Jumping into the dating pool can be a little daunting. Now that most dating is done on apps, it’s easy to sign up, start aimlessly swiping, and forget all about the fact that these people are...well, people. That is until you come across your friend, co-worker, or best friend’s younger brother and frantically swipe left cringing at the thought that they most likely saw your profile too.
But best-case scenario with app dating, is you collect matches, strike up a conversation, and then go on a date. Worst-case, you’re completely ghosted without even the slightest clue as to why. So in these early stages of dating and getting to know someone, what do you do when they just stop responding? Do you take the hint, or text them again, you know, just to be absolutely certain you’ve officially been ghosted?
Now that the initial phases of dating are so impersonal, ghosting seems to be the widely accepted form of communicating rejection. In my experience, when someone stops responding it means they’re over it or into someone else, and the only answer is to do absolutely nothing. However, if you’ve ever been excited about someone and then abruptly ghosted, then you understand that the “do nothing” or “play it cool” approach is quite hard to do.
That being said, maybe you can relate to the feeling of knowing what you should really do in this situation is put your phone down. Better yet, give it to a friend, and do not, I repeat, DO NOT decide that it would be a good idea to go to a Guster concert, pull your phone out, dial said ghoster, and leave a voicemail where you don’t say a word, you just record the song “Call My Name Out Loud” and then hang up…not that I did this or anything.So if you’ve ever found yourself in this predicament here are some thoughts and personal experiences from others on the best, and maybe more interestingly, the worst approaches to “What to do when he stops texting.”
First up, the best approach. Mary J. Gibson, relationship expert at DatingXP, says these are her five top tips for what to do when he stops texting:
What to Do When He Stops Texting
1. Keep it Cool
You should come first when it comes to yourself. So, if they text finally, don’t get all flustered and let them know how much you were waiting to hear from them. What to do when he stops texting is play it cool, don’t show your eagerness. Always remember, they’re only mortal and their disinterest doesn’t define you.
2. Resist the Urge to Keep Texting
Hitting them with a hundred texts sounds like a good idea, judging on how force breaks the dam, but please refrain from this. You only come out as desperate and we know that no one is worth your attention if they can’t return you the same.
3. Keep Your Texts Brief and to the Point
They are finally texting! That’s great but, please, do not send them monologues Shakespeare would get jealous of. Keep your messages brief and to the point. They probably don’t deserve the poetry.
4. Never Text First
If you get ghosted, it does help to get some closure but in this case, wait for them to get back to you. If they apologize, you would at least know they were nice and this allows you to move on to the next one, but if they never apologize, learn that you saved yourself from someone who probably wasn’t for you.
5. Don’t Send Risque Texts to Get Attention
This is something many people end up doing, thinking that a risque sext or a revealing picture will bring them attention, but you’re just playing yourself. If they respond to that, understand they only want sex. So, save yourself the hurt.
Some of Gibson’s tips for what to do when he stops texting are easier said than done. And, sometimes in life, self-control and foresight aren’t exactly top of mind. So, I collected stories from a few brave souls who were willing to bare their “ghost” stories, if you will. Perhaps these haunting tales will have a “scared straight” effect on any future offenders who refuse to put their phones down and move on from ghosters.
What They Did When He Stopped Texting
“I have never had the most control when it comes to not texting someone when they have stopped texting me. I always convinced myself that, “oh, they must be busy” or “they must be meaning to text me soon”. This is never the case. Whenever I was ghosted, I always had to follow up or check-in with them. I just couldn't let it go. Looking back, I seem very persistent, even desperate?
I preferred confirmation to radio silence and would text things like, “Hey! How is your week going?” Pretty boring, I know, and not the best way to re-engage interest but at least I gave it one more shot! I was also guilty of showing up to places thinking they might be there. Again...another really easy way to feel pathetic and disappointed. Pretty sure this is a lose-lose situation. If they have ghosted you and show up, it's not going to go how you dreamt it would. And if you show up and they aren't there, it will just leave you wondering where they are and overall bummed.” -Maryanne, 32 years old, New York City
“One thing I don't recommend is turning to Instagram when wanting to hear from someone. I remember it was my birthday a few years ago and I was hoping that this guy I’d gone on two dates with would reach out. Time passed very slowly all day and...nothing. I posted a photo of myself and coworkers out to lunch for my birthday, hoping he would see it and then reach out.
However, I never heard from him and it just made me feel worse. I spent most of my birthday checking Instagram to see if he liked it?!!? I think the best attitude when someone ghosts is to move on, and quickly. There are plenty of good prospects out there who would at least have the decency to say they aren't interested and not make you wait around.” -Sarah, 28 years old, San Diego
“I once dated a guy who had read receipts. Never again. It lasted a week before I sent him some flirty text that he read immediately. Three hours later there was no response and anger was boiling inside of me so I sent him something like “Cool” thinking he would know what I meant by that (GFY). He responded immediately with the infamous “?” and I knew it was over.
Never date someone with “Read Receipt” turned on. The guy or gal is either a moron and doesn’t know they have it or they are so cocky they don’t care if you know they haven’t responded yet. This will also provide you relentless anxiety about the length of time between responses.” -Bree, 28 years old, New York City
“This may not count because we’re married, but last year my husband texted me something important and then totally ghosted me for six hours. At the time, I became so irrationally worried and hysterical that I checked accident reports, called his mom in a panic, and considered calling hospitals. This was in addition to at least 20 texts and 10 phone calls to his cell.
Turns out, I forgot he had a standardized test for his new job that day and I looked like a lunatic. Thankfully, we were already married or he would have definitely run for the hills. Point is, not all ghosting is intentional, but it is safe to assume that if you’re not married to the person then they are likely breaking up with you via silence.” -Shailene, 30 years old, Austin
“From personal experience, do not post a selfie on Instagram. Thirst traps are a real thing, but if someone ignites this sort of behavior, then maybe you should ask yourself “why am I doing this?” Do not like a photo on their feed from 75 weeks ago. That is legit deep diving and it can be really off-putting. I did this the other day and had a panic attack. I accidentally liked a photo of the guy I’m seeing, it was a picture of him and his ex from a very, very long time ago! So embarrassing. Do not jump to conclusions. Ugh.
It's so easy to fabricate some elaborate story about why they are not texting back. Just chill out! Give it a minute. Last but not least, do not drunk text. Just don't do it! It's not worth it, and is always the absolute worst idea.” -Brian, 33 years old, Los Angeles
“One time this dude I was super into stopped responding to my messages after a few weeks. Like, 100% ghosted and I was really distraught over it, so my emotional crazy brain’s first thought to reinstate communication (I was not thinking clearly, clearly) was to befriend this other chick I was out with that night, that I knew he was friends with (and I also had a hunch he liked her), so I could text him from her phone.
At first, I didn’t say who it was, and he immediately responded after a couple of my flirty messages. After three minutes I mentioned my name, and that it was me texting, and he went ghost again. I also drunkenly forgot to delete my texts from the convo on her phone so she probably saw the messages the next month. So freaking cringe.
The big hilarious mega-cringe is that she eventually ended up dating this guy and it killed me the entire summer. Moral of the story, don’t text your crush from his crush’s phone. Lol. I was 20 at the time so no judgment anymore!!” -Keymi, 27 years old, Los Angeles
So, there you have it, folks. The good, the bad, and the ugly on how to approach getting ghosted. My advice, stick with Mary Gibson’s five tips on this one. It’ll save you some serious self-loathing and cringe-worthy moments that will be difficult to erase from your mind even after a decade. Trust me.