The truth is, we don't always see ghosting coming from afar. Sometimes, you can be months into hot hookups and cute dates, and you've met their siblings and friends. Then one night, you have plans to grab dinner, and that's it. You never hear from them again. Your friends, coworkers, and random people at the nail salon may confirm that there was no way you could have known. But it's still natural to wonder: Can you tell when the person you're seeing is about to ghost? And, if so, what can you do to stop it?
If you're feeling the conversation begin to lag, if your plans to meet up are always getting canceled at the last minute, or if you're just feeling some distance from your new cutie, you may fret a ghost is on the horizon, and wonder what the proper text to send is, in order to get some clarity.
"We don't want to look desperate, but we need resolution — are you in, or out?" Susan Winter, bestselling author and relationship expert, tells Elite Daily. "You can give your new date your terms of engagement. It's a heads-up. Tell them that regular contact lets you know there's interest. Otherwise, you'll assume there's no connection."
Letting your new date know that you expect a timely response (or a response at all) may seem intimidating, but according to Winter, it could be the best thing to say when you feel your new boo is loosing interest. Winter attests that the best text to send someone you feel is about to ghost can be as direct as, "I've enjoyed our time together and would have liked to continue seeing you — but, I lose interest when contact lags. Sorry about that. All the best."
Of course, if you're still into your new cutie, you may not want to call it quits after a few missed texts. If you're hoping for another date to sense the vibe in person, establishing your own plan and extending it to your date, rather than planning a whole meeting around them can be a power move.
"Invite your casual date to coffee, drinks or anything else that you did in the past that they seemed to like," Winter says. "But, do it from the 'I'm doing this. Join me?' approach. 'I'm going to be at [Fill in venue] [Fill in date/time]. Stop by if you can.'"
Letting them know you're off doing something fun, and that they are welcome to join, puts the ball in their court, yet establishes that you're a strong independent queen with your own life (duh). If you feel like you've extended an invite but your boo is still being shady, it may be worthwhile to reconsider what they're adding to your life. "I suggest one last effort at reaching out, but no more after that," Winter says. "If you don't get a reply (or get a vague 'breadcrumb type' answer), then bail." Your hilarious jokes, amazing meme selection, and even the most basic, mundane texts deserve a thoughtful response. If you feel your new date isn't giving you the time and thoughtfulness you deserve, it's OK to "thank u, next" them.
Of course, if your date turns out to be a total dud, and you feel they may be ghosting you, Winter suggests a three-strike rule. "By three, you're out," Winter says. "Accept the facts for what they are and be grateful you're not being strung along or played." After sending your new boo a text (or three) with no response, it may be time to accept the ghost. Yet, if you see them around school, work, town, or whatever secret club people who ghost venture to, it's OK to call out your ghoster. In fact, it may actually feel pretty cathartic
If you're seeing someone new and you're fearing a ghosting on the horizon, try meeting up in person to get some IRL time. It's OK to establish some texting boundaries — even as basic as "If we're going to go out, you need to text me back." At the end of the day, you are a strong beautiful goddess, and anyone who is making you question that, or sending you subpar texts isn't worth being in your inbox.