Why You Should Hop On The Anti-Ghost Trend

Ghosting can sting when you're on the receiving end of it. But if we're honest, a lot of us have done it at least once or twice. One 2019 study published in the journal Imagination, Cognition and Personality (via Sage Journals) found that participants ghosted a whopping 29% of the people they dated.


Given the fast-paced swiping of modern online dating, it makes sense that you might forget to circle back with that meh match you went on one date with. Or you might ghost to avoid hurting the other person -– after all, most of us were taught, "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all."

But the normalization of ghosting is a problem that can have dire mental health consequences. A 2021 study published in Psychology of Popular Media (via APA PsycNet) concluded that ghostees suffer from trust issues and low self-worth, and even ghosters experience feelings of guilt and remorse.

To solve this problem, daters are now embracing the anti-ghost trend. Here's why it's time to drop the disappearing act and how to do so with ease.


Here's why you shouldn't ghost your dates

Ghosting might seem like a harmless way to cut someone off after a not-so-great date, but it can actually stop both you and the other person from healing and moving on. As Lucille McCart, a communications director at Bumble (which launched its own anti-ghosting campaign in the past), told Elle Australia, ghosting doesn't offer any closure, leaving the other person hanging. Instead of ignoring their messages, "[t]hink about how you can word the conversation in such a way that it wouldn't be awkward or uncomfortable if you ran into them at the pub," McCart says.


By taking an anti-ghosting approach, you're also likely to recover more quickly, even if you're the one doing the rejecting. "Being honest allows you to move on since this person now knows not to continue reaching out," Lexi Joondeph-Breidbart, licensed master social worker and founder of the Lonely Hearts Club, explained to Well+Good. So if you get a pang of anxiety every time your date messages, trying the anti-ghost trend and being honest about your feelings might relieve a lot of your stress in the end.

Send these anti-ghost texts

If you want to be transparent -– and not in a ghostly way –- it's best to have a face-to-face conversation, as Lucille McCart told Elle Australia. However, a text is a good compromise if you're new to anti-ghosting, or if you and the other person only dated casually.


Therapist Annie Byrne suggests keeping messages direct, even if it feels awkward. For example, if the other person expresses their interest, shoot a text back to thank them before clearly stating that you don't feel the same way. Similarly, you could tell your date that you've enjoyed getting to know them but that you don't see things developing further.

TikToker Emma Vernon agrees that being 100% honest is one way to avoid ghosting. However, she also offers the alternative of crafting a white lie. In a video, she suggests blaming a mismatch on bad timing, another romance that just got serious, or not feeling ready for a relationship –- even if these excuses aren't true.

Clearly, there are plenty of things you can say instead of saying nothing at all. However, there are still some instances where it's totally okay to ghost someone. If the other person is being disrespectful or aggressive, give yourself permission to cut off contact and block or report when necessary.