Ah, the holidays. Heavenly gingerbread smells fill the air, Mariah Carey is back to having the only real Xmas bop, and you’re headed home to spend some quality time in your hometown. A notification pops up while you’re waiting at the airport – it’s Dante, your puberty fever dream from freshman year algebra. He’s asking if you can carve time out of your busy schedule to sneak away and catch up with an old friend, wink wink.
Your horny inner-15 year old texts back eagerly and you both set up a casual hangout at the local wine bar. “Drinks are on me, but dessert is on you,” Dante flirts. You message your best friend to make sure he’s not playing around or boo’d up. They assure you that he’s on the hunt and ready to be hunted. You Lyft over to the restaurant and wait out front where y’all said you’d meet.
“You still good to meet today? :)”
“Are we still on”
Furious and humiliated, you call a car and spent the rest of your time at home fuming over the fact that you got ghosted by Dante. You don’t hear from him again (oh, except for the “like” that appears from beyond the grave on your New Years Eve selfie 🙄). Your holiday is officially ruined.
What is ghosting? According to Psychology Today, ghosting is the phenomenon in which “…someone that you believe cares about you…disappears from contact without any explanation at all.” Though it is painful all year round, there is something particularly hurtful about ghosting happening during the holidays. Perhaps it is that we let our guards fall lower than normal, or that we are reconnecting with people that used to occupy different spaces in our lives.
Whatever the reason, we can all agree being ghosted sucks. Scratch that – being ghosted really sucks. So we’ve compiled a list of ways to avoid being ghosted and ways to knock yourself out of a post-ghost funk – think of it as an early Christmas present from us that you can use all year round!
Make plans in a group first
Has it been a while since you saw this person? Never hung out with them one-on-one? If you’re trying to not get your hopes too high, make it a less high-stakes situation by inviting them to hang out in a group setting. This way, even if they don’t show, you still have a group of friends to fall back on.
Set clear expectations and boundaries
This one’s a tough one because, you know, communication. If you’re really invested in this person, be upfront and open about what you want this encounter to be. Are you looking to kindle a spark or reignite a flame? More interested in a one-night stand type situation? Firstly, make sure you’re prepped if you need it. Then, tell them! Let them know if you’re concerned about the potential of ghosting. Obviously, we can’t control what other’s choose to do, but demystifying your feelings on the subject can help avoid unintentional hurt feelings and miscommunication (cornerstones of modern day ghosting).
Learn from other’s mistakes
So this Dante character, right? You knew that he talks a big talk but is a documented serial ghoster and still you let your teenhood obsession convince you that you were the exception to the rule. Sorry, honey, that’s just not the case. If someone has a history of being flaky and unreliable, that is a huge red flag. If you’re still interested in them romantically, take things slow, refer to our point above about communication, and manage your expectations. Know that if you choose to pursue, there is only a slim chance that they will change their ways for you. Sorry, boo.
So you ignored the signs or, more likely, the person ignored your feelings and ya got ghosted. We’re sorry babe. Here are some of our suggestions for breaking out of the cloud of sadness that getting ghosted leaves behind.
Go on a friend-date or family excursion
It’s really easy to wallow and shut yourself into your childhood room with Netflix and all the chocolate in the house, but one of the best things to do is to surround yourself with those who you love and who love you in return. One person’s seeming disinterest does not determine your self worth and spending quality time with the people who love your smile and laughter and so much more is a great way to boost your self confidence! Go out and do something fun or stay in and have an evening of board games or a movie night. You can talk about or choose to steer clear of the subject. In no time, you’ll be feeling like your old self!
Take some time for self reflection
Not everyone has the luxury of a supportive and loving family or close-knit group of friends. Sometimes, the only person that you can rely on is yourself. If you are able-bodied, take a relaxing walk or hike – if not, draw a nice bath or do something that you know that you enjoy doing regularly. Visit a museum you’ve been meaning to check out and spend some quality time with Number One (that’s you!). You can choose to reflect on the situation or to think deeply about other parts of your life. Remember – the problem is with them and not you. Make that your mantra.
Practice self love (and self-love)
Come on, we’re Sexual + Being, of course we had to include this one! Can’t get crappy Dante off your mind? Envelop yourself in self-love: turn the lights down, play some music to get you in the mood, and get busy! There is science behind the idea that masturbation can put you in a better mood, as the act itself helps to release endorphins, feel-good hormones that help you get better sleep. So, honestly, why the @#$! not? You deserve it!
In all seriousness, if you’ve been ghosted recently or in the past, we are so sorry. It was be a deeply emotional and traumatic experience. We hope that, with a little humor and all of our love and support, you’ll be able to move on and be stronger after the fact!