10 Queers Get Honest About Ghosting

Communication is hard, especially when you have to tell someone something they might not want to hear, which is why sometimes we… just don’t do it! It’s not great, but no one’s great all the time. Here are 10 Autostraddle writers being real with you about ghosting people, whatever that has looked like for them.


Heather Hogan, Managing Editor

One time I was getting to know this girl and she told me she thought Bella Swan could beat Hermione Granger, both in a physical fight and a battle of intellect. I was like, “In what world!” We just went around and around about it and finally she just admitted, “Hahaha! I just like to get people worked up; I like to fight.” I never answered a single one of her texts or emails or phone calls after that. I do not like to be worked up! I do not like to fight! And I cannot even imagine an argument that sacrilegious coming out of my mouth, even as a joke!


Erin, Writer

What about that time there was a person whom I communicated with on Tinder for a of couple days before the conversation sort of died out and then they wrote in to the A+ podcast that I guested on about why I’d ghosted them? If we’re adhering to that definition of ghosting, then I guess I have! But also, I’ve actually ghosted someone when I was very young and not in a good place! (Last week.) No, it was when I was 21 and I basically left the state in the middle of the night after breaking up with them and I do not stand by it! It was a horrible thing to do. Also what? Otherwise, if I’ve abruptly stopped talking to someone without explanation, it’s probably because I’ve found out some nonsense they’ve done and I am choosing to remove myself from the situation, which I don’t consider to be ghosting, but having boundaries.


Alexis Smithers, Writer

I ghost regularly because I get in a deep depression where I’m like I DON’T DESERVE ANY GOOD THING! By the time I get out of it, I’ve convinced myself it never would’ve worked out and I’m really saving everybody the trouble. Also, once I specifically ghosted someone because they tried to kiss me and to this day I don’t know what about my body language said that was necessary.


Carrie Wade, Writer

I’ve only ghosted someone in the classic sense — internet first date, she texted afterward, I didn’t — once. The fact that I still remember it reflects that no, I’m not proud of it and actually find it very embarrassing. I didn’t know at the time how to say that I wasn’t interested in dating her, so I just… didn’t say anything? Which feels like the cheap way out in retrospect. I do think there are plenty of valid reasons to ghost someone, but I wasn’t in that kind of situation. I was just scared of hurting a stranger’s feelings! Plot twist: I may have ended up hurting her more that way! Whoops. As someone who’s been pathologically averse to conflict until very recently, I understand the appeal of the ghost. But I’ve become much more outspoken in all areas of my life in the past year and can report that it’s often a huge relief to JUST SAY IT. Turns out being avoidant takes a lot of energy!


Molly Priddy, Writer

I went on a date with a woman who was perfectly pleasant, but was going through a really hard time — rocky divorce after a violent abusive marriage to a man, juggling her kids, and living in a new place. I really wanted to give her so much benefit of all the doubt, but when I met up with her, I noticed a tattoo on her hand that looked…. odd.

I asked about it, and she confirmed that it was indeed a white power symbol. Her boyfriend tattooed it on the back of her hand when she was 17. She said she didn’t believe in all that Nazi bullshit, but kept the tattoo to remind herself about bad decisions. That didn’t sit with me, and I don’t fuck Nazis, so I said goodbye and ignored further contact.


Carolyn Yates, Writer

One time, when I was very sad, I made out with someone and we were intensely physically incompatible in a way that was incredibly obvious to me just from briefly kissing. After our date ended, I sent a message along the lines of “I don’t have bandwidth for this right now but you’re great” (I also genuinely did not have bandwidth for anything right then). I got many many messages back along the lines of “neither do I! let’s go for it!” and I just… never responded.


Riese Bernard, Editor-in-Chief, CEO, CFO & Co-Founder

This is tough — I generally like to give people the tools they need to understand what’s happening in their lives because I believe in doing unto others as you wish they would do unto you. So if it’s somebody who expects to hear from me, I usually won’t cut them off without explaining why.

