This Dating App Has Launched An Anti-Ghosting Feature, But We Have Questions

"It goes deeper than not knowing what to say.” 👻

The dating app Badoo has announced the launch of a feature that aims to put ghosts to bed for good. Just in time for Halloween.

The widely-discussed phenomenon of ghosting, when one half of a potential couple withdraws communication, is a particular issue on dating apps.

Making the bold claim that it will “put an end to ghosting”, Badoo’s new feature prompts prospective daters with suggested responses to messages.

If users don’t reply to a message within three days, message suggestions pop up such as, “Hey, sorry for the late reply. When are you free to meet?”, or the more brutally honest: “Hey I think you’re great, but I don’t see us as a match. Take care!”

Badoo's offering a range of suggested responses, from an invitation to hang out, to breaking the news that you're not interested
Badoo's offering a range of suggested responses, from an invitation to hang out, to breaking the news that you're not interested

It’s not the first time an app has attempted to curb our bad dating habits – Badoo’s announcement comes a year after Hinge’s attempt to stop sudden silences on its platform.

“Your Turn” aimed to keeps conversation flowing by prompting Hinge users to send a message when it’s their turn to respond. The app claimed that in trials, the notification reduced ghosting behaviour by 25 percent. But we’re still sceptical – can such complicated behaviour really be tackled via an algorithm?

Ghosting and its root causes have been the topic of widespread debate in recent years, from being dubbed a distinctly millennial dating pattern to a source of great pain akin to direct face-to-face rejection.

According to Fortune and dating site, Plenty of Fish, 80% of us have been through it, but it’s often caused by avoidance and fear of conflict.

Both Badoo’s and Hinge’s features seem to miss this – assuming a nudge to reply, or even a prompt of what to say in Badoo’s case, is all that’s needed.

Tom, a Psychology MSc student who says he has ghosted prospective partners, said: “I doubt [the feature] will change much as it usually is more than just not knowing what to say.”

He added: “The times I’ve ghosted people have usually been when my mental health has deteriorated and I’m actually ghosting everyone (emails, bills, letters). It’s about things being too much. I’m not sure having a suggestion of what to say would help.”

Alice, a policy analyst who has been using dating apps since the age of 18, agreed, saying: “The issue goes deeper than not knowing what to say.”

“I think ghosting comes as a result of seeing people on dating apps as disposable, which is a mentality that these apps themselves encourage and fuel, through features such as not being able to swipe backwards on Tinder, and the apps not showing you the same person twice,” they continued.

“We ghost people on apps because we’ll never have to deal with the awkwardness or confrontation.”

Efforts to combat complex and emotionally hurtful digital behaviour are to be applauded. But the root causes of ghosting seem to lie as much as in the intentions of apps’ makers as well as their users.

One thing seems clear – despite Badoo’s claims, it’s probably going to be a while before we see the back of dating ghosts.

In the meantime, we’re still swiping.