4 Ways Internet Dating Has Made Ghosting Second Nature

by Jen Ruiz

Ghosting isn't a new phenomenon by any means.

For decades now, women have sat by the phone, waiting for men to call, and they never did.

The difference with our generation is the ease and impersonality with which people are discarded nowadays, and it’s 100 percent attributable to the culture of online dating we’ve established.

In his exposé, “Modern Romance: An Investigation,” Aziz Ansari revealed:

[B]etween 2005 and 2012 more than one third of couples who got married in the United States met through an online dating site. Online dating was the single biggest way people met their spouses. Bigger than work, friends, and school combined.

With the undeniable prevalence of apps and sites like Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid, online dating has become sort of a catch-22; you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

If you don’t, be prepared for a life of isolation, as the chances of you actually meeting someone at the grocery store are slim to none.

I’ve gone at least once a week now for 10 plus years, and I have nothing to show for it.

However, if you do decide to brave online dating, you’re almost certain to come across the infamous “ghost.”

Unlike the friendly Casper character we’ve all come to know and love, this one doesn’t turn into a cute blonde boy that dances with Christina Ricci at the end of the night.

This one shows up, dates Christina Ricci exclusively, promises he’ll be back for that special dance and is never heard from again.

That’s right.

In today’s age, ghosting has reached a whole new level of shamelessness.

It’s not just a way to dismiss a stranger; it’s now a way to end a relationship.

This leaves the dumpee even more frustrated than if he or she had simply heard the old, “It’s not you, it’s me” excuse.

Any reason is better than no reason.

But in reality, when people ghost, it’s not you, it’s them.

Something is so wrong with those people; they would rather avoid uncomfortable situations than be decent human beings.

It takes maturity and compassion to do the right thing.

This is the difference between men and boys, and women and girls.

The former knows no matter how awkward the conversation is, it’s a necessary one to have.

The latter simply could not care less, as all they’re looking for is to “have fun” or “just chill.”

There’s no point in crying over someone who lacks empathy and certainly isn’t crying over you.

So, before you throw in the towel and resign yourself to life as a cat lady, keep in mind that having someone ghost you is a reflection on the person's character, not yours.

What’s more, it’s a natural consequence of online dating, and here are the reasons why:

1. There’s no accountability.

Before, when people met through mutual friends, a ghost would get thoroughly bitched out by the mutual connection who set him or her up in the first place.

After all, while ghost behavior is admittedly prevalent, it’s still generally frowned upon.

Today, most of our matches have no mutual friends or, at most, one or two distant Facebook connections.

This makes it easy for someone to disappear without the people closest to him or her knowing how much a coward he or she is.

There’s no backlash or accountability anymore.

2. There are too many other options.

Why bother settling for someone who is successful and good-looking, if you can get someone with all those traits, who also shares your passion for anime, or lives just a little bit closer to home?

There’s always the question, "Am I getting the best one out there?"

With so many options, any one downfall is cause to bail.

The concept of working on things, or learning to appreciate the good and bad in someone, is completely lost in online dating.

Instead, ghosts immediately revert to an interest in what else is out there.

But, this instant-gratification mentality will haunt them in the long run.

3. Disappearing is easy.

Most people avoid confrontation because they just don’t know how to deal with it, and it stresses them out.

What’s the easier route?

Just block, unfriend and avoid someone’s calls and texts until the person gets the hint.

You’re unlikely to run into the person at work or at your favorite hangouts, since your connection was completely random in the first place.

And anyone who persists for more of an explanation can be summarily dismissed as “crazy.”

Unfortunately, this is the modern dating reality so many Millennials are faced with.

4. You’re not a person; you’re a profile.

When your very essence is reduced to a short bio with four to five pictures, it’s difficult for someone to view you as a person instead of a profile.

Conversing through a screen is very impersonal, and even when you meet in real life, you’re still regarded as a disposable option.

The only way you can tell if someone is really interested in you as a person is by giving him or her time to prove it.

If you happen to come across your very own Casper the unfriendly ghost, wish the person well and move on.

He or she clearly is not the caliber of person you deserve to be with, and you have options, too.

Be proud of the fact you know how to have normal human interactions, and get back out there so you can have some more.

Eventually, after sorting through all the riff raff, you’ll find someone who makes you happy, both on screen and off.