Ghosting is a brutal, yet non-confrontational way to end a relationship, a hookup, or a one-time coffee date without actually ending anything at all. And if you have ever entered the mobile app dating scene, chances are you’ve been ghosted — or may have been the one doing the ghosting.
Some say dating apps aren’t all bad, though. Damona Hoffman believes that those apps create an unprecedented amount of choices for women that were unimaginable for previous generations.
The online dating coach and relationship expert said that this form of dating, which gives women more relationship options, is causing a switch in gender roles. “We’re not having to hitch our wagon to a man just to have a roof over our head,” Hoffman said. “Now we have the ability to build our own lifestyle and find a partner who is really the best fit…anywhere in the world.”
But as a result of the culture of online dating, Merriam-Webster added the word “ghost” to the dictionary on Feb. 7.
“Ghost”: A verb meaning “to abruptly cut off all contact with someone by no longer accepting or responding to texts.”
The culprit behind the ghosting phenomenon is a lack of real connection. Dating apps remove “all the depth” from online dating, dating coach Evan Marc Katz said. It’s the consequence of an instant-gratification society. “You swipe right and deal with the consequences,” he said. “Everyone becomes more disposable, because they are.”
Hoffman doesn’t want to give all the credit for ghosting to dating apps, however. She thinks texting culture is more to blame, as people become just names in your phone.
“I will go on the record and say texting is the worst thing that ever happened to dating,” Katz said. “We’re not going to put the genie back in the bottle, but if you want to trace where the miscommunication comes from, it’s because we’re getting further and further away from real interaction.”
It’s likely that if you have used a dating app, you know exactly what Katz is talking about. A survey released by the dating site Plenty of Fish reported that 78 percent of single millennials have been ghosted at least once.
With the prevalence of ghosting, is using a dating app in an attempt to find love even a real option?
“Invariably, if you have tens of millions of people connecting through swiping right and texting, some of them are going to work out,” Katz said.
Hoffman also says not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. She believes you shouldn’t retreat from the dating scene and let your self-esteem be lowered because of ghosting.
“I don’t think it’s something you can really take offense at if it happens before a third date,” Hoffman said.
Although Katz said that this form of instant-gratification dating brings out the player in everybody, the same survey from Plenty of Fish found that almost 75 percent of millennials use dating apps because they are looking for a serious relationship.
And although it’s important to acknowledge the problems with dating via apps, both Katz and Hoffman have clients who have swiped their way into successful relationships.
Regardless of how you choose to date, be cautious and happy dating!