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Friday, May 13, 2016

To Ghost or Not To Ghost (A Millennial Question)

I’m fascinated by language and how it evolves, especially when we feel the need to create a new word. Sometimes I see clear connections between events and the words they create: cameras on cell phones became the norm, making it easier to take/share self-portraits, and self-portraits became “selfies.” Self-portraits are nothing new, but when we started talking about them more frequently, we created a new (shorter) word.  But there are other additions to our language that are more puzzling to me. Was there an increase in older women dating younger men that prompted us to create the term “cougar”?  How did “Netflix and chill” become code for “Let’s hook up”?

And why did “ghosting” become a thing? If you’re not familiar with the term, “ghosting” is when someone suddenly disappears from a relationship. One day you’re dating/involved with someone, and the next they don’t respond to texts, phone calls, etc.  This isn't a new phenomenon, but I think in the past it was just called “rude.”  However, when I recently posted on Facebook about how I think ghosting is rude, I was surprised to find many people were pro-ghosting.

I get why people want to ghost.  To start 2016 off with a Clean Slate I had to have several breakup conversations and we all hate those conversations, right?  Also, there are so many gray areas of dating, and it can be tough to tell what level involvement requires what level of breakup conversation.  But being the person who is ghosted on can range from awkward to heartbreaking.  If it's someone you went on a mediocre first date with, meh.  But if you've been exclusively dating for months, WTF.  

I tried to ghost a guy I met on New Years Eve this year, and couldn't do it.  He was texting me and I felt bad not responding at all, so I texted him something along the lines of "Let's just leave it at New Years" and he was cool about it.  And honestly, I felt so much better being upfront about it.

Part of what's so strange about ghosting is that it can be hard to tell if the person is ghosting or not.  If someone doesn't respond to one text, is that ghosting?  Or if you make vague plans but never solid plans?  And I realized that ghosting leaves a lot of room to assume the worst, either about the other person ("He/she never meant anything they said") or yourself ("*insert insecurity* is totally why he/she isn't texting me").  To anyone who ghosts, if you need incentive not to ghost, just assume that if you ghost the other person will think you're an asshole.  If you want them to think you're an asshole, then ghost away I suppose.

I'm currently in one of those "Is he ghosting...?" situations, which I don't have much patience for.  Part of what's been strange to me is that I worked with this guy a while back (not Boyfriend, he's history) so we actually know each other as people/have mutual friends/might have to work together again at some point, so ghosting seems extra awkward.  Also, he gave me his number (without me asking) and said, "Hit me up."  Why would someone do that if they don't actually want the person to contact them?  *reaction* 

The more I've dated, the more I value honesty and clarity.  Really, the more I've lived and interacted with human beings, the more I value honesty and clarity.  I like people who mean what they say and say what they mean.  I know this is easier said than done, I struggle with it myself.  I'm not dishonest but I have a hard time expressing what I want, especially in relationships.  But I'm working on it!  

Real talk: there are 2 exes that I don't respond to calls/texts from because they were abusive/are mentally unstable, and I stand by the decision to cut them out of my life.  I didn't ghost them, I had conversations to end the relationships.  If someone is threatening, abusive, or anything like that, abso-fucking-lutely tell them never to contact you again and cut them off.  But if you're not feeling the chemistry, or are too busy to do anything other than work and sleep, or whatever reason there may be, in my opinion be a grownup and just let the person know.  Don't be an asshole but don't be a ghost, or you know who I'm gonna call??

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