Is Ghosting Always Wrong? Here’s What Singles Have to Say


May 28, 2021
Read Time: 6 minutes

Modern dating horror stories ahead



Online dating has conditioned me to believe that every short-lived, semi-romantic connection I form will eventually end up with me being ghosted. Having the ability to detach myself so easily from potential partners has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. An advantage, for how I can easily move forward without “reflecting” someone else’s preferences to my character and even physicality. A disadvantage, because expecting the worst from every person means always having one foot out the door. I guess it comes with the territory. 


I first experienced the “brutal” reality of ghosting early on when I started virtual dating. I was talking to a guy I matched with on Bumble; we bonded over our shared love for gruesome thrillers and documentaries. After a week, he ended up deleting his account out of nowhere; I was caught off guard. Just the other day, another guy slid into my DMs, piqued my interest for a few hours with his smooth persona, even sent me a video of him playing me John Mayer’s Slow Dancing In A Burning Room. The next day, he deactivated his account. At this point, believe it or not, I was no longer surprised.  


RELATED: The Allure of Online Dating and the Relentless Pursuit to Feel Something 


Have I done the same? Truth be told, yes. But only if it’s to enforce boundaries. If I feel uncomfortable and worse, threatened, I take it upon myself to unmatch, sometimes even block another. If it’s for my own safety and well-being, I don’t feel the need to justify my decisions with an explanation. Other times, and this is often the case, it’s acknowledging that when you take away all your effort, there’s nothing else to keep a one-sided, faux relationship going—so you let it fizzle out.


I am not alone in the modern struggle. I talked to a number of singles who have dabbled in online (and real-life) dating and got their thoughts on ghosting.  


Justine, 25


Wonder: Have you ever ghosted anyone? Has anyone ever ghosted you?

Justine: Yes and yes. The first few times I got ghosted, I thought there was something wrong with me. I felt disrespected after investing time and effort getting to know someone and being dropped like a hot pancake, which wasn’t how I was taught to be treated growing up. Yet, as I continued to form connections, I found myself doing the same to others. That’s when I realized that ghosting is not to hate on the person, it’s just our non-confrontational way of saying “this ain’t it.” But at the same time, a lack of connection should not warrant a lack of respect to communicate that. This is something I’m still learning myself.


W: Why do you think people—especially in the realm of online dating—ghost?

J: I think people ghost because of two reasons: pride and lack of priority. 


I say pride because a lot of times ghosting is to have the upper hand over the person you’re doing it to—as if there’s some level of nobility being the first one who leaves, the first one who gets over quickly, or the one who takes control of the situation before it gets the better of you.


Second is lack of priority, because you don’t easily abandon people who are high up in your priority list. So when we ghost, it’s short of saying that something else is more important to [us]—it could be other responsibilities, mental health or even yourself. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the negative impact comes when you abandon someone without communicating that reason. Hence, ghosting.



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Chris, 29


Wonder: Have you ever ghosted anyone? Has anyone ever ghosted you?

Chris: I’ve “ghosted” people not in the dating world, but there have been acquaintances who I’ve cut off ties with and just didn’t respond to, especially after a falling out or if they’ve done me wrong. In terms of dating, I try not to “ghost” or leave people hanging. I like transparency and honesty, so if I’m not feeling someone, I’ll try to tell them. I don’t think it’s considered ghosting, but there have been women I’ve gone on a date with and just never followed up or tried to have a second date with. To be fair, they didn’t hit me up either, so it was a mutual understanding that the vibe wasn’t there.


I’m not sure if this is considered “ghosting,” but I’ve sent messages before and they just didn’t reply. For example, I messaged my first ever girlfriend a few years after the last time we talked—found her on FB—and apologized for some things. I was going through this reflective phase and wanted to reach out and acknowledge some of the things I did. She read the message, but didn’t reply. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting a reply—I composed my message with the expectation that there might not be a reply. So that’s not ghosting, is it?