However, this was not the case when I still dated guys, who love to ghost and therefore deserve to be ghosted. The worst was this guy Joey, who I met on J-Date. He was funny and charming on the phone so I took three trains to meet up with him on a street corner in the deep reaches of Brooklyn, and realized immediately that he’d lied about his height (he was 5’7, not 5’10). On the bleachers of a high school football field, we laughed a lot and smoked a joint and I learned he wasn’t even Jewish, he’d just joined J-Date ’cause he liked Jewish girls. I felt obligated to make out with him, in the basement hair salon his mom owned, all terribly lit and smelling of chemicals, and although it was mediocre, I saw him again. He just kept calling you know? One night he called when my roommate and I were freaking out about a mouse in our apartment, so I answered, and hooked up with him in exchange for him murdering a rodent in cold blood. I felt benevolent about doing such a good deed for my roommate. He left his belt at my apartment, though, which was the argument he put forward in a series of subsequent phone calls as to why we needed to see each other again.

He just kept calling and calling, each voice mail getting increasingly mean and unhinged. So that’s what happened when I ghosted somebody in 2004. He called me constantly, said I’d stolen his shitty belt, used him to kill a mouse, and other terrible things about me. Baruch hashem.


Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor

I have only ever ghosted exactly one person, and it happened because our fledgling relationship wasn’t working even a little bit and I had become acutely aware that she was a bad person who happened to be using me. Personally, I’m only ever really into being used by people I’m really into – I will let you get away with MURDER if I’m into you – so I decided to cut the whole thing off and let it all fade into the background. It took her a long time to notice (which confirmed my suspicions). If I’m being real we started talking again (as friends) a few months later because I’m a Scorpio and terrible at ghosting. It’s in my nature to over-communicate everything. I don’t think I could do it again.


Reneice Charles, Writer

I’ve always been on team ghosting is immature, but I’ve done it twice. Both times it was with people I’d previously been casually dating who started to engage with me in ways that I didn’t like. In both cases I expressed that I wasn’t interested in the same things they were, and both times their response was to ignore that boundary/think they could change my mind/try to win me over by continuing to reach out to me/call me at 2 AM for booty calls instead. Eventually it became clear that no matter what I said or did, they’d use it as an opening to keep pushing, so I channeled my inner Casper and disappeared.

I still stand by the decision. I tried to communicate before resorting to ghosting. Still, it makes me sad that it happened. It’s true that some people or situations don’t deserve communication to come to a resolution, but I do think those instances are relatively rare. Most cases of ghosting boil down to a lack of respect or ability to communicate effectively on someone’s part.


Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor

I have thought for a very long time about this and I really truly cross my heart do not think I’ve ever ghosted someone in a dating context? I’m sorry! I! Love! Direct! Communication!

I ghosted on a professional writing assignment once (not for Autostraddle) because I got overwhelmed and couldn’t meet the deadline and then just stopped responding to the editor’s emails. I think about that like, once a day because it’s so embarrassing and I’m so overcome with guilt and shame about it.

So, I don’t believe in ghosting people, but I do believe in taking a lot of intentional space after a breakup, and this is rarely received well. My ideal breakup situation is, after the actual breakup, for us to literally not speak to one another for… several months? At least one month. I have been told I am a monster for wanting this. I have also been told I am a genius for following through with this. It does seem to be, um, unusual for lesbians and queers to take this path in a breakup, but I really truly strongly believe that it is the right thing to do.

I have done it with varying degrees of success in different breakups – I asked my first serious girlfriend if we could take two months after our breakup to not speak to one another and she reacted extremely poorly to that suggestion, but I held my ground. We didn’t speak for eight weeks and when we finally did things were… manageable. There was less anger and less pain and she’d already said a lot of the mean things she wanted to say about me to other folks, so we were able to start building a friendship. I don’t think we really became proper friends until about seven months after the initial two month no-speaking period – when she started dating the person who would become her fiancée a few years later (this person happened to be my old roommate, because we’re gay) – but I do think taking that very intentional very dramatic pause space really helped.

