I just got Ghosted. How do I proceed?


RosesAndRoses asks

I had been chatting with the bartender at my local bar recently. We have a bit in common and laugh a lot together. One night, knowing that it’s his JOB to flirt and taking a risk, I asked if he’d like to hang out sometime. He said yes, and I slipped him my number. The following day, I assumed I wouldn’t hear from him, but alas! He texted! Just wanted to “send over a line.” With a big smiley. I responded saying I hoped the rest of his night went well, and he said yes and that he’d talk to me soon. More smilies.

I decided to go for it and ask if he wanted to come over sometime to hang out and he said “totally!” And followed up saying his schedule was busy but also gave me available days. I responded saying “maybe Tuesday or Wednesday” and when I get out of work. Then, nothing. That was over 48 hours ago. Our exchange had lasted over about 24 hours. Big breaks in between.

I fear that I came on too strong. Or that he expects to just see me at the bar. But I’m also too shy to go there since I’m afraid I embarrassed myself. Or maybe he was texting just to be nice, but do people actually do that?

He came up in my “people you may know” on Facebook and I worry he snooped my profile and saw something he didn’t like. I can also see he’s logged on in the last couple days. I don’t know. I don’t get this ghosting thing. Why text me at all? Why give me possible times? I have been out of the dating scene for a while and this as one of my first experiences back into it. I just don’t understand how someone’s switch can flip so quickly.

Demetrius says:

Before I tackle your question let’s start with some minor housekeeping. First, it’s no one’s “job” to flirt. Yes, it’s always safe to fall back on the traditional gender-roles and mores that society has placed on us, but expecting a guy to always make the first move will only limit you in the future. It is the “job” of people who are attracted to others to share that information if they choose to. Well, really it’s your “job” to tell people you’re attracted to that you’re attracted to them IF you actually want to date them. I’m attracted to a lot of women, but I don’t make it the centerpiece of all of my conversations because I’m not trying to date every woman I find attractive. Second, “alas” implies woe, grief, pity, or concern. You can’t use it as a remark to indicate positive excitement as you’ve done. Example: “Alas, Grandpa Obadiah was claimed by consumption in the year of our Lord, 1894”.

Okay, housekeeping out of the way. Let’s talk about Ghosting. Ghosting generally means that you went on a date or two, they lost interest for whatever reason, then instead of telling you they lost interest, they cut contact. What makes Ghosting so frustrating is that there was interest shown, maybe some hints that things would progress, then a completely out of the blue disappearance. What I’m trying to say is…you didn’t get Ghosted. Like, at all. You got really passively aggressively rejected. I know what you said about the scenario, but let’s put it into plain language:

  • You have good conversation with this bartender
  • You asked if he wanted to hang out sometime, he said yes, you gave him your number
  • He texted, saying that he was texting you and wishing you a good night and said he’d talk to you soon
  • You asked if he wanted to hang out with you sometime and he agreed, but then followed up by saying that he was really busy
  • He’s not very responsive to texts

Think about the scenario as I’ve laid it out. Does he seem romantically interested at any point, or was he just being polite? He didn’t Ghost so much as he was trying to make it clear he wasn’t interested in dating you and you haven’t picked up on the hints. Those hints being his reluctance to see you, his busyness and his lack of timely responses. It’s fairly clear that he has zero interest in pursuing you romantically. Yes, he texted you after you gave him your number but I’m thinking that was more of a “I don’t want to seem rude after she gave me her number” thing, which admittedly was a bad move on his part. That said, the only other option is sending no text at all and I’m guessing that you’d interpret that as him leading you on by not refusing your number. Sure he could have refused your number altogether, but how rude what that have seemed?

You didn’t come on too strong because he wasn’t interested in you. You can’t come on too strong with someone who you never had a shot with. As for why he texted you, well part of that is probably just thinking it was a good idea to text but then hint at the fact that he wasn’t interested in dating,  or it could be that he had the tiniest amount of interest in seeing you at the time, but not enough to warrant any sort of effort on his part to actually hang out with you. Either way, putting any more thought into this scenario is a waste of time and energy on your part. Whether you agree with my assertions or not, you don’t have a shot with this guy. Whether it’s because you came on too strong and he ghosted, or if that’s wrong (it totally is) and he just wasn’t that into you to begin with.

It’s not necessarily the job of straight men to do ALL the flirting, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s the “job” of everyone to indicate attraction and interest if they want it reciprocated. If he isn’t doing that, which to be clear and final on the matter, he is not, then it’s time to move on. It doesn’t matter why a guy Ghosted (again, he didn’t) or loses interest (again, there wasn’t any interest there) or if you come on too strong (again, you didn’t). All that matters is that you were rejected and it’s time to move on. Alas, that’s just how dating works.

Good Luck Out There.