Ghosted Again, Naturally

by on June 22, 2021 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

Straight Up With a Twist

By Edwin Decker

Dear SWAT, I recently went out with a woman I met online. We had been flirting heavily by text for about two weeks until we finally went on a date which was a home run in my mind. We went for a hike, had lunch and margaritas and made out a little in the back of a Lyft. But when I texted her the next day she didn’t respond. Over the course of the next few days I texted some more, not to stalk, but because the date was such a success, I figured she must not be seeing my texts. Anyway, she never responded and now I’m just angry. Should I text her one last time to call her out on her rudeness?

Sincerely,

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy

No, OGTS, you should not text her again; certainly not to berate her. For three reasons. The first (though least likely) is that she could be sick, injured or even dead. If it’s the first two, and it was meant to be, she’ll reach out when she regains consciousness. If it’s the latter, and it was meant to be, she’ll Ghost you in a good way – as in a Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze kind of way. So don’t burn that bridge.

Secondly, even if she’s not incapacitated, it doesn’t mean that she’s a poopy person who deserves to be scolded. According to Psychology Today, about half the population exhibits ghosting behavior. I doubt it’s because they are all rotten, poopy people who don’t care about the feelings of others. I think the opposite is true. I think the main reason people ghost is because they are trying to avoid inflicting heartache. They know how awful it is to be rejected and therefore dread rejecting others. So they procrastinate, and they procrastinate and they procrastinate some more until enough time has elapsed that it’s just too tempting to slip effortlessly into the cool, dark crevasse of evasion. Sure, it’s a bit cowardly, but do they deserve to be chastised for it?

Lastly, why are you focusing on the ghosting aspect of the dismissal? If you were dismissed by words rather than evasion would that somehow make it better? Yes, rejection is painful. But is it the ghosting part that hurts? Or is the ghosting just something to focus on – a reason to villainize her – rather than cope with the unpleasant truth of her disinterest. And the truth is, she does not want to date you, which is exactly what she said when she said nothing.

Personally, I think it’s a good thing. I would much rather be ghosted than to have an awkward discussion about why she doesn’t want to see me. Or worse, be patronizingly told, “It’s not me, it’s you” to spare my feelings. I’d rather go bobbing for jellyfish than endure either of those conversations.

And if it’s the Why that’s bugging you, let’s get real. There are thousands of socially accepted reasons she could provide but they all boil down to three. It could be either, “It’s not you, it’s me,” or, “I’m not looking for anything serious right now,” or, “I’m just not feeling the spark.” And while any, or all, of those statements may be true, you will never know for sure. Because only a dirty, rotten, poopy person would tell you the truth if the truth was your putrid halitosis, or your greasy, wart-torn face, or that you exhibit the intellect of a doubly lobotomized salamander. The point being, you’re never truly going to know if the reason she gives is the real reason so why bother asking?

This doesn’t apply to long-term friendships of course. In those situations, the Why matters. I was once ghosted by a decade-long friend for no apparent reason. It hurt like hell, but it was the Why that drove me nuts. People don’t disappear from long-term friendships unless there was some sort of cataclysmic event. It is perfectly reasonable for the ghost’s “victim” to toil over what that event might have been. Not true in a case like yours – a new, romantic courtship that either fizzled out quickly or never got started. In that situation, we know the Why. And the Why is always – to quote philosophers Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo – “They’re just not that into you.”

Or maybe you hate being ghosted because it seemingly lacks closure. Like the parent of a missing child, you’re holding on to a tortured hope that she got amnesia. You want a response from her to be sure but c’mon man. We both know, she’s not amnesiac, and she’s not dead either. The two of you have been texting for two weeks then finally go on a date after which the texting stops? What more closure do you need?

My rule of thumb is this: If the date/hookup was an apparent “home run,” I’ll text three times.

First text: “Hey Beyoncé, I had a great time last night. Would love to see you again. Let me know if you have any free time coming up.”

Second Text: “Hi Bey-Bey, I know you’re busy touring and stuff so just checking to make sure you got my last message. Would love to get together.”

Last text: “I’m just giving it one last shot on the off chance you didn’t’ see my texts. No worries if you’re not that into me. All the best to you.”

I would only send a third text if the preceding date truly felt like a homer. But if it was less obvious, I would only send two. And I would never consider sending a pathetic, “What-Does-Jay-Z-Have-That-I-don’t-Have?” message or a “You-Filthy-Ghosting-Skank!” blast because – breaking news – everyone has a right to ignore my advances. To summarize, here’s a piece of advice that I pretty much give to everyone, every time, about every problem . . .

Get over it.

Edwin Decker (of Ocean Beach) is not a licensed therapist or psychologist. In fact, his only qualification is the 25-plus years as a bartender listening to the liver-aching of desperados and dipsomaniacs. Heed his advice at your peril.

Send questions to ed@edwindecker.com

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Avatar OB man June 23, 2021 at 9:26 pm

First few words were adequate for the point: “No, OGTS, you should not text her again…” in case that was missed.

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