Why do you think people—especially in the realm of online dating—ghost?

C: In the world of online dating, I think one factor to ghosting is that sometimes, it just slips people’s minds to reply. To be honest, it’s hard to juggle multiple conversation threads. There have been times where I’ve enjoyed the conversation, but then I either get busy with life outside of dating or with another conversation, and then it just feels weird to go back into an old chat and be like, “Hey! My bad for not replying for two months.” Also, I think some conversations can just be dry. Like there’s no spark or flow. No good back and forth. And it just gets tiring to carry a conversation, so I just stop texting. Idk if that’s ghosting or just part of dating. Tbh, I think some people who complain about being ghosted are just being annoying and sending hella messages and just can’t take a hint. If I feel the vibe is dying off or if a woman doesn’t respond, then I just stop texting. It’s that simple, but I don’t consider that ghosting.


Maggie, 28 


Wonder: Have you ever ghosted anyone? Has anyone ever ghosted you?

Maggie: A guy I met on Bumble blocked my number after two months of dating. I was initially frantic (my first thought being that he got into an accident) until the curtain of denial lifted and I accepted that I had in fact been ghosted. What’s trickier is when the person has no social media presence at all!


Why do you think people—especially in the realm of online dating—ghost?

M: It seems to be the easy way out rather than [having] a taxing confrontation, the anxiety of seeing someone get hurt by you, or having to go through emotional uneasiness with a person you just recently met. For me, an honest sentence would be appreciated at the least because what if I felt the same way anyway?



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Olivia, 28


Wonder: Have you ever ghosted anyone? Has anyone ever ghosted you?

Olivia: Yeah, kinda, by technical definition. So there was this guy I matched on Tinder with. He added me on Instagram. We didn’t chat much on Tinder, but on Instagram, he started replying to my Stories. At first, I kind of entertained it a bit, but I already wasn’t so into him—there was no spark or anything. He started wanting to meet up and wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I was just upfront with him…then he kept insisting. Eventually I just unfollowed him, maybe even blocked him, and he hasn’t reached out ever since. 


Have I been ghosted? Yes. After this guy and I dated for six weeks…he called it off from abroad [when he was traveling], but we still had plans to meet up when he came back. When he did, there was this agreement that we’re not gonna cut contact, we’re still just gonna casually hang and whatever; it just wasn’t gonna be a serious dating thing. After I left his place that day, his tone immediately got weird when we were chatting afterwards, and then he just stopped replying to me, and he dropped off the face of the earth.


I would have preferred that he [would have been] upfront if he really didn’t want to not see me at all in any capacity, even if it was casual. It would have been better if he just told me versus leaving those crumbs and letting me always think that there was a chance for us to start dating again. 


W: Why do you think people—especially in the realm of online dating—ghost?

O: I think it happens because one, you don’t really know the person as deeply initially so it just makes it easier to cut ties especially when all your interactions are online. Besides that, the purpose of ghosting is to primarily avoid an uncomfortable conversation, and sometimes, I think it’s justified like when you’re enforcing a boundary for your safety or comfort. But I think if it’s an out of nowhere thing where you didn’t even explain, that’s really unfair and unethical because you at least owe that person a heads up…I think if it’s a few minutes of awkwardness to treat a person with respect and dignity and, you know, not waste their time, I think ghosting is the wrong thing to do. 



RELATED: Quiz: Are You Guilty Of Negging (AKA Being Emotionally Manipulative)?


Ghosting happens for a myriad of reasons. It may be to enforce boundaries; other times, it’s to not have to deal with confrontation; for some, life just gets in the way. Whatever that may be, remember this, you are worthy of healthy, consistent love. 


Have you ever been ghosted? Have you ever ghosted anyone? Share your story with Wonder by leaving it in the comments below or sending an e-mail at talktous@localhost.


Photo @jaasalzr/Twitter

Art Alexandra Lara


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