A few weeks ago I answered a JDater’s email about ghosting, and now it’s a topic of an article in The New York Times. So why is disappearing so popular? There’s definitely an awkwardness to telling someone you’re not interested, but you can get past that with just a little etiquette:

  • Before a Date:

At least make contact to cancel. If the excuse is a lie, don’t just stand the person up, that sucks.

  • After a 1st Date:

It’s awkward to let someone know after one date that they didn’t entice you enough for a second. Since you can’t use the “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse, this may be the one situation where it’s understandable to just disappear. Plus, it’s not so hurtful after just one date.

  • Between 2nd and 6th Dates:

You owe them some sort of explanation, but you don’t have to get personal. You should call, but an email or text is marginally acceptable. Let the person know you don’t see a future together, but you think they’re awesome and wish them luck. Ghosting at this point will give you a bad rep and will sour what otherwise would be remembered as a nice couple of dates.

  • After 6 Dates… Until ‘The Get Serious Talk:’

There’s absolutely no ghosting at this point. If you’re ending it, you need to call and say something, anything. Even if you lie and say that you have been dating someone else and it’s become more serious, it’s better than ghosting. You owe them a phone call. You don’t need to engage in a conversation and don’t fall into the trap of why, how, when, who, etc. Just be respectful. More than six dates means you’ve been dating about a month or more, and that’s a substantial enough amount of time.

  • After ‘The Talk:’

Don’t pull a Charlize Theron like the article says and ghost on an official boyfriend or girlfriend. Just don’t do it. Bottom line: put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about if you’d want an explanation, excuse, or even just a superficial apology… or if you’d be okay with never hearing from someone who you were interested in.

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