Stop calling it “ghosting”

Ah, the new dating term that basically means a person stopped talking to/pursuing you without explanation. In my terms, however, it’s when they quite frankly didn’t have the balls to be upfront and honest with you. I’ve read numerous articles and stories about the tragic tales of people (mostly girls, mind you) putting themselves out there, falling for someone, thinking that person is feeling the same, and ending up confused and in varying degrees of heartbreak. You’re left with questions, what ifs, and loads of regret. I don’t think I know anyone that hasn’t gone through this. I’ve experienced it a few times and I can honestly say it never gets easier. Time after time you’re screwed over, you still don’t see it coming. Sometimes you have a slight inkling, but you tell yourself that you’re being irrational and it’s most likely all in your head. However, I’ve learned over the course of my 21 years that there is nothing more annoying than my gut instinct, because it’s almost always right. If something feels even a little off, it often is.

My first experience with “ghosting” was back in high school, right after freshman year. I was…talking, I guess, to this guy that I had liked for quite some time. By talking, I mean texting. We never talked in person, mainly because I was extremely shy and insecure, felt like my personality sucked and couldn’t hold a conversation to save my life. He was pretty popular, but not so much so that I thought he was an asshole. Long story short, he and I were texting for a few months, talked about hanging out one weekend, and then he got a girlfriend the next. Out of fucking nowhere. I was distraught for a few hours, but pulled myself together and realized he sucked, it was his loss, and not mine. Looking back now, I know it was for the best, anyway, because after running into him last summer, he still cannot figure out where a girl’s eyes are located (if you know what I mean).

The most recent time I was “ghosted” was this past summer. I gave good, ole Tinder a try (I know, bad idea. Believe me, I see that now.), and after being pursued by this guy I matched with, who went to school in my hometown, I decided to give a date with him a try. I was nervous, excited, all the good and nerve-wracking emotions you feel before a first date, but I tried my hardest not to think too much going into it, and hoped for the best. Well, the date was great. He was even better looking in person, which doesn’t happen often, and we hit it off really well. He made me laugh, I made him laugh, there was obvious attraction on both ends, and we ended the night by watching The Office after going to dinner and then the bars for a little bit with his friends. Basically, long story short, neither of us really tried as hard after that first date to see each other. We both liked each other, we both agreed we wanted to pursue a relationship, and we continued texting on and off for the next few weeks. The next time we got together was good, too. Things were still a little awkward (like most “getting to know each other” stages are), but it wasn’t so much so that we couldn’t hold a conversation or anything. He wanted me to spend the night, simply sleep over, nothing more, but I decided to head home, instead. After that, things were great again for a couple of weeks. We both tried harder, kept the texting going, and even tried making plans to see each other again.

And then it stopped.

I started feeling like I was the only one trying to see the other, text first, and basically put in all of the effort. I was becoming more and more frustrated, not to mention humiliated. I don’t like to put myself out there (does anyone, really?), and this was the perfect example as to why. He just stopped showing interest, altogether, most likely because he lost it at some point. All I know is, I wasted my summer pursuing a childish, little boy who couldn’t be straight-forward with me. Am I mad still? A little. Will I eventually get over it and learn from it? Of course I will. It just takes time for some wounds to heal. Regardless, it still hurt, I was humiliated, and was left with no idea as to what specifically went wrong.

So, where am I going with this? Why do I keep telling my sob stories about guys who didn’t give a shit? Why the fuck is this article titled “Stop calling it ghosting” when I keep referring to it as “ghosting”?

Well, let me explain.

When something gets labeled as a term, it tends to lose its true meaning. What I mean is, ghosting has become so common and nearly uninteresting, that it’s become a term people use light-heartedly.

Stop giving inexcusable behavior “trendy” names. It’s not cool. It’s not okay. It’s not something we should look at as “trendy” like a fashion trend or the next big thing. I get it, sometimes you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or be to0 harsh or make them cry or whatever. I totally get it; I’ve done it to a guy before, too. I felt awful about it and never wanted to hurt the person, but I’m not going to call what I did a stupid, little term like “ghosting” just to make light of it.

I was an asshole, plain and simple. I refused to take the mature road and admit to a person (WHO HAD INTEREST IN ME) that I didn’t feel the same way about them. We’ve all done it, or had it done to us, and it sucks on both ends in some degree. However, I dwelled on the people I hurt for quite some time afterward. I knew how it felt to be given the permanent cold shoulder in the end, and it’s never fun, nor easy, so how could I do it to someone else?

Well that’s not the point of this article. The point being that we need to stop giving shitty behavior excuses. Calling it “ghosting” is a joke. It’s not real. Let’s face “ghosting” for what it truly is: a coward that’s too scared to be honest with someone in order to protect themselves or the person from any sort of negative outcome.

But that’s just it: the better outcome is to be straightforward, don’t beat around the bush or leave someone wondering “what if” for weeks or months to come. Because guess what? It hurts, and the person will most likely assume the problem was them.

Let’s just stop calling it “ghosting”, because we know for a fact that people will continue to reject and be rejected. It’s a part of life that sucks and will always suck, but at least we can stop being assholes and using a stupid, fucking 21st century term to make shitty behavior sound “trendy.”

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