Welcome to the era of online dating. Be it Bumble or Tinder, a whole lot of us have tried our hand at finding ‘true love’ or just a casual hook-up in these places. Living in a society that is rapidly turning towards the online world while simultaneously adapting to this new era of technology, meeting somebody organically has been overshadowed by the multitude of options that are now available. You can find almost anything online these days; be it food, clothes, or even a person to fall in love with, it’s all just a click of a button away. While all of this sounds exciting, every new experience, no matter how enchanting, has its cons. Now that I have introduced online dating to you, let’s get comfortable with the term ‘ghosting’. Oh, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
Let’s be honest here my friends, most of us have ghosted or been ghosted by someone in our life at least once. The awkward and low-key embarrassing conversation when you break the news to your friends about how the person you were gushing over last week has suddenly dropped out of your life is a somewhat touchy subject for most, but trust me when I say that you’re not the only one.
The Urban Dictionary defines ghosting as a situation when a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice beforehand. Ghosting in today’s generation is when people lose interest in someone for some reason or the other and instead of expressing their emotions tend to just drop them over text; hence attaining the dreaded title of a ‘ghost’.
As per a census taken by BankMyCell, it was recorded that 82% of women and about 71% of men have been involved in ghosting. The most common reason for ghosting someone is when their partner becomes too ‘clingy’ or when the profile picture doesn’t match the real deal (honestly those filters are both a trap and an escape). It was noticed that the biggest reason was the desire to avoid confrontation. No surprise here, right? When did we become a generation that is afraid of meeting new people? Online dating has played a massive role in allowing people to connect via their phones; however, it has made it that much easier to simply drop people when things get too serious for one’s comfort, to stop texting until your online relationship with the person just disappears into nothingness.
To be the one getting ghosted hurts a lot, it’s almost like a breakup but from a relationship that never got the chance to blossom. In a world where all of us crave affection and attention, getting attached to someone in the virtual world who is showering you with the exact things that you are lacking in your real life is far more common than you think. The biggest con of talking to someone online is that no matter how much you guys talk; you never really know what is going on in the other person's mind. A part of them always remains hidden, and not just behind a screen.
When you interact with your partner in person, it is pretty easy to infer the nuances in their behavior from the way they talk or behave. This is something that is completely lost in the digital space, and that is precisely why most of us don’t see the ghosting coming. Sometimes it’s gradual, late texting and lame excuses that you know aren’t true. Other times it’s a sudden disappearance into thin air, leaving you questioning the very existence of the relationship itself.
To my friends who got ghosted by someone you thought was special to you, anybody that leaves in such an abrupt manner is not worth the time you spend (over)thinking about them. Don’t waste time questioning what you did wrong, don’t ponder over alternate realities, don’t let it hit your confidence, instead focus on forgetting them. The ‘ghosting pattern’ is all too familiar to each of us, and so my friend, when you encounter it next be sure to turn away!
Does ghosting someone make you a bad person?
A common answer that comes up is that ghosting is the easiest way to end a relationship. This is a very problematic approach for in some situations it might just stand true. In some exceptional cases, people can become obsessed with online avatars or catfishes. However, it draws back to the fact that mostly it is just people getting bored with their connections. Ghosting is the easy way out for them, no drama, right?
In a lot of cases, it’s not something people do with the intent of hurting their partner, most of the time it is a defense mechanism for them. Sometimes innocent flirting can lead to something serious without realizing and let’s be real, most of us are scared of commitments. We shy away from the possibility of being vulnerable, letting all those raw feelings open for display. Scared that you will not be accepted for who you really are, the fight and flight response gets triggered and most of us choose to run.
The global pandemic cannot be ignored even if we tried. It is the bane and boon of the online dating world. Individuals locked in their homes with free time and ever whirring minds is a recipe relished by dating apps (I am guilty too). People are disassociating themselves like crazy and no one can blame them. You connect, you talk, but since you cannot meet, it can end easily. Nevertheless, to those lucky ones that swiped right on someone they can start a relationship with outside their phone screens, good luck to you guys.
In the end, I will just say that though ghosting someone feels like the easy way out, you must remember that the other person might get way more hurt than you expected. Let the pandemic be a time for us to communicate our feelings instead of hiding and running away from them. Ghosting is the evil child of online relationships; I only hope you don’t fall prey to it!