I have ghosted people.
I actually just learned it has a term. Ghosting is when you are getting to know someone, even possibly dating or in a relationship with them, but then you suddenly disappear without warning. You simply stop responding to their attempts to contact you and you never give them an explanation. It can even happen in friendships.
I thought it was naturally a part of life and dating. When you graduate from school, you naturally drift apart from people. You lose touch with childhood friends. When you leave a job, you stop talking to co-workers. If you are dating someone and you're both not really feeling the vibe, then you lessen contact and you both go your separate ways. I also never assume that someone is dating only me unless they have expressed a desire to be monogamous. I will be honest that I haven't given every person I interacted with a full explanation as to why we are no longer friends or dating.
There was a time that I intentionally ghosted someone. We met briefly and he asked for my phone number. I was on my way somewhere, so I obliged. He called me the next day and we talked for hours. By the end of it, we both knew a little about one another and had discovered some things in common. It felt promising, but I was still dating other people. The next morning I received a "Good Morning" text at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I'm not exactly an early bird. He had to go to work early and decided to text me. I assumed he was just excited so I responded and rolled back over to go back to sleep. I heard my phone vibrate several more times. I looked at the display and it looks like the beginning of a conversation. I decided to be nice and engage the conversation even though I had been out drinking the night before.
When he finally said he had to work, I rolled back over and was back in a deep slumber. But, I thought to myself, who texts someone at the butt-crack of dawn and carries on a conversation. Later that afternoon, he called me and we had another lengthy conversation. I explained I wasn't a morning person and maybe he should wait until a little later to text me. He was at a party with his friends so I kept trying to end the call so he could enjoy the party. He ignored my attempts and tried to keep the conversation going. He probably assumed I would feel special, but I didn't want to create the expectation that I would ignore my friends if he called. Sunday morning, I was greeted once again at 5 a.m. with a "Good Morning" text and a conversation. By this time, we had talked a total of two times, but he was telling me I was going to be his future wife. I told him about my plans for the day which was to attend a party with family. He tried to convince me to meet him before I went to the party. I felt like he was being pushy as I explained I had established plans. It was then that I realized my boundaries weren't being respected at all. He was still a stranger to me but I was already noticing there were glaring fundamental differences.
I tried to explain that I wasn't ready for anything serious, but he ignored that. I became less and less available which increased the intensity of his contact. This all occurred in less than a week. I started to feel nervous about encouraging him so I ghosted him completely and cut off all contact. He wasn't happy and let me know in several successive texts until eventually he understood I wouldn't respond. I didn't feel good about it, but I didn't feel that I would've been able to convince him that we weren't connecting the way he thought we were. He wasn't listening to me.
It didn't help that when I met him I was still nursing a breakup. My last relationship started before social media was huge and ended when everyone was swiping right and swiping left. I find the new social media dating landscape to be a little confusing. The addition of social media feels like dating on steroids. I think it creates a false sense of intimacy because we spend days sharing our thoughts and pictures about our life. It can feel like you know a stranger better than you actually do. I have enjoyed conversations with a stranger only to have him reveal that he has made the mental leap that we are involved despite the fact that we have never met and I know very little about him. There is a romanticized idea that if someone lets you into their social media that you have been let into their mind. I have been guilty of feeling that way as well and being sucked into thinking I knew someone better than I actually knew them because of personas. I call social media, "A playground for the mind," but not all of us are innocently playing.
I also feel pressure when getting to know someone to be constantly available to them either through text or messenger. If I'm posting to my timeline, then someone will pop up and expect to initiate a conversation. I've even ignored a text message to have someone post a comment to my Facebook wall to tell me they sent me a text message. It's so easy to cyber-stalk someone or to feel as though you are being avoided because we are developing an unrealistic expectation of being available to one another 24 hours of the day. It's probably just my personality, but I like to be alone sometimes. There are times when I just don't want to talk to people, but it can lead to suspicion or accusations of ignoring someone. I feel like I have to hide. If I'm not answering texts, then I also can't post to my timeline on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I have to prove I'm feeling anti-social by not showing up on any medium. I'm not sure if I'm wrong for having the expectation of not talking to someone when I don't want to or if we all have too high expectations of being in constant contact. But, I would also guess it plays into the feeling of being ignored when you know and can see the person interacting online while ignoring your contact. In the past, maybe you would never see them again. You wouldn't be aware that they moved on or who they moved on with.
This may come across as if I'm trying to excuse the times I've ghosted. I'm not. I take accountability that occasionally I have done it because I viewed it as a way to avoid an awkward situation. I may have felt uncomfortable. Instead of being an adult and expressing it, I disappeared and assumed time would explain my absence. It wasn't the best way to handle the situation. I have been ghosted as well by someone I was involved with. I found it to be confusing when all of the sudden my texts and messages weren't responded to or it took days for him to get back to me. But, I have no room to complain because I have done the same thing. Maybe, I'm a little desensitized to it because I understand why it happens and I assume that they are just uncomfortable. There is no easy way to reject someone and it hardly ever goes well.
I find navigating the dating world with social media to be confusing with the new rules and expectations. And, I think we don't always make the right decision when dealing with other people. In a perfect world, every person you get involved with would never leave you with a question mark, but that's just not how human nature works. Someone may not even know why they aren't interested or why they don't want to talk to you anymore. Sometimes, they meet someone else right after they get to know you and they simply become lost in that person. This happened with a friend of mine who I had fixed up with my friend. He met another woman at the same time that I introduced him to my friend. He liked her better and asked me to break it to my friend. I did. He went on to marry that woman and my friend went on to marry someone else.
My whole point of writing this is if someone ghosts you that you shouldn't assume that it is your fault or even take it personally. I agree that it is rude. But, if someone doesn't want to be involved with you or doesn't see your worth, then removing themselves is the best thing for you. You won't keep pursuing someone who is a waste of time. It's also important not assume that it is some major character flaw of yours that caused the ghosting. You maybe just weren't a good fit for them, but it doesn't mean someone else won't think you are everything they are looking for. Don't cyber-stalk them. Don't obsess over what happened. You may never get an answer. It's not a trend I think will end soon, in fact, I think it will intensify as social media is woven more into the fabric of our lives. But, I don't think it just started with social media. I'm pretty sure this was an issue around the time Caller-ID became popular. At that time, you could consider yourself, "screened."
As for me, I should stop ghosting people. I'm now aware of how it affects the other person. But, I can't guarantee it won't happen because every situation is different. I'm sure this will rub some people the wrong way, but my aim was to explain how it occurs. All I can do is be the best person I can be in every situation, but I won't always handle the situation the best way.