I asked that ex recently how she feels now about that silent period. She was so mad at me about it in the time that it was happening, and I was curious how she saw it now. “You were totally right,” she said, a phrase I love hearing! Especially from an ex! “I was so hurt and so angry at the time because I missed you and I thought if you’d ever loved me you would’ve been there for me during the breakup, but I see now there’s no way you could have. I was addicted to you and I needed to break the addiction. I’m not sure I would’ve gotten over you as quickly if you hadn’t insisted on that clean break.”

Y’all, I WAS SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT! Not just because I love being right but because that’s my exact reasoning for believing in space after a breakup! This person is my friend now, and I like being friends with exes, and it gave me so much hope for my relationships with other exes. I haven’t been able to pull off the long period of no-contact as well with any other exes, but I still do really think it’s a good policy immediately post-breakup.

So there you have it. I’ve never ghosted anyone, but if we date I will probably ask that we not talk for 2+ months after we break up. You’ve been warned.


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50 Comments

  1. I’m pretty sure I’ve never ghosted anyone, because I prefer to operate in direct honesty. But I also believe that if the conversation just dies out or neither person texts the other after a 1st date, then it isn’t ghosting, so maybe some would say I have 🤷‍

  2. Since I’ve been de facto off the dating market since the 20th century, my initial thought was that I couldn’t have possibly ever ghosted someone because the term wasn’t coined until 2011. Gather around children, let me tell you about the analog times. No internet (except for the military and scientists), no texting, no dating apps. But after searching the far recesses of my memory…Damnit!

    I don’t have that many notches in my belt, but I have been (am?) an inveterate flirtboi. Back in 1988 I was doing the ol’ study abroad (har) in London and played on a rugby team. A bobby joined us late in the season. We went out dancing one night and I turned the flirt ray on high. Since we were lesbians, we never established whether this was a date. By the end of the evening, I realized that the flirting had fulfilled all my needs and I was ready to call it a night. However, she was newly out and interested in getting her v card punched. And I didn’t want to be rude. And then I never returned her phone calls. Hopefully, I would be less of a jerk now.

    • Im interested to know how you avoided the calls back then? Did you let the phone just ring out? Or force you flatmate to answer damn thing?!

      Ah the joy of taking messages and cups of tea and toast with the jilted lovers of my flatmates when they dropped round.

  3. I don’t ghost but I find sending the polite “thanks so much but I’m just not feeling it” text so nerve wracking that I run away from my phone for hours after sending it. People have always been super nice about it and not ghosted me, either!

  4. I’ve been in a couple casual dating situations where we both just sort of…mutually stopped texting each other? Like went out one last time, didn’t really have a direct conversation about it, didn’t follow up and never spoke again. The one time I genuinely ghosted someone was the last straight cis guy I dated, almost 3 years ago now. We’d been dating for a few months and I got the vibe he was way more into me than I was into him. Then he sent me a few messages about how much he liked me and wanted to get more serious which, fine, but they included some pretty intense personal details and super strong feelings which was less fine. I stopped responding to all his messages, which I still feel bad about. He followed up a few months later and I think he may have actually been open to an honest gentle explanation of my feelings but I just didn’t want to deal with it. So yeah, not sorry I didn’t go along into a relationship out of inertia, but sorry that I was an ass about ending things.

  5. Haha oh man!! I genuinely don’t know who’s worse, the Nazi (if you have a white supremacist tattoo you’re a Nazi, I totally agree, Molly) and the girl who tried to say that Bella Swan could defeat Hermione!! Would it have been better if she was serious than doing it to rile you up? I don’t even know!!

    I’m of the belief that it’s not ghosting if you sort of mutually stop texting somewhere between first messages and date like 4-8. I’ve even had a months-long casual relationship just kind of peter out with texting ending on both sides, and I honestly feel like it was easier and better that way. The thing that I think is bad is when someone (who generally seems good and hasn’t been shitty to you) reaches out asking for another date or what’s up and you ignore them. I totally get why people do it! But for me that’s the shitty kind of ghosting and the moment where it’s worth the effort to say something honest or come up with a white lie about why you’d rather not go on more dates.

    Riese, I also used to ghost men pretty hard. Once, in college, I thought I had mono and texted the guy I’d been dating for like 3 months that my test came back negative, and he texted back “sick!” thinking that was…a clever pun?? I just…never responded.

