We've all been there, you think the date you had last Tuesday went great, you've been texting non-stop and have agreed to meet again. Then all of a sudden, that person is gone. Drifted into the wind like a Greggs plastic bag.
And you never know why. You might text and say 'are u dead? lol' or 'what happened, yesterday you sent me a pic of your mum's boyfriend's turtle and now nothing?!' You may not have been particularly attached to that turtle but for it to vanish without an explanation causes two days of irrational anxiety and constant checking of their Whatsapp last seen. Maybe they lost their phone, maybe the turtle got sick and they had to rush to Dave's side to support him through this difficult time. But probably not. Truth is they don't care about you and don't want to see you again.
But you're a big girl, you know things don't always work out, you could take it if they texted saying, 'actually I changed my mind, I hate you and your pinstripe dungarees, please never contact me again'. I mean, that would suck but at least you know.
People need to have the courage to tell someone they aren't interested, or their dog died and they can no longer bring themselves to carry on texting pics of their homemade t-shirts to a person they dated once. It's ok, really. Those t-shirts were shit anyway.
The worst thing about being ghosted is that there's no way to handle it gracefully except just accepting that you are now hideous to that person and should dust yourself off and find someone new to eventually ghost you. And it will happen again because modern human beings are idiots who watch TOWIE and spend more time swiping right on Tinder than actually communicating with people.
But now the fear of being ghosted suffocates you like a work colleague who won't stop inviting you to their Game of Thrones book club. It takes the excitement away from a new relationship and instead shadows any kind of texting communication with a dark cloud of anxiety. All the fun is stripped away and you're left with a personality disorder and an obsessive need to check your phone every two minutes.
Psychology Today says that 'social rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain' and that one of the worst things about ghosting is the impact it has on your self esteem - it causes you to question yourself. You immediately blame yourself for your wonky earlobes or list of six jokes you reel off on every date (sorry boys), and you're made to feel disposable, powerless and ultimately worthless.
The other person has no idea the turmoil they're putting you through, they think they've saved the two of you from an embarrassing conversation. They don't feel like they owe you anything anyway, I mean you went on one date - come on, why do you even care! But you do, because you're a person with real-life feelings, not a bunch of words on a screen. And that's what the other person has forgotten.
In our social media age, people are no longer people; they're a picture on a screen or a smiling turd emoji. It's so easy to forget that your actions actually affect someone, and can last much longer than the initial sting of rejection. Yes that person will get over it, you probably weren't right for each other anyway, but they won't forget the feeling and there will always be a hint of apprehension when they meet someone new. Your ignorance to their emotions does damage, no matter how insignificant it seems to you.
I mean, if someone spoke to you in person you wouldn't slap them around the face, turn around and walk away, unless you're an asshole (which you probably are if you ghost people). That interaction is just as real as the one you share through your phone. Just because you can't see the person it doesn't mean they no longer exist. You can't just wish them away like a fart in the wind.
It's illogical to think by disappearing you are handling the situation properly. Yes you technically don't owe that person anything, they might be a Justin Bieber fan for god's sake, but it doesn't mean they don't deserve respect and an acknowledgment that they actually, really, genuinely exist. I know, who would believe that the shit puns that appear on your phone actually come from a person, a human life! Who'd have thunk it?
You're a heartless coward if you ghost people and your asshole turtle is too. As they said on the nightly pleasure that was Love Island, it's muggy. You're a mug if you do it and you're just as bad as the idiot friend that says you get more wet if you run in the rain.
But thank you, really, because I prefer staying at home on a Saturday night anyway.