In case you’ve been in a lesbian relationship so long you have completely lost touch with millennial terms, to “ghost” means to cut off contact with someone abruptly without explanation, aka to suddenly disappear. It’s most often used in the context of dating and relationships, but it also applies to friendship and any other human relationship. There’s really no guide to ghosting as of now. Got it? OK, cool.
“Ghosting” is one of the least cool inventions of the 21st century. It’s commonplace now, and, while it does make sense to do in certain situations, it’s seriously rude in most situations. Men usually take the brunt of the blame for this crappy behavior, but let’s be real, lesbians: we also ghost each other all the time. Why go through the trouble of having a whole conversation with someone when you could just… not?
There are some situations where it is actually appropriate to ghost someone. There are other situations where it really, really sucks. There are also different methods to ghosting, and some are kinder than others.
Clearly, we need some type of etiquette guide to ghosting for lesbians. So, HERE IT IS.
There are acceptable times to ghost
Ghosting gets a bad rap because obviously not answering someone is rude, right? Would you ever do that in real life? Probably not, unless they just called your cat ugly. But we’re living in a different age now, and it’s easier than ever to just walk away with no consequence. It’s also possible to get into a level of contact with someone that really doesn’t require a formal conversation to end it.
Here are a few times when it’s appropriate to ghost someone:
- When you’ve texted casually but never been on a date
- When you have been on a date but it’s been like a year and you forget what she looks like and she texts you out of nowhere and you reply at first but then you get bored
- When she’s a manipulative asshole. These people do not deserve an explanation and/or would likely argue with you if you tried to give one.
That’s pretty much it. Basically, you can ghost her if she’s a bad person or if you barely know each other.
In every other situation, it is kind and appropriate to send a quick text explaining that you’re not interested/moving to Mongolia/got back with your ex/becoming a nun. If you two have been booed up for any amount of time, consider getting on the phone to break up like it’s 1998.
It is painful to be ghosted, so you should always err on the side of communicating clearly unless there’s a good reason not to.
If you’re going to ghost, go all the way
Let’s say you’ve decided to ghost someone. There is a proper way to go about this, mmkay? Don’t half-ass it, or you’ll send mixed messages and make your own life more difficult.
If you’re not answering their texts, don’t keep commenting on their Instagram posts. If you randomly stopped talking to them two weeks ago, don’t send them a meme at 2 a.m. when you’re drunk because your girlfriend broke up with you again. It’s really mean to just drop in and out of someone’s life like that, so, if you’re going to be gone, then be gone. You’re a ghost! Act like one!
On that note…
Don’t ghost someone you’ll see around later
Come on now, there are only like 10 lesbians in the world. If you’re dating someone in your general circle, don’t ghost them! You will make things awkward for no reason—WAY MORE awkward than if you just sent a casual explanation of the situation. You can’t be a true ghost if you see them at happy hour every other week, so don’t even try.
What’s that you say? Every person you date is in your circle? Then no ghosting for you, sorry!
Haunting is the new ghosting, haven’tcha heard? “Haunting” is when you ghost someone but continue to watch their stories on Instagram. Sometimes you even like their posts or leave a heart emoji (the ghost equivalent of knocking a book off the shelf to announce your presence).
Haunting is creepy. It’s confusing. It’s misleading. It’s cowardly. It’s all of these things and more. There is no virtue to haunting. Don’t do it.
Ghostees may send one request for clarity…
You can generally tell that you’re being ghosted because the person is clearly not dead, but they’re also not answering you anymore. Is it okay to double or triple text to ask WTF is going on? Nope. But you can send one request for an explanation–a short, nice and undramatic one–if that will make you feel better.
Often, ghosts will be like “Oh yeah sorry, I suck, but I’m busy with work/banging my ex/not interested in you at all.” But, sometimes, they won’t, in which case…
…Ghostees must accept their fate
My condolences. Being ghosted is painful, in large part because you have no control over the situation, and losing control sucks. It’s frustrating, and you may be tempted to say or do something genius to force them to talk to you. Try to resist that urge.
Allow me to quote the tarot reader and social worker Jessica Dore, who wrote about the urgent need to Say Or Do Something: “Speech and action alter the environment, for sure, and by altering the environment we get to feel a momentary sense of control.” Instead, she recommends sitting with those urges to identify the feelings you’re trying to outrun.
It’s okay to be sad about being ghosted! And mad, and insulted, and all the other feelings. You can’t, unfortunately, control any other person’s actions. It’s not a reflection on you—it’s a reflection on her. As you cry into your wine, allow this crappy behavior to help you build a new, more-informed perspective of what type of person this ghost truly is. Which is maybe not someone you needed around all that much anyway.
Whew, that got deep! Anyway, those are all the etiquette rules in the guide to ghosting for now.
Can you think of any other rules for ghosting?