There seems to be an unwritten code of conduct in the dating scene for our generation. I remember dating in 2013, the olden days, when the sweet ding of an incoming text from that special someone sounded off, you read your message and you answered it. Today, you can’t respond too quickly or else the person might think you’re a psycho, so it’s probably best to wait 20 minutes. Or 30 minutes. Or an hour. Maybe even four.
It is socially and physically painful to watch the endless games that both guys and girls play with each other nowadays. I feel an enduring melancholy watching my friends be played, manipulated, taken advantage of and ghosted because it is the way we “date” these days.
Did you hook up with a kind, cute, intelligent girl? Better ghost her before you catch feelings. Did you go out with an aspiring, successful, attractive guy? Better wait a few days before answering him so he doesn’t think you’re coming on to him too strong.
This is raw, but it is true. We live in a culture where being honest, forthcoming and candid is out of style. Ghosting, manipulating and “not answering too quickly” are the way to go. Think I’m wrong? You’ve probably ghosted someone, and if you haven’t, congratulations, you haven’t caved to the quintessential downfall of us millennials.
There may be some confusion about what ghosting actually is. If someone is harassing you, stalking you or persistently sending you messages after being told about your lack of interest, then you’ve done your duty. By all means, you should delete them, block them and eliminate them from your life as you see fit. That’s not ghosting.
Ghosting is a specific course of action: it is suddenly and unexpectedly disappearing from someone else’s life. As a former ghostee, it’s fair to say that it is not a fun feeling, but it is something that you get over. If you’ve been ghosted enough times, you may even become numb to it. It is simply inexplicable to me that one would rather ghost someone than tell them what’s on their mind– or worse, ghost someone because it gives the ghoster a twisted sense of pleasure knowing that they just emotionally traumatized another human being.
What I’m advocating for is a return to the transparent, honest and forthcoming culture that was at one point normal. Perhaps the most perverted aspect of this issue is the normalization of ghosting. Have you ever ghosted someone? If you did, you probably don’t feel too bad about it because you were once the victim of ghosting.
It is quite sad to see this “trend” take over younger generations. Frankly, I don’t understand what is so darn difficult about being honest and forthcoming in your relationship, and I use the term relationship very loosely as a catch-all for exclusive couples, hook up buddies and everything in between. I firmly believe in the power of honesty and candor, and they should be qualities quintessential to every relationship, friendship and companionship.
I want to end on a cheerful note because I honestly believe that we all deserve to be happy. No one deserves to have their love life impeded by others. From the bottom of my heart, I want to wish everyone a happy season of love, cuffing and everything else that comes with it.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
Daniel Schwartz is a master’s student studying philosophy.