Julia Forsman/Stocksy

How To Respond When You've Been Ghosted And You Didn't See It Coming

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If you're reading this, it seems that you've found yourself in one of the most confusing and cringe-worthy situations of modern dating. After a handful of blissful encounters (or even worse — a full on kinda-sorta-relationship), the object of your affection has done exactly what the term ghosting implies: vanished into thin air, leaving behind barely enough evidence for you to prove they ever existed at all. Figuring out how to respond when you've been ghosted can be difficult. Let's face it, rejection is one of the hardest emotions to healthily process. But before you panic and drunkenly send a barrage of texts to your ghoster that are likely to go unanswered, fear not — there are a few ways you can still make a graceful exit after being ghosted.

First off, it's important to give the person ample time to respond before you start jumping to conclusions. Believe me when I say it will save you a lot of unnecessary embarrassment. If you sent a text in the morning and you haven't gotten a response by midday, take a deep breath and chill. It's easy to assume that everyone has their phone on them at all times, but the majority of adults with jobs can't always respond with lightning speed.

If things have been going well up until this point, then chances are they probably haven't read your message yet or are tied up with something else... unless of course, they have read receipts, in which case you should count your blessings. Who really needs a tiny lil message to let you know that someone read your original message? I mean, that is the point of responding... no?

Midday has turned into the evening, which has turned into the next morning, and still no word? At this point, it's safe to assume you have indeed been ghosted, leaving you with two main options: reach out or remain silent.

Before you decide which course of action to take, it's helpful to try and reflect on the time you spent together as objectively as possible. It's easy to get so swept up in the fantasy and potential of a new partner that we project a narrative onto the relationship that only reflects our excitement and expectations while ignoring the other parts of the equation.

Assuming you've been casually dating this person and have yet to discuss the framework of the relationship or even acknowledged that there is a relationship at all, more often than not, the best course of action is to remain silent. Why? Because as hard as this can be to accept, they don't technically owe you anything. Things can change on a dime; feelings can just as easily mutually explode as they can be easily forgotten.

Responding to someone who ghosted you by remaining silent can be a sobering time for you to take a step back and really think about if you even want to be with someone who can't make time for something as non-committal as a text. And guess what? While you're off in the corner being little miss independent, chances are that human nature is going to leave your almost-boo wondering how you could so easily lose interest. It's not unheard of for Caspers to suddenly materialize a few days later with every excuse under the sun, which ultimately leaves the ball in your court to decide if you want to continue dating someone who ghosted you in the first place.

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Your other option is to bite the bullet and reach out again (à la the double text). This is a totally viable option, assuming you're prepared for the worst. The thing is, trying to tell someone via text that they have let you down in some way is a slippery slope. Texting lacks the verbal cues of a phone conversation and the physical cues of a face-to-face conversation. If they answer your text, focus on arranging a time to meet for coffee or a drink someplace without too many distractions. Then, once you've talked for a bit in person and are feeling comfortable, let them know how their lack of communication made you feel.

Unfortunately, it's also possible to be ghosted by someone who you may have been dating exclusively or were even in a committed relationship with. If this is the case and for whatever reason, you were led to believe that the relationship was going somewhere and legitimately feel like you were misled, then it's totally understandable to feel entitled to an explanation. If this is the case, it's time to put on your grown-up pants and... call. And if they don't answer... leave a message.

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Whether you decide to call or text, the trick here is to not let your emotions get the best of you — you'll have plenty of time to lament to your friends — because the goal should now be getting closure. Instead of bombarding your ghoster with your feelings, try to better understand theirs by asking questions and listening instead of going on the attack. At this point, you can't control their cowardice, but you can present the opportunity for an honest conversation. Anyone worth your time will man up and face the music.

If none of your attempts to reach out to them work, delete their number and rest assured that they weren't the person for you. Everyone deserves a partner — whether casual or committed — who's excited to hear from them!