I'm not gonna lie — I get a legitimate rush when I ghostwrite a text for a friend to someone they're dating. I feel a burst of serotonin when I ghostwrite a message on a dating app to a friend's match. I feel powerful, magnetic, and unstoppable, like a lady Thanos who wants everyone to get together instead of wanting half the world to go poof. While it's fun and I consider it to be helpful, could having your friends ghostwrite texts to your dates actually be hurting your chances of making a real connection with someone? After all, your dates aren't really getting to know you... right?
One obvious potential pitfall of enlisting a witty friend to help craft your messages is that when you're face to face with your date, you're on your own. I spoke with Meredith Golden, dating app expert, about this and she agrees that no matter the banter, a real connection can't be predicted until the two people meet. Golden shares, "I’ve had clients be certain that they like someone over banter and then be disappointed after meeting. Apps connect people, and a ghostwriter helps with this, but it’s ultimately about the in-person connection, not what happens on a screen."
I can attest to this because I've had awesomely sparkly and snappy text exchanges with a guy only to meet them and find out they're actually pretty meh. Was I actually into their ghostwriter? I'll never know! I've also texted with someone who was all business over text, only to find out that in person, they're animated, interesting, and engaging. Golden advises, "A single could be fantastic IRL but not a great writer and/or lack the dating app savvy necessary to advance from chatting to going on a first date. These aren’t valid reasons to miss out on dating app opportunities and are ideal for outsourcing."
I asked Golden if there were any surefire ways to tell if someone is enlisting a ghostwriter and she says, "If someone is using SAT-worthy words during exchanges on a dating app but on the date doesn’t use a word with more than one syllable, one could be suspicious." To avoid this, she suggests making sure the ghostwriter really knows you, your choice of language, and sense of humor. An ideal person would be a good friend, roommate, or sibling — and it's always wise to proof-read before hitting send to ensure that the text sounds authentically you.
So, if you're all about that ghostwriter life, consider why you want a pal to step in and be your mouthpiece. Are you struggling to find the right words, convey the right attitude, or simply bad at texting? It's completely normal to get in your head about texting when you're first dating someone and sometimes having a friend just tell you what to type can be a relief. But if you're really struggling to come up with a text back to a potential suitor, you may not have that much to say to them in general — which is totally fine! Struggling to have a conversation over text could be an indicator that you might also struggle to have a conversation IRL with this person, so maybe save yourself that awkward encounter and bow out early.
Now, we're all busy and we've all forgotten to reply to someone, or check our DMS, or call Mom back (sorry!), so your schedule could be another reason you're relying on friends to keep the convo going. Golden offers, "Dating apps are a great vehicle to meet people but they require a substantial and consistent time commitment. Not everyone can devote the necessary time and outsourcing the task to a professional or friend still creates more dating opportunities than doing nothing on the apps."
Dating can also be hard work and sometimes we get burned out. If you find yourself mindlessly swiping left, you might need a fresh set of eyes. Golden cautions, "Sometimes singles develop maladaptive dating app patterns. For example, a single may always swipe left on someone shorter than 5’8”. If this single outsources the process to her sister, she might swipe right on someone who is 5’6”. A different lens creates more opportunities!"
If you've enlisted a ghostwriter and you actually meet your match in person and start dating, it's time for your ghost to ghost. Golden agrees, saying, "Dating apps aren’t for dating, they’re for connecting. The dating happens once the two singles meet. Once the meeting occurs is when the ghostwriting should cease." That's not to say that down the line you might want to toss your phone to a friend and say, "Ugh, what do I reply to this?" But for the most part once you start dating someone, you should be able to find your rhythm and your voice.
So while it seems like there are a lot of reasons why having a ghostwriter can actually help your love life progress, the number one thing to keep in mind is that the messages have to be true to your intentions and your personality. So while I'll encourage my friends to do their own typing, I'm relieved to learn that under certain circumstances, I can still get my lil burst of seratonin.
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