Here’s the Tea on Why People Ghost

Picture this. You’re talking with someone on Tinder, Bumble, Gmail or whatever app is being invented these days, and things are going smoothly, meaning you guys got past the awkward small-talk stage. But before you can fantasize about which outfit screams “I look like I didn’t put any effort into this kickass outfit but jokes I secretly did” to wear for your potential first or next date, you’re met with utter radio silence.

Okay. So maybe they fell asleep or had a last-minute assignment due a day ago. A week passes and they still haven’t gotten your telepathic message to just reply already. Maybe they decided to take a road trip in the middle of school. Maybe they’re on the run from a bunch of loan sharks that feast on the painful existence of student debt. It’s cool, life happens. Whatever it is, you try your hardest not to think about that ultimate last resort: rejection. And I mean, technically you didn’t get rejected....right?

If you religiously use dating apps, the chances of being ghosted are pretty high. If that’s not the case, then maybe you are one of those mythical ghosters. If you don’t fall into either category, then you are one of the lucky unicorns out there.

It’s so easy and tempting to take that radio silence and use it to foster bitterness. People naturally want closure or some sort of resolution, and people love rejecting the idea of rejection. Ghosting somehow combines both of those lovely things. But before you decide to swear off dating forever, hear me out. From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of terrible reasons why people ghost. I’m not going to sugarcoat any of this. But there are an equal amount of genuine reasons and I wanted to shed some light on that.

1. Being vulnerable can be scary

Fear. It’s four letters long and sparks the same emotional intensity in people as love. What could you possibly be scared of? Well actually, there’s a lot. The idea of meeting this online profile in the actual world is terrifying. It means legitimate confrontation, taking risks and actually socializing. It means being vulnerable and showing them who you really are, not this dolled up version of you in your best pictures. It also means you can’t hide behind your phone screen and spend a good ten minutes thinking about what you want to say to the other person. That can be pretty scary for a lot of people, and sometimes they might need more time to adjust and get comfortable.​

2. Life happens

You know those excuses you keep handy in case one day you may need them? Sometimes they actually happen (knock on wood). Life is a rollercoaster you don’t see coming, and sometimes we’re so busy looking around and forward that we forget to look back again. Them not replying could genuinely be an honest and forgetful mistake. It’s definitely in the realm of possibility that something good or bad happened in their life and they forget about what they were doing before, and thus dating slips off their mind for a bit. 

3. It’s just not them

I’m going to be blunt - a lot of people just don’t like online dating. For some people, it can feel more impersonal. For others, they might be hoping to meet someone in a more romantic manner than a swipe to the right. Maybe they decided to try out online dating but realized that it’s just not who they are. After all, not everyone can just go meet someone they met online and be totally comfortable; it doesn’t mean they are a bad person, it just means they might not think they’re cut out for online dating, and that’s totally fine.

4. They’re genuinely terrified

Anxiety is real and so is genuine fear. We grew up in a world that basically screamed “don’t talk to strangers!” in our ears and into our subconsciousness. There are always those few online dating horror stories out there that are alarming enough to make people swear off dating apps for good. Whether or not it’s justified depends on the person and is not our judgment call to make. Safety is always a top priority and if someone doesn’t feel safe or is worried for any reason, then they’re allowed to do whatever it takes to feel safe again (within reasonable measures of course). If that means putting a halt to all online dating conversations, then they have the right to do that.

5. Personal preferences

No two people are created the same, even if personality tests beg to differ. It’s those differences that complement two sides of a relationship, but it’s also those differences that might make two people totally incompatible. Everyone is different and that means everyone will have different preferences. The truth is maybe you’re not one of those preferences. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you at all, it just means they’re looking for something else and while that can sting, it’s very common. It also means that the chances of finding someone who is looking for someone like you are much higher after filtering, so stay true to yourself and don’t let this change who you are!

It can really hurt to be on the receiving end of the ghosting treatment, but try not to take it to heart and don’t wait around too long if someone does ghost you. They could have the best reasons in the universe but that should never get in the way of your happiness. Try not to hold onto resentment, move on contentedly and meet new people if you feel ready. Our world has a funny way of being both ridiculously overpopulated and yet super small, so if you’re supposed to run into them again in the future, life will somehow make it happen.