Is It Ghosting If You Never Went On A Single Date?
Last week’s episode of “Insecure” was an exploration in the emotional turmoil many women experience when a man they’ve dated or talked to decides to end all communication without explanation. To make a long story short, it drives us crazy and sends us into an unhealthy emotional, questioning spiral trying to determine what happened and why you weren’t good enough or even worthy of an explanation.
It can get ugly. And really, the idea that someone with whom you shared a connection would just disappear, is hurtful. In a recent interview with GQ, Rae shared that she knows this from personal experience.
But she also shared that she herself has ghosted men…she just can’t stand when it happens to her.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have hypocrisy.
But I would be lying if I said she and I didn’t share similar stories. I’ve been ghosted by people, one person really. This is someone I’ve known for years. Someone who would pop in and disappear whenever we had a disagreement or conflict. As you can imagine, this did a number on my ability to express myself freely. I was always biting my tongue, wondering if the next thing I said, would be the reason we didn’t talk for the next year or so. There was never an announcement about us not talking anymore or how long these absences would last. I’d just know when they were over when we ran into each other unexpectedly or I received a random text, a message on Facebook and later, a like on Instagram.
At the time, this cycle didn’t seem like a big deal. I knew it wasn’t ideal but it would be years before I recognized it as truly dysfunctional.
Still, even when I knew that’s not how you treat someone, I did something similar once I’d moved on from that relationship.
I met this dude at a friend’s birthday party. He was Southern with some exorbitantly Black name. I was dancing, standing around my sister and friend and he was eyeing the group. I knew he wanted to talk to one of us, I just couldn’t tell which one of us it was.
But after a few minutes, he summoned the courage to step up. He told me that he was from Mississippi and had been in New York for just a couple of months. The conversation was pleasant but not remarkable. After all, we were in the midst of a club. So I gave him my number, wondering if he had anything else interesting to say.
By the time I was in the cab on my way home, he texted me spelling his Black-ass name. I thought that was cute.
The next morning, I received another text saying Good Morning, wishing me a good day. Standard stuff.
I responded, hoping that something interesting would come later. Perhaps an invitation where we could speak like, in person.
But that never came.
Every morning, it was Good Morning. Occasionally, in the afternoon I’d receive a “How’s your day going?” And in the evening, “Good night.”
I tried to spark something. I asked how he liked New York, asked about his work, whether he enjoyed it. All of that. I’d receive one-word answers and there were never any follow-up questions about me or my life.
And so after two weeks of this back and forth, I decided that I’d had enough. I couldn’t take any more boring conversation, no incentive in trying to set up a date. Nothing.
When the next Good Morning text came, I just ignored it. And the text after that. Finally, around New Year’s Eve, homeboy got the message. And sent something that said, “So, I guess you don’t want to talk anymore.”
In my mind, I said “That’s exactly right” and ignored that one too.
It wasn’t my finest moment. When I questioned myself about my actions, months later, I recognized that the decent thing for me to do would have been to acknowledge that I didn’t see our communication going anywhere and so I would like not to continue it. That would have been mature. But rationalized by saying that we weren’t in a relationship, didn’t have a dating history and had never had a fleshed out conversation. So I wasn’t that wrong. I thought men act out when they’re rejected and I didn’t want to be confronted on my phone. Though he never knew enough about me to find me. I thought perhaps I didn’t owe him anything else.
But watching Issa practically lose her mind over Nathan, the ghost, and then to hear her say she’s done the same thing, I wondered if women have the right to be upset or if we behave in similar, if not the exact same, ways.
At the end of the day, rejection feels like rejection for both men and women. It’s hurtful. And we have to be mature enough to say when we want out.
Or maybe I’m giving myself a hard time. Do you consider it ghosting when you start ignoring texts? Should you give an explanation when you decide to stop communicating with someone?
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.