The Guysexual’s Guide To Ghosting: Vol. III

The Guysexual’s Guide To Ghosting: Vol. III

Cutting something out of your life only works when it involves one of these four broad categories: complex carbohydrates, processed sugar, cheap vodka and bad vibes. But that’s about it.

I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not the same when it involves people.

As Arvind learnt the hard way (in the first of my terrifying three-part guide to ghosting), getting left in the lurch can truly be a haunting experience. People like to see death and destruction in horror films, not necessarily their relationships — and while dealing with it can be a terrifying ordeal (only made better with these life hacks), it’s fair to say that it’s a whole new ball game when you are sitting on the other side of this Ouija board of online dating.

I’ll let you in on another secret — I’ve ghosted a fair number of men. I’ve left calls unanswered, texts unseen, hellos unacknowledged and emails unopened. This one (dreadful) time, I even left my seat unused midway through a date (R.I.P half-eaten sirloin steak and grilled vegetables).

One by one, all the boys vanished into oblivion (just like all the unread messages in the ‘Other Folder’ of my Facebook inbox), disappearing forever into the darkest, and deepest recesses of my mind. I continued living my life (with other boys that suffered a similar fate).

That’s the sad thing about ghosting — it’s woefully easy when you are doing it yourself. One minute you are there, romantically entangled with a cute boy you met online — either in the middle of a date, or worse, a relationship — and then POP! You are out, having disappeared faster than Abhishek Bachchan’s dwindling career.

Can it get any better than that?

Yes. (Side note: but not for Abhishek Bachchan.)

Just because the relationship lacks chemistry, doesn’t mean it should lack manners as well. Don’t be the asshole here.

Don’t be me.

Feel like you don’t like someone enough to see them another time? Here are a few alternatives to try instead of going the Houdini route:

1. The slow fade.

This is probably the longest way to end things that aren’t going well, but it’s ideal if you have all the time in the world, and don’t want to get your hands dirty.

All you have to do is play along till the relationship fizzles out — a cancelled plan here, an unreturned call there, a vague reply here, a monosyllabic answer there, less yes’s, more no’s, less words, more hmm’s — just like a bottle of soda that’s been left open too long. You keep up with the banter, with increasingly opaque replies that are few and far between, till it dies a slow painful death — because the only thing worse than giving someone an STD, is giving them false hope.

Don’t be surprised if it feels horrible.

2. The long winding text.

If you have the makings of a writer, send them a heartfelt text telling them it’s not going to work out — the longer you write, more are the chances of making it seem right — but just make sure that you are nice, kind (or as kind as you can be to someone who you never plan to see again) and honest:

‘Hey! Thanks for asking me out again, but I feel like we are in different places right now. I had a great time, and you seem like a nice guy, but unfortunately, I don’t see a romantic connection. I hope you understand?’

Copy and paste this template if you feel like it.

3. The great big lie.

Don’t have the courage to come clean and tell them that you aren’t interested? Do the only nice thing that needs to be done — lie to them. Say that you got back together with the ex. Tell them you are moving to Yemen. Say that you are a born-again virgin. Tell him that you might be going to prison. Say that you are a Donald Trump supporter. Tell him that you’ve been selected for a space exploration programme.

Just make sure your story is believable, and try not running into him at the bar next weekend.

4. The doggy bag.

Your date might not necessarily be the object of your affection, but he could be someone else’s — possibly, one of your friends?

If soy latte-loving Sam likes Jhumpa Lahiri and tacos, just like your friend Dev does, why don’t you set them up together? That way, if things work out between them — there’s a higher chance of being the Best Man at their wedding, as opposed to being the douchebag who preferred matcha green tea and Zadie Smith; who never called back.

Now that you’ve done all of these (or you haven’t), just go find someone better to date.

Illustration courtesy Amrai Dua

Aniruddha Mahale