  6. Vanessa! I am also in the camp of establishing a break in contact after a breakup – I tend to tell people we should each reach out when we’re ready, but I’m going to need a period of radio silence. It’s the ONLY way I can establish friendships with exes that are even slightly healthy!

  7. It was kinda warranted when I did it cuz it was just so odd. Not sure if it even counts as ghosting?

    I can’t remember how we came into contact. Either OKC or the Her App. She contacted me first, saying how awesome she thought I was and that we should hang out. We exchanged messages for a bit and eventually phone numbers.

    Again, texts that we should hang out. I would agree and ask when she was available, noting that weekends worked better for me.

    *Silence for weeks*

    Then out of the blue she’d text me a picture of herself with her dog, stating that hopefully the cuteness factor would pressure me into wanting to hang out. Again, I’d ask for her availability and she’d leave me on “read”.

    She texted again, weeks later hoping things were good. I didn’t respond.

      • That’s a good way to look at it. I guess back in the early days of online dating, some of us took the time and chatted a bit as a way to get to know someone before meeting them. It would totally suck when they’d stop responding out of the blue.

  8. I seriously don’t understand what’s the big problem with ghosting in casual online dating? Like, if I had actually developed an amount of closeness with someone and they just disappeared I would be pretty devastated, but after just talking a bit, a few dates, or whatever.. Honestly I would rather just get the message that way than have some weird sit down thing where the person outlines why they don’t want to date or be my friend or whatever. Ghosting gets the message across without putting me through that awkwardness. And it gives me the option of thinking “oh, well, maybe they’re just busy or something is going on in their life” like saves the old ego lol

  9. I ghosted once, and I still feel horrible about it. I’ve been ghosted a few times, and the feeling SUCKS. I once went out with a girl, and we were texting after about meeting up a second time. She was super into the idea (or so she said), and then I sent a message asking if X day worked for her, and I never heard back. She ghosted mid-conversation. That’s not cool. I personally think that there’s a difference between a text exchange fizzling out and blatantly ignoring someone’s text. If it fizzles out, whatever, but if someone is genuinely reaching out, a simple “sorry, I don’t see this working out” is only polite. Try it. I get that ghosting is easier than rejecting. But I don’t think avoiding being uncomfortable is a valid excuse for being rude.

    Outside the dating world, I did ghost someone (a personal trainer), and feel awful and guilty on a daily basis. Basically every day, I think about emailing her to apologize, but I don’t know if it’s worth it at this point? (It’s been like 7 or 8 months.)

    • “I get that ghosting is easier than rejecting. But I don’t think avoiding being uncomfortable is a valid excuse for being rude.” Yes.

      I relate to the personal trainer question. There is someone I have not written back to since October and at this point I don’t know if it would be more rude to write “Hey I don’t want to be friends” when my absence has probably already communicated this.

    • I’ve had patients/clients ghost like that before. It doesn’t hurt as much as a friend doing it, of course, but you do still start questioning what you may have done to offend, disappoint, etc. The one time I did later speak with the person, she said to me “I didn’t think you were quite what I needed, but I didn’t want to offend you” – this a person to whom I had very explicitly said, “Of course I’d be happy to work with you, but your problem is a little beyond my experience, so I’m also happy to help you find another professional with more expertise”!

      Bottom line: either they’ve entirely forgotten you, in which case dropping them a quick note will make you feel better without giving them much feels either way; or they have doubted themselves, in which case a quick note will make you both feel better; or they’re the type who will write back and be like “you suck!” in which case you will say to yourself, wow, self, guess my instincts were right on! (This seems pretty unlikely if they are at all a decent professional.) Heck, best case, they say “so glad to hear you’re doing well! Consider trying again and here’s a discount!” 😉

      • haha i’m usually not willing to drop them a note because by the time it happens i’m usually fairly resentful of them? mostly through no fault of their own. IDK. i’m a terrible client. i grow to resent my hairstylist and my therapist, always, given enough time. i’ve never been able to find a therapist i clicked with, and their lack of insight constantly frustrates me and “proves” to me that I shouldn’t have to open up to them further.

        whee it’s fine everything is fine!

