Dating Don’ts: Thou Shalt Not Ghost

by The Frisky

GhostingPeople talk a lot about the rules of dating. Pshaw! Rules? What rules? Dating requires you to be a ninja. You barely have time to contemplate your ever-changing instincts let alone consult your antediluvian rule book. However; there is one rule that I consider my duty to adhere to, probably because it’s the thing I dread the most. To me, it’s the Golden Rule of dating and I believe the rest of humankind should be bound (perhaps by law) to follow it as well. Daters of the world, Thou Shalt Not Ghost.

Ghosting is when a person you thought you were dating vanishes into thin air without explanation. Perhaps you’ve gone on four, 11, or 32 dates with a human and then, without reason, they stop returning your texts, emails, or phone calls. They vanish from your life, much like an actual ghost vanishes when you turn on your nightlight. Does that happen to anyone else?

You’ve probably been ghosted at some point (I’m so sorry!) or maybe you were the ghoster (shame on you!). You may still be haunted by past ghostings. I know I am. Not because those ghosters were hard to get over, just because they pissed me off. There are many psychological reasons why an otherwise decent-ish person may ghost : cowardice, weakness of character, self loathing, narcissism, or pathological fear of hurting feelings. But are we going for decent? Don’t most of us want to be better than decent? But honestly, all of a ghoster’s justifications for their disappearing acts are irrelevant. Why they vaporized into thin air is not important. It’s the fact that they did.

So you may be asking yourself, “Why should I care if someone I’ve only seen a few times, who I have no investment in, ghosts me or I ghost them? Why should I have to give/listen to an explanation of why things aren’t going to work out? Why is silence so utterly unacceptable?” Because it sets a precedent. The people you date are not disposable. They are just like you — other ninjas looking for love. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in having respect and compassion for other human beings — their time, their feelings, their effort to go on dates with you. You are not owed their company, it’s a privilege and should be treated as such, even if you’re not “feelin’ them.”

Let me simplify this for you: If you don’t want to date me anymore, have the decency to tell me so. If it’s difficult for you to tell me in person, at least shoot me a vague, yet polite email that you will be moving on along. And likewise, if I don’t want to see you again romantically, I will tell you so, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel.

So there you have it, you’ve heard my plea. Let’s make the dating world a more humane place.

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.



    this is one of the most painful things that i think can happen to someone. ive had it happen to me as well as the fade out where they slowly but surely go ghost. it hurts really bad but forget them they are insensitive a-holes!

  • theSoul

    Wow…this is my life in a post! Happened to me two weeks ago. poof..he’s gone. Oh well.

  • CosmicGirlEssentials (@CosmicGirlLuv)

    OMG…yes, this has happened to me. It was so rude especially when everything was going well (at least I thought it was). Funny thing is I was riding my bike and actually ran into that fool. He was in the park on the bench with another woman of course. The bench was right on the bike path so I knew it was him. I rode passed, hit the brakes, got off my bike and walked right up to the both of them and said to him: um, excuse me may I talk to you for a second, he excused himself and we walked a few feet away from the bench. It was my opportunity and I took it. We had a calm conversation though, no real answers but he acknowledged that how he parted ways was foul. Hmph! Tie up your loose ends people they may just ride by on a bike! LOL ;-)

  • Keshia

    I have a “male friend”, who I use to like a lot who does this, it is very annoying, when he text I don’t even respond anymore…there is no point communicating with him when I know he is just going to disappear

  • Ash

    This guy and I were dating for a couple of months and it was going wonderfully…then he went GHOST. And I mean, super ghost! It was difficult and I was left with tons of unanswered questions but I handled my feelings and moved on.

    Shortly after, this same guy sparked up another causal relationship with me. This time he did and said tons of things that made me think I didn’t want a relationship, let alone a friendship with him. So I went ghost very gradually…Not on purpose, I just didn’t want to put the effort in to being his friend. His response to my “ghostness”, call up my phone to the point where I had to block him calling me tons of nasty names for not returning his calls. *Sigh*, really!

  • yr

    That is cruel. It will (always) leave you wondering if you did something wrong; even though, we don’t suppose to think like that. I think its common courtesy not to go ghost.

  • Kay

    I think that is so rude and cowardly. If I have a problem with someone, no longer want to date them, or just have things i need to resolve and need some space, I always them know, point-blank-period. The worst that can happen is that you will hurt their feelings, but they will more than likely respect the fact that you were honest. In fact, there were guys that I just didn’t connect with romantically and I let them know and they turned out to be really good friends and acquaintances. They respected the fact that I was up front and one or two of them felt the same way I did and were relieved that I was adult enough to discuss it and bring it up. I think just ignoring a person is just so childish. Just tell people what you want and let the chips fall where they may.

  • K

    i completely agree with this article …its just rude to ghost and disposable yasssssss key word horrible horrible treatment of others not to mention if you just told the person they wouldnt be calling you still a week or so later because u already told him whats up…cowards!!

  • chanela17

    i think clutch should do an article talking about REAL ghosts. i’ve always wondered how other black people feel about ghosts and spirits and other supernatural things because some of that stuff IS real. i wonder if any of the writers have a ghost story to tell : )

  • Not So Nice NiceGuy

    This happened to me. I was dating this woman for 2 months while also studying to take the pcat. Toward the time i was to take the test i decided that i wanted to take things to another level but i wanted to wait until after the test (i didn’t want to lose focus in case she declined)She went out of town when i took the test and i never heard from her again. Ironically, as i was exiting a local expressway she was in her car also exiting one day. I didn’t even look over to see her our wave. Then, few months later while browsing an internet dating site i saw that she had moved to DC. I didn’t message her. But it was one of the few times i cared about getting let go by someone i was only dating. I’ll never forget how she just up and disappeared

  • CeeCee

    Omg..this has happened to me. I had been talking to this guy every single day and we have gone out multiple times. So one day we went to the movies, I forgot which movie it was, but he fell asleep in the theater. I woke him up at the end of the movie and he said it was the most boring a$$ movie he has ever seen. Afterwards we had planned on going out to eat, but he decided to get something to take home. In the car on our way home, he said that he regretted allowing me to pick out the movie and that he was bummed that he paid for such a bad movie; I haven’t talked to him since. Is it possible that my bad choices in movies drove him away? lol

Latest Stories

Watch: ‘Black People Mate’ a Parody About the Ridiculous Stats on Black Women & Dating


University President Under Fire for Wanting to Make School Less White In the Future


Taraji P. Henson Says European Men Are Less ‘Bitter’ and ‘Jaded’ Than American Men


Style Inspiration: Casual Work Outfits

More in ghosting, the frisky
6 Reasons To Take A Dance Class, Like, Right Now

Dating Don’ts: 10 Things You Should Never Say To Your Man In Bed