Ghosting is a term that has rather recently entered the common lexicon, becoming rather popular over the past few years. For those who may be unfamiliar, the term refers to the process of ending a dating experience by simply cutting contact without explanation or notice, often leaving the other person wondering what went wrong. With many people trying to find love online becoming frustrated with ghosting, the dating app Inner Circle has added new anti-ghosting tools for users.
The Problem of Ghosting
If you feel like you are being ghosted quite often on dating apps, you are likely not alone. In fact, a YouGov survey found that roughly 30% of online daters have ghosted a partner while one-fourth had been ghosted themselves. The survey also found that a majority of respondents felt that ghosting is an appropriate way to end a relationship.
For users who have been ghosted, the situation can leave them confused or frustrated. For those who have been ghosted often, it may lead them to wonder if they are doing something wrong in their approach to dating. Even the best dating experiences come with lots of pressure. Ghosting can certainly add to this.
Of course, there are also different levels of ghosting to be considered. Simply allowing a dull conversation to drop off the radar after a handful of messages is one thing. Ghosting after a date or two is another. Ghosting in a long term relationship would likely be viewed by most as completely inappropriate; yet this does happen occasionally.
Reasons for Ghosting
Researchers have even begun to study the psychology behind ghosting. There are many reasons why someone may decide to ghost someone they’ve swiped right on. One of the most common reasons is they simply get distracted. After a few days pass, it can seem awkward to resume a lapsed conversation. Other dating app users note that they become inundated with conversations that just become too much effort to maintain.
Of course, there are also justifiable reasons to ghost someone. For example, some dating site users report ghosting people who appeared creepy, intrusive or were just plain rude to them. In an era where there are significant concerns about online dating safety, ghosting may be attractive in these situations as a path with the least potential for generating problems.
But why do people ghost others after a series of seemingly good dates? Research suggests that much of this involves personality types and conflict styles. Online daters who believe in things like destiny are more likely to ghost while those with growth mindsets are less likely. Additionally, people with avoidant styles of dealing with conflict are much more likely to ghost than those with other styles.
Inner Circle’s Anti-Ghosting Features
With many people becoming frustrated with the frequency of ghosting when it comes to dating apps, Inner Circle – a Netherlands based dating app with nearly five million users – has unveiled a suite of anti-ghosting features that aim to curtail the issue. These features attempt to address the multitude of reasons for ghosting in order to prevent the practice.
One of the simplest anti-ghosting features is conversation reminders. When an Inner Circle user has not responded to a message in 48 hours, the dating app will provide the user with a reminder to message. These prompts even make suggestions such as asking them on a date. This can help people who have simply gotten busy and forgotten about an ongoing chat.
Another anti-ghosting feature unveiled by the app is the “End Chat” function which serves to encourage users to provide closure rather than simply letting a chat dwindle. When an app user selects the end chat feature, they are prompted to click a reason why such as “I’m into someone else” or “I’m not feeling a connection.” This is then communicated to the other user via the app. While perhaps a bit harsh, it does provide a bit of closure while helping cater to those who are more hesitant when it comes to breaking bad news.
The app also allows users to note that they have been ghosted. This is part of the end chat function. Selecting this option would notify former matches that the user feels they were ghosted, which may help to prevent the practice going forward.
Ultimately, with ghosting being a frustrating online dating occurrence, Inner Circle’s features appear to have the potential to help address the issue by getting to the root causes of the problem. It will be interesting to see if other apps follow suit by enacting their own anti-ghosting features in order to help provide closure to those struggling to find love online.