I’m going to come right out and say it: ghosting hurts! If you’ve ever been ghosted—that heart-sinking feeling when someone you were connecting with or dating suddenly disappears without a trace—you’re not alone. Far from it. Ghosting can be hurtful and confusing—there’s no way around that. But, that feeling doesn’t have to rule your life. Instead, let’s look at some advice to help reclaim your confidence in the dating world.
1. Consider sending a “closure” message.
This is advice I have given before, and admittedly, not every dating coach agrees. I understand that when someone ghosts you, you may not want to give them the satisfaction of showing them that you cared or that it hurt. But you did care. And it did hurt. And I encourage everyone to express how someone’s actions made them feel. So, if you were ghosted, I recommend saying something like this:
“Hi [person’s name who ghosted], I had really enjoyed our time together and was hoping to continue getting to know each other, so I’m disappointed I didn’t hear back from you. Just wanted to close the loop. Wish you the best.”
Here’s what this message does: Shows that you noticed the other person’s behavior (the ghosting) and didn’t like it, gives you the final word, and, in the absence of the other person providing closure for you, you have now given it to yourself.
Sending this message is the end. Once you send it, delete it from your phone. You will not be getting a response from the ghoster. That’s not the point of the message. The ghoster already closed the door for you. You’re just using the deadlock.
2. Allow yourself to feel.
Feelings of anger, hurt, or disappointment are completely normal after being ghosted. In fact, they are often worse than when someone actually breaks up with you because they’re combined with confusion and uncertainty. Give yourself permission to process those emotions and mourn the “could have been.”
3. Don’t blame yourself.
It’s not you; it’s them. Truly. Ghosting is a reflection of the other person’s inability to communicate maturely, not a reflection of your value or worth. No one has the right to determine that but you. So try to avoid internalizing or blaming yourself for what happened. There are often no predictors of when someone will ghost, so you can’t kick yourself for missing something.
4. Don’t social media stalk.
Yes, this person is alive. Yes, they are avoiding you. I take that back—they are ignoring you, not avoiding you. So don’t give them another minute of your time. Block on all social media platforms immediately. This is for your own mental health and sanity.
5. Don’t social media stalk.
Regardless of how awful this feels, remember that, in the words of Ted Lasso, all people are different people. Just because the next person you date has a few things in common with the person who ghosted you, that does not mean the outcome will be the same.
One final note on whether to know if you’re being ghosted and how it relates to this last point:
I received this question the other day: “We had two very fun dates, and we got along very well. We talked every day from the first date. Yesterday he called me on the phone, but today I wrote to him and he never answered me. Should I wait? Or just move on?”
My response was this: “You’re letting a little delay in text overshadow two amazing dates and daily communication?! Take a step back, breathe, and have the confidence that nothing has changed since your last conversation. He’s probably at the movies!”
Here’s the thing—it sounds like she’s been ghosted in the past (and perhaps has some anxious attachment), but based on this interaction alone, she is not being ghosted at all. All of the negative energy from those past experiences is creeping into something new and potentially wonderful, and I just hope her worries don’t actually cause her to behave differently, and thereby blame this new guy she likes for someone else’s misdeeds. Then history has a chance of repeating itself.
In the end, ghosting is not going anywhere. It should, but it won’t. Why? Technology. Some people’s inability—or lack of desire—to communicate like an adult. We can’t control other people, though. All we can do is be aware of how we feel, respond appropriately, and move forward… with someone more deserving of our time.