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Ghosting: When A Nice Guy Is Too Scared To Say “No”

ghost

Ghosting isn’t a new Instagram craze, it’s a bad dating phenomenon.

A good decade ago, I was in downtown Springfield, MO, and met this girl at a club. We ended up talking all night, danced, kissed, drove her home, and promised I would call her the next day. I never did.

A few months later, my roommates were talking about this hot girl moving in across the street. She was working in the yard, and being a good neighbor, I went over to introduce myself. As I got closer, she looked up and said, “YOU!” Yeah, it was the girl I never called. Even as I write this, I still feel a little shame because I had zero good guy swag. Before the term was even used, I made her a victim of “ghosting.”

Ghosting is a when a guy/girl stops texting as much, stops calling, and instead of ending a relationship, just disappears. Let her down easy, right?

We’ve been talking a lot about The Nice Guy Syndrome. Looking through the lens of a coward, passive withdrawal from dating seems like the easiest and nicest route…until it’s done to you. Then you realize ghosting is one of the cruelest forms of torture dating can serve up. The Nice Guy is too self-absorbed to look back and see the debris he’s left behind.

I got a good dose of it a few years ago, and social media made it worse. While I was stuck in a state of confusion, self-doubt, and a dab of depression, I was watching her roam carefree. What did I do wrong? I should’ve blocked her on Facebook at that point, but I couldn’t.

A good guy isn’t passive aggressive, and a good guy doesn’t stay in a relationship because he’s scared he’ll really hurt her feelings if they break up. A good guy has integrity and confidence. Integrity involves being truthful, authentic, and doing the right thing. Confidence means you believe in yourself and have courage, so that even if you’re afraid, you go and do it. A simple “yes” or “no” will do.

Dating apps make ghosting easy. Using Tinder? Just delete the account. However, know you are creating habits that will make you impossible to marry because the go-to you are creating is to vanish when things get tough.

Here are just a few things you can be to ensure you aren’t the nice guy too scared to say “no.”

Be committed

If you’re unsure, why are you even going on a date? Before going on an official date, get to know her first.

Be respectful

If you’re polite enough to walk her to the car, then be respectful enough to tell her it’s not working. Think about how your actions will affect her.

Be a man

That’s right, not a boy. Ghosting is no different than a kid who’s losing at a game and suddenly quits. A real man will politely talk to her face-to-face, but if you’re too scared for that, at least send an email (and that’s only if you’ve been on one date). If you’re in a relationship, don’t break up via text. C’mon brothers!

Ghosting is a strange paradox because it’s the ghost who’s afraid. If you’re going to ghost anyone, do it to yourself. Step outside and take a good look at the man you are, then step back in and be the man you’re supposed to be.

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23 Responses to Ghosting: When A Nice Guy Is Too Scared To Say “No”

  1. Lauren Sergesketter March 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    I didn’t know there was a legitimate term for this other than “that way all guys dump me.” Maybe now that it’s pointed out it’ll get better!

    • rallymbaga April 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

      hahaha

  2. Seyi March 26, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    LOVE this post (and this site)! This is great, spot-on advice! I agree too that women also can do it. I touched on “ghosting” from a female perspective (and other dating issues) in a blog post: http://seyisblog.blogspot.com/2013/11/being-but-not-playing-hard-to-get.html. Integrity is for men and women, although situationally, it may be applied differently for each. I think it’s easy to confuse integrity with niceness because at first, they look the same. However, niceness really is more like physical beauty – it’s only skin deep, while integrity is about inner beauty – the heart! As I choose to grow in integrity, I find that I care much less about being nice. And I will take a guy with integrity over a nice one ANY day!

  3. David March 27, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    hmm… that`s interesting, I hope I haven`t done this in my friendships! thanks for the Article!

    ~David.

  4. Kevin April 14, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Excellent article! Excellent accountability!

  5. Lorri April 18, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Personally, I’ve only been “ghosted” a couple of times.

    I ended up thinking of those guys as little boys … certainly not grown men.

  6. NHLumpa June 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    That last sentence is the best advice ever.

    I try, and still often fail, to remember that: I AM RESPONSIBLE.

    That means that the world around me is more subject to my choices and actions than I think. I not only greatly influence it, but actually create it. While I can’t control who enters into our it, I am in almost control over who stays, and who is just passing through. I can build a world full of people who are positively striving, or negatively plundering, or anything in between.

    The kernel of innate goodness that I believe is in all of us recognizes the perfection (verb, not adjective) of goodness in others.

    I want to be someone that speaks to that.

    • Kris Wolfe June 28, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

      So good NHLumpa! I couldn’t have said it better.

