Ghost Cartoon

To Ghost or Not to Ghost: 5 Simple Texts You Can Send Instead

We’ve all either been ghosted or been the ghost ourselves at one point or another. Neither side is easy, but I think the lack of control when you’re on the receiving end makes it all the more hurtful. You can’t help but playback every moment in your mind, wondering what you did wrong — or even what you could’ve done to make them stay.

No matter how many times we get ghosted ourselves, we continue to do it anyway. Perhaps it’s the lack of clarity that has come with online dating (and its creation of things like ghosting and breadcrumbing), that causes us to question whether it’s too dramatic, or even necessary, to verbalize our newfound disinterest in people we are just casually dating. 

We’ve all been on both sides of the exchange, and at the end of the day, know why we do it: the convenience of avoiding confrontation feels too enticing. We grew up being told “honesty is the best policy,” but oftentimes the fear of discomfort outweighs our pre-established understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. In a recent study, 38 percent of men ghosted to avoid potential confrontation, while 50 percent of women did the same. Verbalizing that you’re “just not into it” anymore is uncomfortable, and the prospect of hurting someone’s feelings feels even worse — so we ghost. 

We know it’s hurtful. We know that we, as ghostees, would appreciate a simple text instead of radio silence. Yet we choose convenience over decency every time. 

The only way to end the epidemic of ghosting once and for all is to normalize clear and direct communication. The dating world, which nowadays takes place almost entirely online, feels so vague and digital that it’s easy to lose touch with the concept of expressing your needs to the people around you. 

In an attempt to save potential ghosts across the board the heavy legwork, I have put together a few templates that you can use (and even put in a simple text!) to tell the people you’re dating you’re just not feeling it anymore. Human decency is now as simple as copy and paste.

 

  1. 1. “It’s been nice getting to know you but I don’t feel a connection here. Best of luck!”

    woman on phone in a coffee shop

    Simple and sweet — regardless of other factors, at the end of the day this is the main reason people ghost. It’s not too detailed, yet honest.

  2. 2. “I’ve been doing some thinking, and I’m really not in the place to be dating anyone right now. I hope you understand.”

    Anna Schultz-Girl Sitting On Bed Facing Wall

    This one feels kind of like a copout — I know I’ve heard this a time or two, and feel the aftershocks when I see them in an exclusive relationship a month later. However, if after doing some internal work you realize this is the cause of your lack of interest, it’s always best to be upfront.

  3. 3. “I think you’re an awesome person but I’m realizing that I’m super busy and not able to give a relationship the priority it deserves. I hope you understand!”

    This one is another copout but it has a little more context. Maybe you really are swamped with work or family obligations. At least you give some kind of reason, and show respect for their time by expressing that you don’t want to waste it.

  4. 4. “Hey ____! I think you’re great and I’ve enjoyed spending time with you, but I see us better off as friends.”

    man and woman sitting on a bench

    I have gone on dates with people that I felt no romantic attraction to, but I still thought they were super cool. They may not be interested in being friends, but at least you’re leaving the door open. 

  5. 5. 5. “I want to be honest with you — I met someone else recently and although I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, I think it would be best if we didn’t pursue this further. I wish you the best of luck!”

    silhouette of man and woman kissing at sunset

    Although it’s one of the most painful reasons to be ghosted, it’s actually really common in the fast-paced world of online dating. Telling someone the truth before they get too attached gives them the opportunity to make a pivot, and find someone whose feelings are truly mutual.

We can’t control what other people do, but we can each set the example by showing the people we date human decency, and expressing our feelings promptly and clearly. It may hurt in the moment, but the feeling won’t last as long as the aftershocks of abrupt silence.