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Do we owe anything to the people we ghost?

If you’ve ever been on an online dating app, you know that ghosting is inevitable. Whether you ghost someone else or you’re being ghosted, you are bound to encounter it at some point. It seems like for every decent match, three potentially good matches ghost you.

How many times have you been thinking “hey, this person might actually be cool” as you send that hahaha in response to their meme, and then… nothing? They vanish from your inbox like a dream and you are left wondering, “is it me?”

Well, is it you? I don’t think so.

Sometimes, people ghost you simply because they’re assholes and don’t care about your feelings.

Dating profiles make you a picture on a screen not a human being with feelings. It’s a lot easier to ignore a message on your phone than a person standing right in front of you. If you went on one or two dates with someone the odds are they didn’t end the date with a respectable “Hey, I don’t really see anything else happening between us but thanks for the night”. They probably just went home, deleted your number and ignored your texts till you took the hint and went away.

And while it’s a shitty thing to do, I’ve done it, and you’ve probably done it. Owning up to your feelings plus the added bonus of confronting someone about those feelings is scary. So we don’t do it.

Another reason why someone might ghost you is that they feel like they don’t owe you anything.

This is especially true if you get ghosted before you meet up with the person. If all you had was a conversation on an app the chances of getting ghosted increase tenfold – note that this claim is not backed by science. How many people have you ghosted after barely a couple of messages?

For me, it’s a lot. A lot, a lot.

And, hot take, I believe that’s okay. You actually don’t owe these people anything. Maybe if you’ve been talking for a while and they suggest a date and you don’t want to go you tell them, or you politely decline rather than ghosting. It’s up to you and your judgment of the situation. But you actually do not owe anyone anything.

Again, it’s possible that someone ghosts you for another innocent yet possibly hurtful reason: they forgot about you.

Have you ever been messaging a match and getting bored? You aren’t clicking with them and the conversation is going nowhere. So you close the app and watch Netflix or something. Then have you ever opened the app a couple days later and realized you never answered their last question? Yeah, that was because you weren’t interested in them and people won’t be interested in you.

You only notice these types of ghosts because you were really interested in them. Maybe you thought the conversation was actually going great, or you were having an off day and sending replies that weren’t really hitting their mark. That’s okay: it’s bound to happen. Yes, it sucks when it happens like 27 times in a row but there’s not really a whole lot you can do.

To combat the ghost you have to not become one yourself. If you hate them with every fiber of your being then don’t ghost people, all it takes is a short message. Here are some thing you can say if you don’t want to keep messaging someone but you don’t want to ghost them either:

1. “I had a good time last night but I don’t think we should go out again. Good luck!”

2. “This is [insert your name here]’s mom, [your name] is grounded.”

3. “I have lice.”

4. “Hey, we both know this isn’t going anywhere, au revoir and bon chance!”

5. “I suddenly got a huge assignment at [insert job, school, or hobby], I don’t really have time to be dating but nice talking to you.”

6. “Hey buddy bud, ol’ pal, ol’ friend, I don’t want to ever see you again. Goodbye forever.” 

And finally, if someone is harassing you on any dating app, you don’t owe them anything. Ghost them, block them, report them, do whatever you need to do to keep them out of your messages and out of your life.

They aren’t worth your time.

Dating should be fun (right?). So if you aren’t feeling it, don’t push it. At the end of the day, we are all people who make mistakes and accidentally ghost people who didn’t do anything wrong.

Maybe next time, just try to remember your talking to a real human  – not a bubble on a screen. 

By Audrey Schmidt

Audrey Schmidt is currently a biology student at York University in Canada. She has been writing since she was a kid and learning for longer. She likes asking questions just a tad more than she likes hearing the answer.