Just because you’re not interested in someone doesn’t mean you need to be an ass. No matter how you look at it, mysteriously vanishing will always end up hurting someone, but believe it or not, there is a less damaging way to do it.
We all get ghosted — it sucks! Even the top of the heap knows how it feels. You go on a couple of dates, text back and forth, then all of a sudden he stops answering your messages and disappears like a ghost, leaving you spooked.
Grindr is full of ghosting guys — after a while, it can desensitize us when guys suddenly go away.
These disappearing dudes seem to be a part of the gay dating experience, but why do they do it? It’s simple — power! It’s selfish, indulgent and inconsiderate, but most of all, it’s a red flag.
Related: 10 Signs Your Boyfriend Is a Jerk
I’ll admit, avoidance is a lot easier than having an awkward conversation about why a relationship can’t continue, but a guy who ghosts is just a boy who can’t handle his business, so at the end of the day, you aren’t missing much.
If you’re going to ghost, do it with some dignity. It’s an art — the trick is getting the other person to think they have the upper hand. At the end of the day, you both get what you want without anyone getting hurt.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Give an explanation
If you spill the beans and admit that you’re not entirely ready for something serious, or that you’re still hung up on your ex, or that you’re, frankly, not feeling him, then all future ghosting will be better justified because at least you gave him permission to unplug.
Then when the conversation doesn’t continue, he’ll have some idea as to why it didn’t work out. It’s a win-win.
2. Stop flirting
Change the way you communicate. Instead of coy, flirtatious conversation, keep it friendly. After a while, he will feel he’s in the friend zone.
Just remember, messaging is a call and response technique. We typically respond in the way the other person calls to us. When the tone shifts from sexy to friendly, they adjust. Don’t be afraid to throw a “bro” in there.
3. Make more plans
Being busy makes maintaining constant conversation harder. Making plans means you’re less available. You’re going to a dinner engagement, seeing a show, or working. All are reasonable reasons for communication to cease.
Don’t ignore him and hope he goes away. Make yourself unavailable; he will have to find someone else to entertain him, and eventually you’re off the hook.
4. Practice shapeshifting
Present yourself in a way that makes you a better friend than a boyfriend — try keeping interactions to group settings where you aren’t required to be alone. Shapeshifting pairs perfectly with the occasional “bro,” or “dude” discussed previously.
Change your shape and he won’t see you in the same way. Plus, everyone wants a new friend — unless he’s a weirdo, then you can Casper him.
5. Take time to reply
Stop responding within a matter of seconds. Make something else your top priority — see “Make More Plans” for help here. There will be an apparent disconnect after your responses begin to take more time.
Soon he’ll see less stimulation and ultimately leave you alone, which will maintain his power without having to sacrifice his dignity. Have a heart and go about ghosting the right way.
David Artavia is an actor and writer from New York City. He loves living vicariously through his friends. Follow him on Twitter and Like his Facebook page.