Ghosting – the act of ceasing all communication with someone without any warning – is quickly becoming a commonplace activity in the modern dating world. In fact, not ghosting someone is now considered to be a very nice thing to do, which is insane. I’m no scientist, but given how easily one can find a new potential love interest, the act of ghosting makes a bizarre sort of sense.
Before the advent of Tinder and its ilk, finding someone to date was a process requiring a fairly significant investment of time and effort. And when you did find someone, you were happy enough to have found them that you wouldn’t just vanish without a trace. Now, however, the “process” can be as simple as swiping a few times on your phone; in other words, it doesn’t require the same amount of effort.
I’ve ghosted women before. I’m not proud of it – it would have been much more considerate just to tell them I wasn’t interested, if for no other reason than to ensure they didn’t spend a second longer thinking about me. But telling someone you’re not interested or that it’s not good timing isn’t an easy conversation, so for a lot of people, it’s easier just to avoid it. They’ll figure it out eventually, right?
Ghosting is a shitty, selfish thing to do. But what if you’ve ghosted someone and wish you hadn’t? It’s assumed that there’s no coming back from a ghosting, but that isn’t always the case. Getting someone to give you another shot after you’ve ghosted them is difficult – and rightfully so – but not impossible. Here’s the best way to do it.
Know Why You’re Reaching Back Out
Before you try to re-establish contact with them, you first need to ask yourself two questions.
The first question is: why did you ghost them? Remember: this is someone who trusted you, and you’ve already betrayed that trust once. Maybe you were worried you were moving too fast; maybe you were scared of the prospect of being in a committed relationship. The point is, you need to know why you ghosted, and you need to be certain that you’ve moved past whatever issues caused you to ditch them in the first place.
The second question is, why are you reaching back out? What is it about this specific person that makes you want to reconnect? The decision not to pursue a relationship with that person might have been completely valid, even if the way you went about communicating it was by, well, not communicating it.
If you can’t answer these two questions, then do the other person a favor and spare them the additional stress of having to go through all that again.
Acknowledge That You Screwed Up
If you think you’re going to saunter back into someone’s life with nothing more than a “How ya been?” you’re sorely mistaken.
Odds are, they’re going to be pissed at you, and rightfully so; there’s no getting around that. The least you can do is acknowledge that what you did was shitty, that you regret it, and that you honestly want to give things another chance – if they’re still interested.
Don’t Offer Excuses (Unless They Ask)
By the same token, unless you happen to have a very good reason for ghosting (like, “Kidnapped by ISIS” good), don’t offer excuses to justify your behavior.
Doing the right thing wouldn’t have required that much effort – most ghosting happens before the relationship gets too serious, so you really only needed to send a text or maybe a phone call. Any excuse that involves you still having full possession and use of your phone is just going to make things worse.
It’s possible that the person you ghosted might want to hear your excuse. In some cases, they could have already decided they aren’t going to give you another shot but still want to hear whatever bullshit you come up with. But in others, there’s a chance that they’re simply asking because they want to determine the likelihood that whatever caused the first ghosting isn’t going to cause another one before they decide.
Whatever you do, you need to:
If you followed my advice and asked yourself the first two questions above, then you should have a clear, concrete answer for why you ghosted in the first place. And trust me: that’s the answer you should give them if they ask what happened.
They don’t want to hear that you got “really busy at work” or that you were “visiting family.” First, that makes you look like a flake (nobody works 24 hours a day, and if you’re anything like me, you want as many distractions from visiting family as you can get). Second, it’s only going to cause more doubt in their mind as to whether you’ll just do the same thing again if they give you another chance.
There’s no guarantee that these tips will work for you. They might hear “I wasn’t ready for a relationship” as “I wanted to sleep with more people, but I got that out of my system, so now I’m circling back to you.” Even if they accept your reasoning, they still have every right to not want to give you another chance after the shit you pulled. But if you do want to give things another shot, this is your best path.
And if they turn you down, let that regret serve as a future reminder not to ghost people.