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What I read:

Have you ever been ghosted? Urban Dictionary defines ghosting as a phenomenon "when a person expresses love, interest, or affection for someone or something and the person they are speaking to only says "Ditto", like Patrick Swayze in the movie Ghost."

If you've experienced that modern dating scene with apps or websites, you may also be personally familiar. It's most often attributed to the moment when after everything seems to be working and clicking, one person just disappears--doesn't respond to your texts, unfollows you from everything, just nothing.

I came across a  popular comment on Reddit about why this may occur and I wanted to share:


To me it has something to do with how kind of unnatural it is to meet people largely via swiping. I don't think it's necessarily cowardice, more awkwardness and volume. Many bumble dates for me have gone something like you describe:

We match, we talk a bit. Because you know almost nothing about each other due to useless tiny app description boxes and don't want to get into wasteful texts forever, you try to meet in person quickly. First half of the date is super nervous and hard to evaluate. Second half maybe you loosen up a bit and have a decent time. You went in with a limited time window on purpose in case it's terrible, so that time arrives pretty quickly. You consider trying to extend but because both of you timeboxed and perhaps lined up concrete other plans, extending is hard. So you part ways genuinely feeling like "well that was at least ok, but I need more information" and decide to talk again/go out again to get said information.

However it turns out the "well that was at least ok" feeling was partially just relief that this potentially awkward meeting was over. And then you get home and think.. you know, I really don't think I need more information and I don't actually feel very excited about seeing that person again, and maybe my time would be better spent trying to meet someone I'm actually excited about. (who knows if that's even a Thing, but you think it maybe is) And since you barely interacted with the person to begin with, getting into an explanation of "why not hang out again" is more awkward than not saying anything at all. And when neither person says anything, and this way of parting happens dozens of times, it starts to feel normal and expected.

And because app dating is based on volume, and because volume dating is completely soul killing and depressing, the only way to keep doing it without feeling terrible is to just keep the extra depressing/sad interactions to a minimum. So that's why many people ghost. Telling four people in two weeks that you aren't interested despite maybe thinking you were at first but changed your mind, and having one or two of them react badly and making you feel awful is enough to make you just give up dating entirely. Volume dating requires some amount of self preservation. (And this all assumes no physical contact. With intimacy or sex it makes this all 1000x worse.)

I hate all of this, so I have adjusted my own habits to only go out with people that I'm pretty damn sure I'm already very interested in (which is hard with apps), and I never end a date implying that there may be further contact because I know that the end of date feelings are not trustworthy and subject to change a few hours later.

There is a lot written about how awful volume dating actually is. Sadly the services that actually try to set up better connections up front and try to avoid the volume problem don't have nearly the user base nor do they tickle our phone addicted dopamine-seeking brains so we tend to ignore them now.

Writing this makes me feel gross and I think I am going to delete Bumble now and go back into the real world. On the bright side the world is too overpopulated anyway so maybe it's better that we don't meet anyone..."

Now how's that for introspection? See ya'll next week.

Justin SmithComment