Hello. Welcome, to what is possibly the most first world problem conversation you’re sure to encounter this year. My name is Valentina and those who know me are also acutely aware that: I’m socially awkward, don’t enjoy big groups of people and am forever looking for reasons and ways not to interact with people outside of my workplace and close group of friends.
I’m the sort of person who says “you too” when a barista tells me to enjoy my coffee. Who only travels in a pair because the thought of having to make meaningful conversation on my own terrifies me. The one who feigns small talk and uncomfortable office kitchen side smiles. You might also call me a millennial.
If there was a test that measured your level of social awkwardness against your likelihood of ghosting, I would pass with flying colours.
For a while, there was a rumour going around the Mamamia office that I was, in reality, a ghost and only apparated (for those in with Harry Potter speak) within its walls and couldn’t actually make myself appear anywhere else. Fun fact. For this reason, you could quite rightly assume that I am a ghoster of the highest standing and often participated in this heinous behaviour before I got into a long-term relationship.
For those of you who haven't been introduced to the fun world of 21st century dating, here's a quick rundown of what ghosting someone actually means. You're talking to someone online, you're getting along like a house on fire. You go out on a date and it's OK. Not good, not bad, just OK. You text the person that you had a nice time and you might like to catch up again. Then... radio silence. You, my dear friend, have just been ghosted. Or maybe you've been the person doing the ghosting.
You see, when it comes to dating, there are many reasons why people ghost. For me, the biggest has been that I don't like to let people down and I also avoid confrontation like the plague. I dislike both equally as much and when it comes to letting someone down who you've decided isn't quite right for you, it can be far simpler to tap your thumb on a screen and disappear than face having 'that conversation' and telling someone exactly why you're...just not that into them.
In the digital age, it's never been easier to ghost. But as you get on, when you chat to friends and family members who are on the dating scene, you begin to realise the act of ghosting or having someone ghost on you is just really crappy and unfair.
Whatever happened to treating people with respect? There has to be a better way to let someone down, right? That's why it's time to take a stand against ghosting. Put simply, it's got to stop.
Changing the culture of dating is one of the main aims of Bumble, the dating and friendship app that aims to make digital relationships personal again. The app, which launched in 2014 and has been prolific ever since, has often been dubbed a "feminist" dating app because women make the first move - but the goal is to empower people of all sexes and sexual preferences to date in a safer, kinder and more equitable way.
Michelle Battersby, Bumble's country lead, Australia, told me how they're taking the lead on being anti-ghosting.
"We really discourage ghosting," Michelle says. "Bumble have been known to call out users who don't treat one another with respect and with that we really encourage our users not to ghost one another.
"Unfortunately ghosting is something that occurs within the realm of dating. The 24-hour rule on Bumble aims to assist in eliminating this. The female must initiate a conversation within 24 hours and if there is no response on the other side the match disappears."
That's one good way to ghost-bust. And if you need more tips to break up with your ghosting behaviour, here are some ways to make it happen:
1. Be upfront.
It's OK to tell someone you're not interested. It's as simple as that. If someone asks you out on a second date after you didn't enjoy the first one, you have grounds to say: "I'm not interested". You'd be surprised how many people appreciate your honesty over leaving them wondering why you disappeared.
2. Be kind and sensitive to their feelings.
When it comes to dating, it's not always a case of the nice ones finish last. Being kind can't be underestimated and goes a long way in letting someone down gently. Saying something along the lines of, "You're a wonderful person but I don't feel the kind of connection I'm looking for" is an open and honest way to let someone go.
3. Give them a reason (if you feel comfortable doing so).
If you've been out with this person a few times and the more you see each other, the more you realise it's not working for you, they may benefit from you giving them a reason why. You're not obliged to do this, you should only give a reason if you feel comfortable doing so. But often this can be the best way for the other person to get closure.
4. Tell them you would still like to be friends.
Not all relationships lend themselves to being romantic. If you enjoy spending time with the person but there's just no 'spark', you can tell them them you really do enjoy their company and would like to maintain the friendship. You might not have found a partner but gaining a friend is a wonderful thing.
The moral of the story is there are far better ways to send the signal that you're not interested in someone than ghosting them. Aside from being the right thing to do, ghosting someone often doesn't leave you feeling great either and you don't want to be carrying that around with you from one relationship to another. As Aretha Franklin sings, 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T' really does go a long way.
For more golden nuggets like this, trawl Mamamia's best and latest dating advice articles right here.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Bumble.
Bumble started as an app to connect people with future significant others, but Bumble is no longer only a dating app. We firmly believe that life is about relationships, and our mission is to provide people with a better way to meet. We have partnered with Mamamia to bring you the ultimate guide on how to Bumble. Whether you are connecting with potential partners, friends through Bumble BFF or soon Business connections through Bumble Biz we will be the place you are no longer afraid to meet the people you don’t know.