In its purest form, “ghosting” is a brutal thing to do to another person. I mean, it’s outright sociopathic. For those of you over 35, ghosting occurs when you’ve been going out with someone*, and you want to end it, but you also want to avoid confrontation entirely. So, instead of sacking up and dealing with your problems, you disappear. You stop answering calls/texts, change your address, and you may even change jobs if you’re really committed. It is a total overhaul of your daily life simply to avoid a single uncomfortable confrontation. Now, this approach is super fucked up for a couple of reasons: not only will it wreak havoc on the victim’s self-confidence, but will undoubtedly cause them to question their own sanity (i.e. whether or not you existed in the first place).
Granted, the more common form of this technique is not nearly so twisted as that; however, it is arguably just as spineless, if not more. At it’s most watered-down, ghosting has become just one more way for my generation to avoid awkward conversations. It begins when a young man asks a girl on a date from behind a keyboard, and the girl opts to reject the invitation, but doesn’t want to actually turn him down. So, instead, she does nothing. She ignores the invitation, and pretends like it never happened.**
I sincerely believe that this type of behavior marks the start of a downward spiral in the way that my generation interacts with one another: a pussification of the dating norms, if you will. We didn’t like how squishy our feelings felt, so we decided to automate the entire process. This approach makes it much easier to plead ignorance (or intoxication), so we can brush it off as one big fuckin’ joke, and retreat with our egos unscathed. On the other side of it, avoiding confrontation because you don’t want to be mean is great in theory, but in practice, it’s a real dick move. You are refusing to acknowledge another human being. Do you have any idea how disrespectful that is? Or are you just too wrapped up in your own arrogance to remember that other people also have feelings? You stop responding, and they’re just supposed to take the hint?
Oh, and guys…STOP TAKING THE HINT, YOU GIGANTIC PUSSY. Stand-up straight, and ask her out in person. Make her turn you down to your face. You may not get a date but you will earn her respect. And honestly, you don’t even have to listen to the whole thing. Once she says “Oooh I think you’re a really great guy” or some version of it, you can tune out. It’s safe to say that whatever comes out of her mouth after that is not going to be good news. Just make sure you maintain eye contact, especially if she’s actively trying to avoid it. Let her squirm. It’s good for both of you.
*Or “talking to someone” as my generation has so concommittally coined.
**Yes, I understand that guys do it, too. However, I write from experience, and given the gender ratio of my current town, the perpetrators are almost exclusively female. Feel free to reverse the roles to fit your own experience.