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How to Ghost Your Dates With Class

Ghosting is one of those practices that has been spawned by the world of online dating. If you don't already know, ghosting is when guys or girls completely cut off communication with their dates, never to be heard from again. Essentially, they turn themselves into "ghosts" with no contact details, no further messages and no hope of regaining contact.

Sounds cold right?

Well, yes, ghosting can be cruel and hurtful for the people who are targeted. Nobody likes being given the cold shoulder by dates, and we naturally seek explanations about why relationships fail. When you're ghosted, you have no idea why. But here's something to think about: sometimes, maybe ghosting is the best way to deal with relationships that aren't going anywhere. A clean break can be good for both partners. Then again, let's be honest. Most of the time ghosting is purely selfish. Whether you are looking for a way out for the right reasons or you just want to move from partner to partner with no hassle, here's how ghosting is done.

woman looking bored at her date
An unsatisfying date can be the trigger for ghosting

When to Ghost and When Not to Ghost

Before we start, let's be clear about ethical boundaries. There are times when it's fine to ghost, times when it's just about OK and times when it's simply unacceptable. Try to limit yourself to the first two. For example, if you are in a fuck buddy situation and it's threatening to get serious, it's fine to pull the plug abruptly. But if you know you've given your partner an STD or they may be pregnant - don't even think about ghosting. That's a time to confess, stand up tall and take responsibility.

Resist the Temptation to Lie

Now: let's be really clear about some ghosting no-nos. When you cut off a lover, it often feels like you owe them an explanation. It could be you're moving to another country, an ex has rekindled an old passion. Hell, sometimes it's tempting to come out as gay just to be rid of an annoying partner who won't get the message. However, try as hard as possible to resist the urge to tell stories. These stories will complicate the issue. Your partner will come back with questions and after the break they will be more likely to seek you out to find answers. The trick is simple: keep things as simple as possible. Don't spend days dreaming up a watertight alibi. Concentrate on summoning up the courage to ghost like boss. That means severing your connection completely, with no bullshit whatsoever.

Get into the Mindset to Ghost From the Start

A lot of people don't realize how online dating has changed the way we start and finish relationships. They don't see how automated and robotic the process of finding mates has become. They think that courting and romance are still relevant concepts, and that you need to let relationships bloom over months or even years to find out whether people are truly compatible. This is important: chuck those ideas out of the window straight away.

Modern dating is cold by design. With so much choice and computer systems filtering users to find the perfect match, you can pick and choose however you like. And you can find out more about people before even meeting them. You don't need to court for months. Now, you should go into the dating battlefield with a clear-sighted, ruthless streak. If relationships aren't going to work out, you can tell from the start. Don't get sentimental and let them drift. Develop the ability to ghost partners who are obviously won't measure up before anything remotely serious develops.

girl looking at her phone and notebook
Once you have ghosted you can't go back

Know When Ghosting is Out of the Question

It's not enough to simply be ready to ghost after a couple of dates. Sometimes you get drawn into more serious affairs and lovers start to find out more about you. As soon as they know your regular social haunts, your sports team, your school, workplace, home address and phone number, ghosting becomes impossible. So always have a cut-off point in mind. After your lover knows enough, the only way out is to break up properly. Otherwise, ghosting can cause carnage.

Don't Back Down

When you decide to ghost someone, never do it in a non-committed, half-hearted fashion. Go all the way. If you have reservations about deleting a phone number, blocking an email and turning a blind eye to social media posts, ghosting probably isn't for you. But if you're OK with it, steel yourself against back-sliding. Ghosting is forever, remember, and it takes a strong will to succeed.

Think About the Geography of Ghosting

If you were thinking of having an affair, would it be sensible to check out swingers in your street? No. For obvious reasons, it makes sense to look further afield, where nobody knows your face. The same applies to ghosting. If you ghost people in your neighborhood, be prepared for blowback. You are guaranteed to meet that kooky girl with multiple nasal piercings at your favorite bar. That girl you slept with twice and then never spoke to again? She's right there in the homeware aisle of the Kmart trying out the grips on the kitchen knives. Here's the smart way to do it: take risk out of the equation and only ghost in areas away from your home. You can never tell how ghosted exes will respond, so try to minimize the chance of seeing them.

crying girl holding her face in her hands
Always remember ghosting can hurt people - you have to deal with it

Don't Talk Yourself Into Relationships

The way you present yourself and the way you talk on dates is another important factor in ghosting. Think about it: how much more emotionally crushing is it when a girl cuts of all contact with you, if the last date was amazing and she said that she was really into you? If you are serious about ghosting, be careful with your language. Don't be the kind of person who tells dates that they like them just to maximize your chances of sex. Try not to give the impression that you want a longer-term relationship even though your mind is really on how to ghost the person sitting opposite you. It's hard to be honest with dates, but it really does make ghosting much, much easier.

Think About It: Do You Really Need to Ghost?

When is it OK to ghost? That's the important question. Is it ever OK to refuse to offer explanations to lovers and cut off all contact forever? Yes, and here's why. Ghosting shatters illusions. That's not a bad thing. When we date, we naturally start to tell ourselves stories about how attractive, intelligent or funny our dates are. These illusions can entangle us in inappropriate relationships and obsessions that are, frankly, more dangerous than being ghosted ever could be. If you can see that someone is forming that kind of image of you, ghosting could be the only way to bring them back down to earth. Otherwise, think hard about whether you are the kind of person who has it in them to ghost. If you are just ghosting to flit between online dates, have a second thought. Is it better to be honest and just tell people you aren't into them, or to never speak to them again? Only you can really tell whether ghosting is the right way to go.

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Image sources: Image 1 - djoronimo | Image 2 - stokkete | Image 3 - Kaspars Grinvalds | Fotolia.com