          • anyway iarran me, i hope if this tells you anything, it’s that you’re probably lovely and no client ghosting is gonna be about your skillz, just their own shit <3

          • Ah thanks QG, but I am actually pretty sure I have always been professional and kind with my patients – have sure tried anyway! My intention was more for you and anyone who has ghosted a professional to know that, if you are guilt-tripping yourself or otherwise tied up in knots about it, more than likely any decent professional will react with kindness, understanding or at a minimum courtesy if you do try to get back in touch.

  10. I feel like less than actually ghosting, after one or two online dates that didn’t go great, I just try to…engineer the fizzle? Like I try to ensure that our text exchanges fizzle out? It’s not the best. It’s really not. But I just absolutely cannot tell a person point blank, sorry, I’m not into you. I can’t! I want to! I want to be better!

  11. @stef omg I absolutely overcommunicate too

    I sent messages with my email to people I’d just messaged back and forth with a couple of times on OKC before disabling my account bc I didn’t want to seem rude and just disappear.

    The exception is if I’m depressed and then I’ll take a looong time to get back to anyone, including closest friends.

  12. I was once ghosted by my therapist. Showed up for my second-to-last session with her, waited for 25 minutes, and she never showed, so I called her to yell at her and left. Came back next week at our normal time AND SHE ALSO NEVER SHOWED.

    I don’t have a point to this, I just need literally everyone to know.

  13. 1) This is kind of off topic but also not: Did you know how horrible tumblr is about being blocked? It doesn’t even TELL you. Then, when you write the maybe-blocker a message asking if they blocked you in order to know if you should leave them in peace, they won’t see it, but again, the maybe-block-ee doesn’t get an error message whatsoever, meaning you have no means of finding out! Apart from if you were a horrible person and just plain trolling or whatever, obviously.
    2) I have been ghosted a couple of times, always by guys, and the fact that you are left in complete suspension is the absolute worst about it. Depending on how much you care about them, the “absolute worst” can be in fact just Somewhat Annoying. One time though I actually wasn’t sure if the person was ok or not, since they were kind of depressed and their closest friend had died, so I never knew if I should feel liked but at the same time be incredibly afraid on their behalf, or if I should just suppose they didn’t want to talk to me anymore. It sent me into a full blown depressive episode.
    I also ghosted someone kind of unwillingly, because I was not ok at all and confused and loved them but somehow was incapable of writing, I had moved to another country and was in a kind of mental paralysis, and I miss them to this day.
    3) So all of this is very melodramatic, and just saying as a neurodivergent person who has RSD and isn’t good at reading social cues, that if there’s any way for you to do it, then it’s probably a kind thing to not ghost and instead Tell Them, even if it’s just a half sentence announcing the fact.

  14. I’ve been ghosted more than I have ghosted honestly. I think the only time I ghosted someone was last year with a woman I met off tinder. She was looking for friendship and queers to party with. She was admittedly faily hot looking and we had a few shared interest. She straight up was misogynist and always had excuses for her actions. She frequently would talk about girls she got with the same way cis-het men do, and would frequently call girls a bitch for no reason. Last straw was after a lbtq even she showed me(while I was driving) a video of her having sex with the woman she met that night. I asked her did the woman consent to you sharing the video. She replied, “no, bitch doesn’t even know I took the video. Hit and quit it.” I told her what she did was wrong and she pretty much brushed it off. So, the days that followed I ghosted her. She kept texting me baby sup, even snapped me a nsfw picture of herself sad. I didn’t reply & after 2-3 weeks she gave up. I don’t tolerate friends who are misogynist and violate consent of others.

  15. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever ghosted, but I’ve BEEN ghosted, by someone I met through OKC… 6ish years ago? First date we went back to her place and danced barefoot around a campfire singing Florence + The Machine with a ukulele, and she said, “I’m not going to sleep with you,” and then I stayed over (oops) and then she ghosted me and I *finally* stopped trying. After a lot of overthinking. We’re still connected on Linked In though because lesbians.

