It never feels good to get ghosted. Unless you seriously didn't like the person you were dating and you were looking for an out anyway, getting ghosted sucks. Getting close to someone and then suddenly cut off without explanation as to why? Brutal. Even if you aren't in the stage of your relationship where you're texting everyday, and instead, you're cruising in the DMs, when someone ghosts you on Insta DM, it's hard to know what to do next. Do you call them out on it? Unfollow them and pretend it never happened? Well, according to experts, social media makes for a whole different ballgame.
"Ghosting a person that you meet in an Instagram message is completely different than ghosting on a friend or partner that you have a real connection with," matchmaking and dating expert Stef Safran tells Elite Daily. "While it's easy to put a 'like' on Instagram, it's also easy to unfollow someone as well."
"People are not communicating with people via the phone or in person that much these days," Safran explains. "Since people have not met or spoken to people that they often share intimate details of their life with, many people don't feel that badly when they 'ghost' on someone."
Ghosting in the DMs isn't uncommon, but if it's just happened to you and you don't know what to do next, read on.
1. First of all, don't assume anything.
If you think someone is ghosting you on Instagram, be patient and don't assume that they're ghosting you right away. "If someone ghosts you (or you think they might be), I would first recommend checking in," Erika Ettin, founder a CEO of A Little Nudge, tells Elite Daily. "Perhaps they haven't checked messages in a while. Start by giving someone the benefit of the doubt. If that goes unanswered, then you know."
2. Try not to get too angry.
If you do talk to them to see if they're actually ghosting you, it's important not to get too angry. "Stay non-defensive in any communications," Safran says. "Use a smiley emoji — just don't come across as upset in a social media contact." Safran isn't alone in this opinion, either.
"I believe you should keep it fun and flirty, and use emoticons in your DMs," online dating expert Julie Spira tells Elite Daily. "If they don’t respond again, and you notice they’re posting stories or liking posts, then let it go. The ball is in their court, and if they can pull a disappearing act and ghost you, do you really want to be with them anyway?"
Try not to get too upset, because as Spira says, why would you want to be with someone who disrespects you like that anyway?
3. Know when to move on.
While it's important not to assume anything, it's also important to know when to accept that you've been ghosted. "I advise my clients to use my strategy of 'three strikes,'" Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, tells Elite Daily. "Reach out three times, with each time happening more days in between and a question or statement that would typically provoke a response. If you haven't heard back after the third time, you can cut your losses and move forward."
4. Get closure for yourself.
When you're ready to move on, get yourself some closure. "I tell my clients to send a 'closure' message, not for the other person's benefit but for your own," Ettin explains. She says to send a message like: "I'm disappointed I didn't hear back from you since I was looking forward to getting to know you. All the best!"
In doing so, "you take the high road, it shows the other person that you deserve to be treated better," she adds. (It also might be secretly satisfying to know that you're taking the high road and that your ghoster might feel a little guilty upon seeing your maturity, she says.) "This message is not to elicit a response, but rather it's to provide the closure that you didn't get from the other person by getting it yourself."
Getting ghosted sucks — even on social media, and even if it's not that serious. But even though it's impossible to control, or predict, whether or not someone ghosts you, it is totally possible to control how you react to it. Taking the high road and getting the closure you need is a great place to start.