We’ve all been there. After a month’s worth of blissful dates, tender kisses and hazy, hung-over brunches — poof — the person you thought you were dating vanishes. It seems to always happen innocently enough. Perhaps there was a vacation and promise to call upon return or sweet murmurs of “hanging next week” only for “next week” to melt into the following one with nary a call, text or Instagram like. Yup — you’ve been ghosted, my friend.
Ghosting is an aged old, cowardly and despicable phenomenon (employed by both sexes but heavily skewed toward men) that’s been made all the more easy in this fast-paced digital era. While that vacant spot next to you in bed may appear to come out of nowhere, ghosting, not too unlike layoffs, both come with their own unique set of smoke signals. Now we aren’t here to foster a dating mentality rife with fear and insecurity — overanalyzing every blink and smiley face emoticon can get exhausting as hell — but we have compiled a cursory list of red flags everyone should make a mental bookmark of when dating someone new.
1) Have They Dropped Hints That They Aren’t Looking For Anything Serious? While in the throes of a new relationship it’s easy to listen to what the other person says while also not hearing them at all. This must be Darwinian or evolutionary, instrumental to our species existence or something, because it never makes sense in retrospect. Anyway, we want you to flip through your Dialogue Files with Mr. or Ms. Maybe Ghost and red flag anytime they said any variation of the following: “I’m not even sure what I want right now” “I don’t even have the time for anything serious” “I may never want to settle down.” Sure people can change their minds, but so much of life is an uphill battle, why make the prospects of a new relationship one too?
2) Have Plans for Future Dates Been Vague or Murky? Do you always leave a date a little disappointed because you have no earthly idea when you’ll see them again? This isn’t always a coincidence. Often future Ghosters do this so they can mull over whether or not they want to see you again and then make a decision as to whether or not they’ll text or reply to yours.
3) Did You Meet Them on a Dating App Often Associated With Hook-Ups? Sure, we all have that friend who met their soul mate on a swiping binge after too many beers at that dive bar in the East Village. Bravo! But in an era where a few taps, swipes and hey there’s will introduce you to a stadium’s worth of options within 5 miles, it’s best to proceed with caution. While it’s possible to meet someone significant on an app synonymous with one-night stands, these very dating sites are a Ghoster’s playground. Proceed with caution.
4) Did You Feel Something in Your Gut That Things Just Weren’t Right? We were all given internal alarms to shock our body into attention when in harmful situations. Don’t defy nature by ignoring this gift. Next time you’re sipping red wine across the table from someone new or walking home after a second or third date and feel that sick, anxious feeling in your belly, store it away and keep it in mind before you agree to another date
5) Do you talk once a week or less and is alcohol always involved in your dates? Part of what makes ghosting so easy for some is a lack of what the ghoster may perceive as a real connection, in other words, they may feel like they don’t owe you much. Sure, they might be physically there and, yes, maybe there’s even bodily fluids exchanged, but if conversation never seems to scratch the surface, if its been a month or so and days pass without a peep only to meet up and get rip, roaring drunk — take note. Part of building a lasting relationship is being emotionally present, and these are all tricks those who may not be ready for a relationship employ to masquerade under the guise of dating only to bounce when things get boring or too intense. You’ve been warned.