  16. I…yeah, I’ve ghosted. I’m ashamed of it. I’d been on two casual dates with a guy, and I texted to tell him that I couldn’t date him but we could be friends — I wasn’t feeling anything. He said that was fine, but then we met up and he was clearly still interested and I wasn’t. He messaged again (as a friend!) and I told myself I’d message soon, but…I never did.The messages kept coming intermittently for months: all polite and friendly and genuinely confused.

    There’d been a situation of dubious consent a few months before with someone else. I couldn’t tell the difference between “safe but persistent” and “unsafe and ignoring no.” I’m sure this guy was the first, but everything felt like the second. I hope he’s okay, and a short message explaining that I couldn’t see him would have been the mature thing to do, but I didn’t know how to do that without explaining a situation I couldn’t understand.

  17. I am also a big fan of direct communication, because I have been ghosted many times and it’s not fun. Also, because I overanalyse the shit out of everything, if you don’t reply to me I will probably assume you’re dead (I wish I was exaggerating).
    But admittedly, as a naive little 18-year-old dating a guy who was much more into me than I was into him and he wanted to sleep with me and I just….wasn’t interested but I didn’t know how to tell him so I just stopped replying and he eventually got the message. So, I absolutely get why we all do it.

  18. I’ve ghosted. One was an ex who I tried to be friends with, but he still wanted more attention than I could/wanted to give and though i told him this, would still accuse me of being mad/passive aggressive/whatever if i didn’t want to engage in conversation. (because having messenger entitles you to someone’s time, right?) After years of half-hearted conversations and stress about the nature of our relationship I wrote a friend breakup letter expressing my boundaries and havent engaged since. It’s been a year now, and I still feel guilty bc he still sends messages every holiday (even Valentine’s?!), tries to call to chat, and clearly wishes to still be a friend. I feel bad having ghosted him, but also at the end of the day I am happier prioritizing the people who I actually want to be around.

    The other person I ghosted refused to believe I am asexual and when I broke down about how I didn’t want to have sex, still tried to coerce me. Fuck that.

  19. IMHO, it’s not ghosting before the 3rd date, especially if you have no prior relationship beforehand (e.g. you met on a dating app, you have no friends in common), you didn’t sleep together, and you’re unlikely to hang out again. That’s just… not talking to someone you’ve hung out with once or twice with whom you’ve discovered you don’t have anything in common.

  20. I had an ex I had dated for years ghost me on our anniversary while away on business. Like straight up stopped responding to any of my messages and then when she got back she treated me like we had never dated. To this day I seriously don’t know if she had some kind of stroke and lost memory or if she was doing some advanced gaslighting, but she was so good at pretending I doubted my own sanity despite having a ring from her.

    It was long enough ago/she’s been out of my life long enough for me to be over it, but I’ll never ghost anyone because of it. Fizzled conversations are fine (I prefer someone not into me after only online chat or a couple of dates just disappear) but I’ll always be up front.

  21. I only count it as ghosting if we’ve met in person more than a few times. We met up once or twice? Wev. 4 or 5 times? It would be nice to know the other person is dropping out. Don’t even need a reason. We’ve been dating for two months and have been having sex? I’m owed an explanation.

    Honestly, I can’t remember my much of my dating life before I got with my ex-partner in 2004. I probably ghosted, but it was easier. Texting wasn’t ubiquitous and social media wasn’t a thing. Since we broke up, I’ve ghosted a couple people people. One wanted to get into a relationship immediately while I wanted to date her and get to know each other before committing; we talked about this several times without compromise before I just walked away. One man wanted to regularly fuck me without commitment despite knowing my feelings; walked away from that one. The last person I ghosted, I honestly didn’t mean to ghost. We’d had several dates and had held off on sex because rushing in had been a problem for us before. She’d gone out of town and, while she was away, I had a brain related event that put me in the hospital and fucked with my memory. I was literally several weeks later that I thought, “Oh, shit. I liked J.” I haven’t contacted her. It sounds too unbelievable an excuse and I’m dating someone else now, anyway.

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