It’s a tale as old as Tinder: you meet someone, hit it off, go on a few dates that might end in sleepovers and then, suddenly, they disappear off the face of the earth. No note, no text saying “sorry”. They just vanish, as if they only existed in your head.
Disappearing on a new (or even established) flame isn’t unique to our highly-digitized age, but with the advents of social media and online dating, it makes it as easy to ghost on people as it does to meet them – if not more so.
There are few feelings in the world worse than being ghosted, but if you want to know for sure that it’s happening before deleting your boo’s contact info and pulling out the ice cream and rom coms, keep an eye out for the following signs:
Their Responses Are Few and Far Between
A classic first sign of ghosting occurs when the person you’re seeing either takes forever to respond to you or, worse, doesn’t respond at all. There shouldn’t be an expectation that the person you’re seeing responds immediately to texts, but if they regularly take six or more hours to get back to you, that’s not a good sign.
You Feel Like You’re Doing All the Work
We all know that relationships are never truly fifty-fifty at all times, but there comes a point at the beginning of being ghosted where you realize that you’re investing way more time, energy and possibly even money into a relationship than the person you’re seeing.
It may be that you always hit them up to make plans and feel like they never do, or that you go out of your way to do or buy stuff for them without them ever returning the favor. Whatever your individual case may be, if it feels like an unequal distribution of effort, you might be on the road to ghosting.
Things Moved Super Fast
The millennial obsession with immediacy often spills over into our relationships: if you haven’t had at least one immediately hot-and-heavy situationship, chances are you know someone who has. With chronic ghosters, the immediacy isn’t just physical – it’s often accompanied by a super fast emotional connection as well.
While every relationship has its own speed, the rapid succession of sex and intimacy not only scares some participants, but also can be a bit of a repeat strategy for ghosters. These types often live fast and leave a trail of broken hearts behind them, and you may be the next one on the receiving end of their scorched earth love life.
Making Plans Is Like Pulling Teeth
You’re supposed to want to see the person you’ve been seeing, so if getting your inattentive boo to pin down a date to hang out seems impossible, it’s likely that they are setting the stage for what many call the “slow fade”: ghosting slowly on someone while still getting what you want from them.
This difficulty making plans is often paired with a number of excuses, from the classic “I’m really busy this week” to “I’ve got a work thing this weekend”. If they aren’t jumping at the opportunity to hang out with you, they’re not worth it – and might also be ghosting you at any rate.
They Can’t Seem to Keep Plans
Everyone’s entitled to a few instances of flaking, but if your paramour chronically cancels plans once you actually make them, that’s never a good sign.
Over-canceling is also often accompanied by excuses, from “I’ve got to go home to feed my cat” to “I forgot that I’m going out of town this weekend,” but, no matter the reason, canceling on someone regularly is both rude and a huge red flag that you might be the victim of the slow ghost.
You Don’t Know How They Feel About You
If your relationship didn’t get emotionally hot and heavy über fast, you might be in a completely different situation: one where you have no idea how the person you’re supposedly dating feels about you.
People can, of course, be shy or choose to keep their emotions close to their chests, but after a certain point never knowing exactly “what you are” isn’t just maddening, but can also be a warning sign that they intend to do a disappearing act.
They Haven’t Deleted Their Dating Apps
In this bizarre dating age, exclusivity can’t be assumed, but the typical relationship trajectory often contains people deleting their Tinders, Grindrs, OkCupids and Bumbles because they just don’t need them anymore.
Sure, maybe they simply forgot to delete them, but if you catch the person you’re dating swiping, it’s at the very least a sign that they’re talking to other people – and it’s easy to infer that they might also be looking to ghost on you, too.
You Never Know Where Their Head Is
When you start getting close to someone, there are few things weirder and more confusing than feeling them pull away.
If your love interest has started seeming distant and weird by checking their phone all the time, answering your questions vaguely, or worse, being less affectionate and more aloof, it’s very likely that they are preparing for their phantasmagoric exit.
They Ignore You in Public
This is one of the biggest and most painful of signs that the person you’ve begun giving your heart to is getting ready to ghost you: you run into them at the bar, in the grocery store or any other heavily-trafficked area, only to have them mutter a half-assed “hey” accompanied by a wave or, worse, ignore you completely.
Being ignored by someone you thought was into you sucks just as bad in your late teens and twenties as it does in middle school, and this isn’t just super rude, it’s also a definite sign that they at the very least don’t want to be seen with you in public, and likely don’t want to keep seeing you at all.
They Delete You on Social Media – or Never Added You in the First Place
There are two types of ghosters: those who start relationships intending to ghost on people, and those who make that decision when things aren’t going their way. There’s no place this is more evident than on social media.
If your wayward lover never added you on Facebook or followed you on Instagram or Tinder and you now suspect they’re ghosting you, chances are that was always their plan. If they did add you when they first met and have now deleted or unfollowed you, that’s almost certainly a nail in the coffin.
Getting ghosted sucks, and is one of the worst aspects of modern dating. If by now you’re sure that the person you thought you were dating is doing the Houdini, it’s time to load up Netflix, grab some beer and junk food, and settle into your feelings – and maybe reactive your dating apps.
Now check out 7 common Tinder mistakes you might be making.
- Words: Noor Al-Sibai
- Illustrations: Stephen Cheetham