The 7-Step Guide To Dealing With Being Ghosted

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So, you’ve been ghosted, and you’re feeling super weird about it. First you were angry. Then you were sad. If you’re like many of us, the next step is to blame yourself and your perceived shortcomings for the disappearance of this (potential or realized) paramour. Then you probably stopped to think, maybe something bad happened, at which point you asked your best friend if you’re allowed to reach out to make sure he or she wasn’t mauled by a mountain lion. Your friend gave you a much-needed reality check, and you returned to hoping they were mauled by a mountain lion. Such is the beauty of dating in 2017, when anyone from a person you’ve never even met in “real life” to someone you’ve shared many dates with can disappear from your iMessage chain without a trace. Here’s how to handle this unpleasant, oft-maddening scenario with grace.

Adam Katz Sinding

Don't Do Something You'll Regret. Or, Do.

Rejection is always painful, but if you've never met this person IRL, or you went on just one date with them, the truth is they don't know you well enough to reject you, and you shouldn't take it personally. If this is the case, we suggest you delete the person's number and move on with your life. Maybe they did die. (Shrug.)

If your relationship with the ghoster has gone deeper than a few texts or even a date or two, you have every right to be angry. However, this is the point at which you decide to be mature and classy or open yourself up to being called crazy. We like both options—it's really a personal call.

We don't know about you, but we hate unresolved romantic situations. So, whenever someone has attempted to ghost us in the past, we've simply called them out on it in the most mature way possible. Here's an example: "Hi. I can see that you're trying to phase me out quietly in a way I might not notice, which entails little to no discomfort for you. I find this to be a bit immature, and would prefer to have a conversation about it. It's totally cool to decide I'm not for you, but let's be adults and spend three to five minutes on a verbal resolution so I can continue to respect you."

Sometimes, you don't feel like being the bigger person, especially if you've been lured into a real-feeling relationship with a person who has subsequently decided it's okay to disappear from your life (or, even worse, watch your Instagram stories but never text you). We like this route because it feels really satisfying, but be warned that this person will screenshot your texts and send them to his or her friends with the caption, "psycho." Examples of meeting this person on his or her level range from randomly texting him things like "I feel like our sexual chemistry was off. I've never experienced that before!" or "See you tonight (flame emoji)" followed closely by "Oops! Wrong text chain," to engaging in full-on rants about what they've done wrong, how their behavior is a commentary on everything that is wrong with modern-day society, and—oops!—it's all probably because he's not so well-endowed. Your call.

All joking aside, being ghosted can be traumatizing. It's tempting to delete all dating apps in the aftermath of someone's disappearing act, but we encourage you to do just the opposite. No matter which option you choose to deal with your ghoster, it's important to remember that not all men behave badly. Some know how to act, and you will know them by the fact that you don't have to make mountain-lion-involved excuses for them. It's also important to build your own good karma in this respect. If you're being honest with yourself, how many people have you ghosted while dating? Yep, that's what we thought. Don't do this; it isn't nice and you're above it. As the old adage goes, treat people as you'd like to be treated—a quick phone call to say, "I really like you as a person, I just don't feel that spark. Ya know?" goes a long way toward easing hurt feelings and building a respectable reputation.

You didn't think we were going to end on that kumbaya note, did you? Here's what to do next: If you used to watch your ghoster's Insta stories, stop. Or, even better, watch the first slide and then skip—unless they have millions of followers, they'll be like "Wow, that person cares so little about me they didn't even finish my story." That's right, buddy! Also, we aren't going to judge you for posting a string of incredibly flattering selfies in the aftermath of being ghosted—just run them by a friend first so she can gauge the desperation quotient of the photo before you post it.

Now that you know they totally regret ditching you, it's time to forget they exist. Delete the number, unfollow them on Instagram if his or her photos trigger you and just generally move on with your life. This was not your person (and thank God because really the sexual chemistry was way off—wink, wink).