Not a Friendly Ghost

Natasha Lam talks all things dating, focusing on the worst dating trend ever.

Ghosting has been a popular topic with every infamous dating columnist in the last few months. From Sunday Times journalist Dolly Alderton to Cosmopolitan sex writer Carina Hsieh, it’s really all anyone’s been talking about. Ghosting is when a person ends a platonic or romantic relationship, or in the vernacular of university dating – a “thing”, by not replying to messages or calls and just ignoring you until you ‘get the message’. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of ghosting, you can attest that it is The Worst.

It’s horrible when someone you liked, care about or even love decides one day that they don’t want to talk to you again, wihtout any explanation. But, while we all condemn the ghoster and sympathise with the ghosted, can we all honestly say that we haven’t ghosted anyone? Not even once? Not even a pushy Tinder boy whose messages go unanswered until you feel emboldened enough to unmatch them forever?

We’re all friends here. I bet that every single one of us has ghosted someone before, and while that doesn’t take away the hurt when it happens to us, it bears remembering when we’re ready to condemn ghosting and proclaim that we’d never do something so cruel. A very insightful person said: “Ghosting is a natural evolution of our dating culture.” As we are greeted by a new dating app every day, a new way of dating and a new way of hurting each other emerges. Where before our dating pool was limited to those in our schools, jobs, local areas and cities, technology has made it possible for us to date anyone in the world. If you’ve ever watched the show Catfish, you’ll know that people maintain relationships across the internet without so much as a picture or a voice note from their ‘bae’.

There are too many people to date, and we are constantly left with the question, what if there’s someone better out there? Which then leads us to ghosting someone perfectly nice based on any singular character flaw, big or small.

At the moment, ghosting is a part of our everyday lives. With faster communication comes the ability to delay or withhold communication, and we are falling for it hook, line and sinker. Even if consciously you abhor ghosting and hate slow replies, like me you might find yourself playing ‘the game’ and going with the status quo.

There’s no way to change it, unless we all collectively agree that ghosting is a horrible, annoying and, frankly, impolite, and that we shouldn’t do it ever again. Let’s all endeavour to be more honest with each other and, most importantly, with ourselves. •.