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Getting Ghosted and How to Get Past It

by eharmony Editorial Team - April 26, 2024
This article has been reviewed by Dr Lalitaa Suglani, an eharmony relationship expert. The content has been checked for accuracy and legitimacy based on the qualifications of our expert prior to publication.Reviewed by Relationship expert Dr Lalitaa Suglani

It’s a familiar scene in online dating: you’re having a lively interaction with someone, you’ve perhaps even gone out together and then nothing. You just can’t get hold of them. They were there and now they’re not. Getting ghosted can be frustrating, confusing and just painful, particularly when you felt it was all going somewhere. We explore what being ghosted is, how to handle it and some insights into why it may be happening to you.

How many days is ghosting?

What amount of time has to pass before you should consider yourself ghosted? Getting ghosted isn’t an exact science but the consensus is three days. However, this is a general rule and can depend on a variety of factors. Here are some aspects to consider when you’re asking yourself, am I being ghosted?

The level of your relationship

The deeper your relationship, the shorter the time can be considered as having got ghosted. If you’ve just been chatting online, then even more than three days can pass until they reconnect. But if you’ve already been on a few dates, it’s not unfair to expect more frequent interactions. Ask yourself, what am I to this person? A flirtation or a potential romantic partner?

Your communication style

How often do you normally interact? Are you a big texter or more used to engaging in person? This can affect when you believe you’re getting ghosted. If someone usually texts you every day and suddenly stops, you might be justified in checking in with them. Looser communicators in new relationships may go a few days without contacting you and not find this behavior unusual.  

Context and circumstances affect getting ghosted

They may have a perfectly good reason for not being in contact, like a work emergency or family issues. But does their excuse feel valid, considering the depth of your relationship? How did they approach cutting contact? Did you initiate and they didn’t respond?

It’s important to remember that every situation is different but it can be a reflection of how that person prioritizes you in their life.

Why do I keep getting ghosted?

If you find yourself often the victim, asking why did I get ghosted again, you’re not alone. A recent survey from BankMyCell revealed that 56% of respondents had experienced ghosting1. Often, it’s more about the other person’s hang-ups than something you did. They just have unhealthy dating styles. However, there are factors that affect being ghosted.    

Pay attention to compatibility from the outset

When we’re on a date, we often get swept up in the moment. But this is when you should be getting a clearer picture of what they’re looking for and their personality. Do you share similar values and interests? Finding compatibility here can save you time and also reduce pesky ghosters.

Clear communication

Getting ghosted can often be due to a communication breakdown. You may be expecting different things from your connection. They could also have poor communication skills or have difficulty expressing needs and boundaries, and opt to withdraw from connections.

Meeting in person

According to a University of Castilla–La Mancha study, ghosting relates to the level of commitment2. Ghosting during the initial messaging stage, if you met online, is the most common. They don’t know you or your character so it’s easier to just bail out early on. The quicker and more frequently you meet in person, the less likely you are to be ghosted.  

Being on the lookout for red flags

You may find you’re actively attracting emotionally unavailable or unhealthy dating prospects. Keep an eye out for early warning signs you may be ghosted, such as them going hot and cold on you, selfish behavior, inconsistent response patterns or distant body language. 

Avoiding some common mistakes that lead to getting ghosted

It’s possible you are actively scaring off potential partners and making them ghost you. Look at your dating behavior. Self-centeredness and coming on strong can be turn-offs. Do you dominate the conversation? This can often lead to people ghosting you 

Sometimes when someone ghosts you, it’s just a simple matter that they didn’t think you fit. Which is a time saver for both of you.

What to do when someone ghosts you

Even with the right approach, you can still end up getting ghosted. But here are some strategies for how to deal with being ghosted and avoiding it.

  • Ask thoughtful questions on dates – People engage very positively when you ask them about themselves, creating a feeling of greater intimacy. Don’t interrogate them but ask about their interests and follow-up questions to show you’re interested in their life.  
  • Be mindful of the pace of intimacy – Don’t ever rush your date. Your emotions may be out of sync with theirs’your date. But give it time, you may match up soon. But kKeep an eye out for how you express your feelings and if whether they’re reciprocated.
  • Being upfront about your expectations – Tell them what you’re looking for. This one may not help if you got ghosted after the first date, but it does stop help you from wasting time with people who may want different things and may have ended up ghosting you at some point anyway.
  • Make plans – Often people can ghost you You can get ghosted when they just don’t know where your relationship is going. So keep the momentum of your connection going by actively making plans, chatting and carrying your interaction forward.
  • Message the person – Sometimes the direct route is best when figuring out how to respond to a ghosting, the best course is the direct one. If you’re in deep enough, don’t be afraid to send the person a message asking what’s happening. You find that they weren’t aware they were behaving irregularly or there were extenuating circumstances that caused the silence.

What is the best response when someone ignores you?

The most important place to start if you thing you’re being ghosted is to judge the level of your relationship. You can’t have expectations that don’t align.

Also, try to keep in mind the context of your last interactions. Was it perhaps tense or did it end in a disagreement? This may explain a reluctance to respond until it’s resolved. Try not to jump to conclusions until you’ve heard their side. Avoid opening the interaction in a hostile way. 

You’re not sure if they’re just busy or you’re getting ghosted

There could be a million reasons they haven’t initiated contact. You can be disappointed or apprehensive, but still try being open and empathetic to their explanation.

Here’s how to respond to ghosting in different contexts.

  • “Hey, how’s it going? It’s been a while.”
  • “I’m going to a bar tomorrow with some friends. Want to join?”
  • If it’s a bit further along, you could try: “Hey, I was a little sad I didn’t hear from you this week. Everything okay?”
  • Or something playful like: “You’re not great over text. Lol! Want to meet up instead?”
  • If it’s someone you’re already dating then perhaps: “Hi. I know you might be busy or distracted but it makes me feel like I’m not important to you.” 

You’ve already reached out to them

This is when it’s best to move on. However, you may want some closure or let them know their behavior was in poor taste.

Here’s how to show you know how to get over being ghosted but still have your say:

  • If it was a first date, go for: “Well it was nice getting to know you. Hope you find someone out there who suits you.”
  • Or be direct and just say: “I get the feeling I’m being ghosted so I don’t want to waste your time. Let me know if I’m wrong.”
  • If it’s been a few dates: “If you weren’t feeling it, you could have just told me. But ignoring me like this hurts.”
  • “It looks like we have very different styles of communication so maybe we should go our separate ways.”
  • If you’re in a relationship, you are owed an explanation but maybe just let it go. “I’m disappointed you weren’t the person I thought and that what we had is worth a text back. But I suppose all I can say is goodbye.”   

Getting ghosted can help you save time on bad connections

Getting ghosted may be an unfortunate side of modern dating but it’s one single people just have to accept. As long as you approach dating the right way, and know when to bow out of a ghosting situation with grace and honesty, then you’re headed in the right direction.

The key to avoiding ghosting is finding someone with the same values and interests as you. eharmony has a 20-year track record of helping relationship-seeking singles find the right person through a data-driven approach to personal compatibility. Try it out today and register for free.

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