If you type the words “why he ghosted” into Google, you’ll see a ton of articles on this dating phenomenon. The first few that pop up: “Men Reveal The Reasons They Ghosted On You,” “How to Deal With Being Ghosted,” and “This is the #1 Reason Guys Ghost.” So we know two things off the bat: 1. This is happening to a lot of people and 2. WE ALL WANNA KNOW WHY.
Let’s back up a quick second just in case you don’t know what I mean by the term “ghosted.” My loose definition is basically someone not responding to a text after a string of good interactions/dates/hangs (you know, disappearing like a ghost).
Naturally, this dating behavior is not limited to men. We’ve all done it. (Unless you’re a better person than I am, which is entirely possible). But it does seem like in heterosexual relationships, women are often the ones who spend more time wondering why it happened to them. And as a result—no thanks to the countless articles that imply this—we assume it’s something we did wrong.
As we all know, someone not being into you has very little to do with you. It’s their timing, their preferences, and their baggage.
And sure, maybe you got drunk and cried about your ex, or maybe you awkwardly threw a piece of mistletoe in the air and tried kissing him, or maybe you tucked your napkin into your shirt and said “Mama’s hungry,” but chances are you were completely nice and normal, and you’re just out there trying your best to meet someone nice and normal too.
My point? It’s likely not on you. Even so, when ghosted, we tend to pour over the text exchange, looking for clues as to why he suddenly dropped off. Or we poll all of our friends and explain each and every date interaction, asking them what they think happened. Even if you didn’t like this person all that much, there’s something so off putting about being ghosted. It’s a mystery we have to solve—we essentially become ghostbusters with a singular mission.
But as we all know, someone not being into you, or being distracted, or being involved with someone else has very little to do with you. It’s their timing, their preferences, their baggage, and you really don’t need to spend any more time worrying about it or trying to fit someone’s mold. Because how exhausting and fruitless is that?
So in the spirit of not speculating why someone ghosted you, here are five much better things to do instead:
1. Delete the text string.
This may feel aggressive or dramatic but since you can’t change someone else’s behavior, you may as well stop trying to study it or wonder what you could have said or done differently. Once the evidence is finally gone, you’ll be less likely to go back and ruminate on it.
2. Spend time with people who text you back.
You know who won’t ghost you? Your dog. Your roommate. Your crew of go-to besties. So shift that manic energy of “why would someone just NOT text back?” into the people you can rely on.
3. Do unto others…
If ghosting upsets you, a great thing to decide to do is not ghost anyone in the future. You could even map out a few responses for letting someone down or changing your mind or saying now is not a good time. Karma!
4. Say yes to something you would normally say no to.
Sometimes a good way to shake a funk is to shake things up. There’s great energy in saying “yes” and to stepping outside the norm. Invited to a concert of a musician you don’t know? Go! Random acquaintance wants to get a drink? Why the hell not. Bestie wants you to try a new workout class with her? Lace up.
5. Get back on the horse.
You knew this was coming! I know it’s so hard to get back out there when you’ve been burned. But remaining hopeful and open during a dating season is a serious growth opportunity and can be really fulfilling. But hell, if you also need to delete apps and focus on something else, then by all means do it. (So, you know, follow your heart!)
Remember, someone who would hurt your feelings or disappear out of nowhere doesn’t deserve any more of your time than they’ve already sucked up. Moral of the story? Don’t let the ghosts haunt you.