He Didn’t Ghost. He’s Ignoring You.

Shani Silver
5 min readAug 13, 2023

Call it what it is.

Photo by Shani Siver

Dating culture has a bad habit. Okay, it has fifty, but today we’re going to learn about this one: cute little names. You can’t skip a YouTube ad for a mattress that comes in a box without seeing a new term for new bullshit people are doing to each other in the dating space. We take a trend or practice that’s abhorrent and we give it a fun moniker to hashtag, like a new color of nail polish at 1990s mall. But this charming hobby started somewhere, didn’t it? It started with the earliest, most pervasive of behaviors: We started getting cute when we started getting ghosted, and I’m sick to death of this shit.

What is ghosting? Well, it’s got range, I’ll give it that. Ghosting can be anything from opening your dating app to find that the person you’ve been exchanging messages with has disappeared and probably blocked you for reasons entirely unknown, or you can be in an actual relationship with someone for three months, have plans to meet at the flag football league you joined together, and instead you just never hear from them again. (This is true, and it was the worst ghost story I’d ever heard until I saw a woman on TikTok get ghosted by a man who married her six weeks prior. Literally he just left the house, never came back, and was so deeply hidden it was nearly impossible for her lawyer to serve him with divorce papers.) For those wondering, in the situation mentioned above, he didn’t die. They worked in the same building and she saw him in the elevator a few months later. For the record though, I hope he’s died since.

Ghosting is suddenly and without notice ending all communication with someone who expects to be communicated with based on behavior you yourself have displayed in order to get someone to communicate with you. Feel insane yet? I sure used to. But then I deleted my dating apps four and a half years ago and now I feel light as a fucking boxed mattress. We gave it the name “ghosting” because it mimics the behavior of someone dying. That’s how quick, confusing, and permanent ghosting feels. Y’all, that’s morbid.

I’m baffled by our own acceptance of things like ghosting. Somehow we’re cool with assigning these behaviors little names and shrugging our shoulders when they happen because we’re so used to bad hashtaggy situations in dating that to name them…

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