The Christmas break is upon us, and with plenty of time on hand, students used to the hustle and bustle of university life and impending deadlines may be caught twiddling their thumbs, searching for ways to fill this newfound void.
No one wants to have an uneventful holiday break, and the once-idle thumb may be swiping left and right through dating profiles,. searching for the person to break the monotony. If dating apps are not your thing, then you may wind up scrolling through your contacts to connect with a single friend or acquaintance.
Let’s say your hard work pays off, and you have arranged a date or two. Before you venture out on that first date, you should arm yourself with valuable information to avoid the mental guessing game and distress.
The advent of the digital age, and the flakiness it ushered due to the ease of accessibility and inaccessibility, has given rise to the practice of ghosting. Gone are the days when it is expected that you should tell someone face to face that you are no longer interested in them. Even the previously abhorred method of text and email breakups is a preferred evil to a ghost’s radio silence, because you at least know where you stand and can get some semblance of closure.
Persons on the receiving end of ghosting are often surprised and fall into the cycle of self-deprecation and depression, but there is a way to avoid the proverbial doom flag — learning the signs of ghosting.
The first sign is the frequency of communication. Your potential love interest may not be that into you if he or she does not appear enthusiastic about keeping in touch. You may find that you are always the first to reach out, and maintaining the conversation seems to be more work than usual. If you are into someone, it does not matter how busy you are. You will find the time needed to connect and germinate your relationship.
If you have already gone on the first date and there is no mention of a second, or they are always too busy to schedule a date, then chances are you are about to be ghosted.
Relationships need a physical connection to progress, and avoidance of in-person interaction even during a pandemic is a regression that suggests that you will be visited by a ghost of a relationship past. A rule of thumb is to have an honest conversation with the other party the second you start feeling that your interaction with them feels forced.
The world is filled with many beautiful souls who will appreciate you. This sounds cliché, but it is the truth. Do not get pigeonholed into the idea that this is the only eligible person you will meet.
Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Nicholas Cage, Elon Musk, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor, the list can go on and on; have all put their hearts on the line multiple times, searching for love. We can learn from their experiences that love does not always work out, but you will have many chances to try your hand at love over a lifetime. The trick is to let go and cut your losses.
Find comfort in the fact that ghosts are human, and they may very well have issues carrying on uncomfortable conversations. Canadians are known to be nice, and it may be the stress of living up to that expectation, which forces many to avoid that awkward conversation.
Though it is important to tell someone that there is no romantic future, it is by far one of the hardest things to do, especially when the person has a great personality. I am by no means excusing the abhorrent practice of ghosting, but am instead showing the other side of the story. Seeing the other side makes it easier to move on when we are unceremoniously let go.
My final advice to those who want to avoid the whole mess of ghosting is to establish expectations on the first date. Agree to be honest with your feelings as the relationship progresses or regresses. Setting a boundary built on mutual respect can go a long way!
No one knows what the future holds, so try not to focus too much on your challenges. Enjoy the Christmas break, meet new people, try new things, and date responsibly.
What if you are visited by the ghost of a relationship past? Find comfort in the fact that life will go on, and you will live to play the field again.
Graphics: Nawaal Basha