Is Your Date About To Ghost? 3 Things You'll Notice If They're About To Pull A Casper

Now you see me, now you… are left on read for eternity. If there’s one dating phenomenon we’re all familiar with in the 21st century, it’s ghosting. One minute, you’re gushing to your BFF about your new prospective bae-to-be, making weekend plans, and giddily crafting flirty texts. The next, you’re second-guessing your use of emojis in that last message because your date is MIA ("Why did I use so many drooling faces? WTF was I thinking?"). As you curse your over-eager use of exclamation points, you wonder: Is your date about to ghost?

The reality is, ghosting can be a cruel inevitability in today’s dating environment. Given that much of our communication happens via our phones (texting, dating app messaging, social media, etc.), it’s easier than ever to take the cowardly route and simply ignore all contact.

“There is a respectful way to reject someone — but when the rejection comes in the form of ghosting, it’s painful," relationship and etiquette expert April Masini tells Elite Daily. "The person ghosting you gives the impression that you are not worth the time or effort to reject properly or respectfully."

But what if you could see it coming? What if you could detect that your date was about to ghost you before it happens, so you could decide if you want to end things yourself, or at least prepare yourself for the disappointment and other emotional fallout? Fortunately, there are signs that someone’s gearing up to ghost you, according to Masini. Look out for these red flags that your date is about to pull the disappearing act.

There’s Been A Noteworthy Shift In Their Responsiveness

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Before, they were texting you on the daily, with a lag time of a few hours at most while they were at work. Now, they may not get back to you until the next day, with no real explanation. According to Masini, if the time between texts or answers to your questions elongates, that may be a sign they’re getting ready to ghost.

Of course, if they happen to be having a particularly busy week at work or with other obligations (and they tell you that), give them the benefit of the doubt. But if this behavior persists and they don’t have a valid excuse, there’s a chance they’re making a slow exit by gradually cutting down on contact.

They’re Not Proactively Making Plans Anymore

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Is your date eager to lock down plans, or are you doing all the work in trying to meet up again? Have there been longer and longer spurts of time in between your hangouts? Are they being suddenly flaky? This could indicate that they’re considering ghosting you.

“If the relationship is becoming less special to your partner, and you notice this in his or her failure to make dates or respect your time and your calendar, it may be because they are going to ghost you,” says Masini.

Again, if they’ve got a lot going on right now, they may be less available to hang out. That said, the key is whether they still show interest in getting to know you further. For example, they might say, “The next couple weeks are going to be crazy with a few work trips, but let’s make it a point to get together once things calm down.” If they keep avoiding plans with no explanation as to why, that’s probably a red flag.

They Dodge Any Convos That Could Bring You Closer

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If someone is getting ready to ghost, the name of the game for them will be gradually creating distance. So, it makes sense that a major sign they’re about to disappear is if they avoid any conversations that might strengthen or advance your relationship.

“If you try to have conversations about what is happening — that you feel your partner pulling away — and your partner cuts you off, leaves the room, has to take a call, and just doesn’t want to put you at ease, chances are, it’s because your partner is doing a slow ghost,” explains Masini. “Those talks about your feelings are ways to bond the two of you, so your ghosting partner is going to do the opposite.”

Keep in mind that another reason why someone may be dodging these convos if they are afraid of commitment in general. If you suspect that’s the case, then it’s worth exploring why — perhaps they were hurt or their trust was broken in the past, for example. Just because someone is hesitant to make a serious commitment doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to ghost you, but it may mean that you are looking for different things. Communication about your needs and wants is key to minimizing the chances that someone gets hurt. On the other hand, if they expressed interest in pursuing something serious initially and now seem to be distancing themselves, they very well may be preparing to pull a Casper.

So, if you have a hunch that they’re gearing up to ghost, what’s your move?

“If you feel that someone is about to ghost you, then you might start the separation process yourself,” says Masini. “Understand that this person doesn’t have the tools or manners to reject you property. They are doing the best they can, and they’re not up to the grownup task of talking to you about a breakup. Not everyone is going to be a match, and this ghost-to-be is doing you a favor by taking off if he or she is not interested in you enough to stay.”

Naturally, you could confront them about whether they’re trying to bail, but keep in mind that they may not be capable of talking to you honestly about it. After all, if they’re considering ghosting, then they may not be able to handle having an open and upfront conversation — in which case, you might want to think about whether that’s someone you want to be with anyway. A positive way to look at it is this: This possible impending ghosting presents an opportunity to keep dating around and find someone who’s on the same page as you in terms of their interest and intentions — someone who knows you deserve more than a silent exit.