Not Everyone Agrees On When It's OK To Ghost Someone

"Dump people the way you want to be dumped."

Everyone has different ideas when it comes to acceptable dating behavior. Take, for example, ghosting — when, if at all, is it justified? We wanted to hear from readers about their own experiences with cutting off contact with someone they’ve dated, or being left hanging without an explanation themselves. We received more than 700 responses to our nonscientific survey and selected a cross-section of stories that illustrate how we date now. (Note: Responses have been edited for clarity and style, and the survey asked respondents to identify their age within a range rather than being specific.) Read our main story about ghosting and emotional debt here.

People who were ghosted

I was talking to this one guy who was closeted and really wanted to start trying sexual things with a guy, so we became “friends.” Afterward, he would not respond to my texts and unfollowed me on all socials.
—Gay man, 18–24

My girlfriend suddenly stopped returning my calls and texts. Turns out she had started messing around with a mutual friend and was too ashamed to come clean about it.
Bisexual woman, 18–24

I had been dating a girl I met online for a few weeks. She went to Burning Man and I never heard from her again after that.
—Straight man, 25–34

The guy I had been dating for a few weeks ghosted me when I moved to another city. Prior to the move, he told me we’d talk even more when I moved and he planned to visit me the following month. Once I moved, he slowly stopped communicating with me and then called me a desperate bitch after I asked what was going on. 🤷🏼‍♀️
Straight woman, 25–34

Back in 2015, I had a date set up to watch a movie with someone I had met three times before. She wanted to see Paddington, but I said Creed looked more interesting. After texting her to ask what time she’d like to meet, I never heard back (even to this day). She also unfollowed me on Twitter shortly after. Maybe that just gave her an out, but I was hurt. I've since seen Paddington and loved it.
Bisexual man, 25–34

I had a boyfriend who was supposed to move across the state with me. About a week before we the move, we had planned to go to a birthday party. He never showed up, texted, called, all that jazz, and I didn’t hear back. Then two weeks later I finally got a text that he “couldn’t be that far away from his family.”
Six months later, he moved to Ethiopia.
—Gay man, 25–34

I was recently ghosted after six months of dating a guy. He gave me chlamydia and we made it through that and all of a sudden he stopped talking to me.
—Bisexual woman, 18–24

People who ghosted others

Thought I liked someone. Talked and talked. Went on two dates. Met someone else. Liked him more, ghosted the other guy, and continued to talk to the other guy, who later GHOSTED ME!
—Straight woman, 25–34

We had a nice date, and he asked to go out again but then like the next day Kavanaugh got confirmed to the Supreme Court and I just couldn’t with men at that time. Spent the weekend drinking and eating and shopping and by the time I was not depressed and remembered he texted, it was a week later.
—Straight woman, 25–34

I've ghosted friends from high school due to burnout. I work, come home, do whatever needs to be done or what I feel I immediately want to do, and go to sleep to repeat the process. The guilt is hell.
—Bisexual man, 18–24

After three good dates and sex, didn't finish a conversation due to high anxiety levels and couldn't articulate why I didn't want to see her anymore
—Straight man, 25–34

I was literally BF and GF with this guy who was like eight years older than me. He was in the Navy, and when he left for sea and I figured I didn't miss him as much as I thought I would have. When he texted me after his three months working under the sea I was like, "Hey do you think this is going to work?" and he was like, "Yeah, of course." I just never texted back and he never sent another message. Now Ii've met someone else but we never officially broke up so I guess I have two boyfriends.
—Straight woman, 25–34

My New Year's resolution for 2019 is actually to STOP ghosting people. I've done it so many times, none of them stand out to me in particular. I know it's bad, but it's so much easier to do than having an actual breakup conversation with someone, especially if you've only been messaging with someone or have only gone on one date with the person.—Gay man, 18–24

Have some advice to give someone who has been ghosted?

Try to move on and maybe take some boxing lessons and pretend the punching bag is the ghost.
—Straight woman, 18–24

Ghosting karma is real. Dump people the way you'd want to be dumped.
—Straight woman, 35–44

Ghosting is OKAY. It’s normal. People aren’t meant to be in your life forever. If you take every silent rejection to the heart, you’ll never make it in show business, baby.
—Gay man, 25–34

There's no real answer — you're left with an empty hole in your heart.
Straight man, 45–54

They are probably still checking out what you're doing, so just keep living your best possible life and don't let them back in.
—Straight woman, 18–24

Spot illustrations by Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Getty Images.

This story is part of a series about debts of all kinds.

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