I was hanging out with a buddy last night drinking when he gets a text message notification on his phone. It pops up as “[First Name] Tinder.” Everyone who uses these apps has these names in their phone, right? My buddy opens the message and starts laughing hysterically. He turns to me and says, “Dude, you gotta read what this crazy chick sent me just now.” And he was right to laugh; it was a long-winded rambling message about how he’s a prick, a douchebag, the sex was mediocre, and how she never wants to see him again.
I chuckled. Then my curiosity got the better of me, so I scrolled up. There were several messages from her with no response from my friend. Before that, texts from her trying to make plans with one-word replies from my friend, then the smoking gun: “Hey, I had a really great time last night. Let’s do it again sometime. :)”
Clearly, my friend took this girl on a date, humped her brains out (although her angry text would suggest otherwise), and decided to just up and disappear on the girl. He was “Ghosting” her, which is now a word that the baby boomers have discovered and are now using to bash our generation. The New York Times even wrote a piece on it after it was discovered that Charlize Theron was simply not responding to Sean Penn’s texts and calls. Gasp! Those millennials are ruining the sanctity of marriage with their Tinders and their Hinges and their Ghosting and STDs! Again!
I’m not going to defend Ghosting by any stretch of the imagination, far from it, but I’ll definitely say that Baby Boomers need to shut the hell up, as usual, because “back in their day,” they didn’t HAVE instant communication devices in their pockets at all times, with 13 different ways to get in touch with someone. Texts, emails, Facebook messages, Tweet DMs, even an Instagram like is enough to get someone’s attention. I saw an ex’s profile on Tinder a couple nights ago and almost had a panic attack.
On the other hand, ladies and gents, we really need to cut the shit as far as Ghosting goes, because it is a really, really, REALLY douchey practice. In an already disconnected world full of virtual relationships, FOMO and loneliness, we don’t need to ADD to that by straight-up disappearing on someone.
I’ve had it done to me, as I’m sure we all have. I took a girl out, we did the horizontal hora on the first date, and then our second date I took her to a basketball game. Great seats. You could spit on the players from these seats (which we did because they lost). After that, this girl cited her “busy schedule” and told me to reach out after a certain date. I did. She never responded. I never heard from her again. And it hurt.
Granted, this was during a much darker time in my life, so the highs were higher and the lows were bottomless, but would it have been so hard for this girl to text me and say “Hey, you’re a nice guy, but you’re not what I’m looking for right now,” or “Hey, I’m just not that into you?” Shit, I would’ve preferred “Fuck off, you fucking [insert anti-Semitic remark here].” (She was Jewish too, it’s cool when we say that to each other.)
I’ve also ghosted people before, and I’m not proud of it at all. It just seems like a really immature thing to do. It’s MUCH easier than actually telling someone the truth, but it feels so empty and impersonal. Sex and dating becomes a transaction. It’s speed-dating.
I’ve even reached out to people I met months and months ago and apologized to people FOR ghosting. I usually get something back like “Oh, it’s fine, I barely even noticed.” People seem to move on really quickly in this digital age of ours. We forget about these people as quickly and easily as taking off the condom and throwing it in the trashcan.
Everyone says you’re not gonna meet your future wife or husband on Tinder. I won’t ever meet this girl that texted my buddy, nor will I watch him walk down the aisle with her. If I ever see that girl from the basketball game again, we’ll likely avert our eyes from each other and whisper something to the person next to us about how in the dead of winter in 2015, we drunkenly hooked up. As our social networks grow, we seem to get less and less connected.
But does that mean we should treat each other like disposable people?.
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