Ghosting has become a common practice in modern dating over the last few years. Rather than having a conversation or even sending a text to end a relationship, one party just decides to disappear. Is this the most elegant break up or is it rude, rude, rude? By the way, the correct answer is – rude.
A Primer for those Uninitiated
Here today, gone tomorrow – oh, the infamous New York love story. If you’ve been swiping left and right for the last few years or even if you happened to meet a seemingly nice girl or guy at work (yes, a former colleague of mine was ghosted by someone who works for the same company, in the same building) you are probably familiar with the practice of ghosting.
In case you aren’t – well lucky you, but here’s a helpful definition (and welcome to dating in the city) – the act of breaking up with someone by disappearing – failing to respond to text messages and calls. Sometimes occurs inexplicably after months of dating; although it’s usually a break up protocol used in the earlier stages of seeing someone.
My Own Experience With Ghosting
Once, I was ghosted after dating someone for four months! I laugh about this now because it’s just so absurd. However, when it happened, I couldn’t believe it. Additionally, if I weren’t so cynical (I think I came out of the womb jaded) I would’ve thought the guy had dropped dead, but I knew that was not likely to be the case. Ghosting happens so frequently. In fact, another one of my friends and I agreed that we just shrug our shoulders and move on since it’s such a common occurrence. Remember though, just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t mean that it’s ok, nice, or appropriate.
While ghosting is never condoned, at least on this blog, if you absolutely must do it – know that (1) you’re a coward and need to grow up; and (2) this tactic can only be used between dates one and three. After the third date, your opportunity for ghosting really has passed.
On the flip side, one of my friends once described ghosting as the most elegant way to break up. No mess, no fuss, one of the parties just disappears and that’s the end of it. At the risk of sounding heavy though, everyone wants closure – so man or woman up, rip that Band-Aid off, and just have that awkward break up chat. Even a text is preferred to ghosting.
ETIQUETTE FOR BREAKING UP LIKE AN ADULT
Even if it were only a few dates, ending things is never easy. It always involves some level of awkwardness, but here are some tips to help things go a little smoother.
Pick An Appropriate Venue
If you’re meeting in person, a public place that also allows for a bit of privacy such as a bar where you can sit at a table or a park where you can walk and there aren’t likely to be prying ears in close proximity is best. Also, if you are going to meet in person – at best be prepared to pick up the check and at worst be prepared to be wearing your drink. That’s very dramatic, but if you think there’s a high chance of a “scene” occurring, be sure to give the meeting place a lot of thought. It’s probably best to meet where you’re unlikely to run into a lot of friends or colleagues.
But, You Don’t Always Need An In Person Meet Up
An exception to the above and perhaps a controversial viewpoint, I don’t think it’s always necessary to meet in person. While I don’t really love texting to break up, I think a phone call is fine, especially if the relationship were relatively short. Life in New York is busy, and some girl bosses would rather not spend an evening getting dolled up only to be dumped (we would much rather use that time plotting our rise to the C-suite, brainstorming ideas for a new startup, or just catching up with a girl friend).
Be Kind And Stick To The Point
While I’m all about honesty, you probably don’t need to list out your partner’s shortcomings in detail or focus on petty gripes. For example, don’t tell your soon to be ex-lady that the reason you’re breaking up with her is because she wears too much leopard print (this actually happened to me once – I own about two articles of clothing with animal print and both are very tasteful). Especially if the relationship is young, I think it’s fine to deploy a bit of a white lie such as blaming a busy work schedule or that you just don’t feel a spark with the person upon further consideration (which actually could very likely be true). Don’t list all the reasons you dislike them – after all, it doesn’t matter anyway – if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
Don’t Burn Your Bridges
This may be yet another unpopular viewpoint, but unless something really went wrong, it’s possible for relationships to evolve and you never know, that ex-boyfriend or girlfriend might be a great business contact or friend once feelings have settled down.
Tell me about your experiences with ghosting in the comments! I’m so curious about what everyone thinks – would anyone dare agree with my unnamed friend that it’s the most elegant way to break up?