saying no, despite the fact that this option doesn’t consider the other person’s feelings. If there’s no response after several days, we suggest ending all contact from this point further.
Again, it’s really important to remember that if someone ghosts you – to any level of severity – the ghosting says more about them and their behaviour than you and yours. Their reason for ghosting isn’t that you aren’t attractive, interesting or fun, it’s that they aren’t ready – or right – to start a relationship with you. And what’s the point in starting a relationship with someone who doesn’t think you’re great off the bat?
High Level Ghosting
When it comes to being ghosted at a high level, a feeler text is also a good first option – just tailor it to your experience. This allows room for family emergencies and prevents the slight chance that the other person could be genuinely busy. However, if the feeler text receives no response after five days, then it may be time to send a closure message.
Closure messages are tricky to navigate. They shouldn’t be sent when you’re feeling heated and they certainly should be no longer than a few lines; we are looking for closure, not an explanation. Avoid accusatory terms. We simply want to get the point across that it is you who is cutting ties, having the final word and gaining closure for yourself. A closure message might read:
I understand you might be busy, but I would appreciate a final word on your behalf to see whether you’re still interested in seeing me. I just need an answer in order to move on and know where we stand.”
Alternatively, if you feel as though sending a closure message might feel too confrontational, that’s fine; you can move straight on to the next step.
After accepting full closure from being ghosted, the best thing to do is delete your message chain and any photos or reminders of the ghoster from your phone. These reminders are likely to cause painful emotions to resurface, and they won’t help you get emotional closure or insight into why you got ghosted.
Once you have erased their memory, finding a new distraction can be helpful to move on from being ghosted. Remind yourself of your skills and hobbies, go out with friends and feel great simply being you. Most importantly, remind yourself that this probably isn’t about you or anything you did wrong. If this person chose the strategy of ghosting to break up with you, it likely tells you something about them and their shortcomings, rather than indicating that the problem lies with you.
In conclusion, ghosting is never enjoyable to experience, no matter to what degree of severity it is. What we would advise, however, is that if you have experienced ghosting – whether once or multiple times – and it starts to take a toll on your mental health, it may be best to take a break from online dating. This could be for a month or more – take however long you need.
Get reconnected with yourself, rekindle a sense of self-love while spending time with friends and family – chosen and/or biological. After rekindling that self-love, you’ll be radiating with confidence and surely will be ready to share that with some new matches. Remember that rejection happens to the best of us. Nicole Kidman once spoke of getting rejected by Jimmy Fallon at his apartment in the ’90s, so if there’s any moral to the story, it’s that if Nicole Kidman can get rejected, we can’t be that bad!