  7. endophy September 1, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

    One guy did that to me. At first he had been the love of my life, he seemed indifferent towards me, wanted me maybe, then not, then yes maybe, then definitely no. We decided to stay friends. We lived far apart, wrote to each other daily via social media. Everything was fine. After two and a half years he suddenly started to ignore me. Totally. Without giving me the tiniest explanation why. At first I was worried, I thought something horrible had happened to him or that he might be depressed. I told him how worried I am…no reaction…not a word… Then I thought, I might have done something wrong, might have hurt him, I did not know what, but it must have been horrible, so I apologized and asked him to please tell me if I had done something wrong, that I love him and how much he means to me…nothing…not a single fucking word… Then there was this rollercoaster of anger, sadness, frustration, desperation, worry, and total confusion…so many tears…and so much pain, even real physical pain (which acutally is – scientifically proven – a normal reaction to this kind of emotional abuse) I basically ripped myself apart to find out what had happened, what I had done wrong, we not even have had a fight… I begged, I tried to ignore the pain and asked friendly for a new beginning…told him how incredibly much his silence is hurting me and why…told him how much he means to me…nothing…nothing…nothing… Then I got really angry, and – after three months of this shit – wrote an angry message, telling him that he should treat me with respect because I deserve respect, and that he should act like a man and not like a boy who is throwing a broken toy away….That I simply need to know what had happened and why our friendship was over after so much time. I only wanted to know the reason. Well then I got a reaction, finally: He deleted me completely, blocked me, erased me as if I had never existed in his life. But still: Without a single word.
    Would he have told me why, I would have had the possibility to go on and leave him behind like a nice memory. Would there have been a discussion or anything, we very likely could have solved the problem. But the fact that he never even gave me a chance to understand, leaves the wound open and bleeding. It has been more than half a year now. And still when I see a picture of him accidentally, seeing him all happy (and obviously not feeling guilty for what he had done to me and still is doing to me), the wound rips open again and I miss him like hell and there will always be these questions in my mind: why?
    For nearly three years he had been my best and closest friend. He had never said anything negative about our friendship. He had told me how important I am to him, that it had been destiny that we had met each other, even that he loved me. And from one day to the other I was suddenly dead to him. It would have been a lot easier if he actually would have died…
    Maybe to “ghost” someone after one date is an easy way out. I don’t think I would be too mad at a guy ghosting me after just one or two dates. It’s still not very nice behavior, but when you barely know him this kind of behavior is such a huge red flag that I would not even be sad about him “ghosting” me…I would be glad that I realized he is a no-no already in the beginning…
    But men out there (and women of course!): Never EVER ghost someone who you know has loved you for years and whom you have told you love too! Don’t ghost someone who has been your friend for years! Be a man/woman and tell this person, if something is wrong! And if you really think there are reasons to end a friendship, then be honest and direct and don’t just avoid a possible conflict!
    Because this kind of behavior is nothing else than pure evil torture! You are creating a wound that will need years to heal!
    I am normally not an overly dramatic person. And I know that everyone who has not experienced this kind of shit in his/her life, will maybe think I am overreacting and a bit crazy. But once it happens to you: You will understand!

    • adrienne May 30, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

      my first love did the same thing to me. he strung me along toward the end of our relationsihp by intermittently ghosting me and i was too naive to understand it. sorry for what you are going through.

      you are not being dramatic at all. that’s what’s so infuriating about ghosting- it make YOU look like the crazy one because you dont know how to feel- confused, angry, sad, regretful…you start blaming yourself. DONT do that and dont let anyone else do that to you. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

      HE is immature. HE is the one at FULL FAULT here. someone who is so emotionally stunted that he can’t give someone he supposedly loved (or even just casually dated) a proper ending to the relationship is a piece of shit!!

      men like this are so childish- so keen on protecting their own ego and making things as easy on themselves as possible. if you are going to leave someone, you deserve to SEE what you are doing to them. a decent person holds the other person, lets them say whatever they need to say, lets them cry, and then leaves. they dont ghost, thereby acting like the entire relationship was something they had to escape from.

    • Mick Taggart August 27, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

      What if the person is abusive? Or they are someone that you realise is having a bad effect on you? And that engaging with them to break up is something they will use to cause you undeserved pain? Do you lie?

      • Anne February 8, 2019 at 1:41 am #

        Can you elaborate please?

  8. ANON October 17, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

    Got ghost recently by a married school mate in his late 60’s!! Started kissing me passionately after meeting for an innocent coffee “life catch-up”. Saw him 7x, four of which were love trysts. Really cared for him. Both of us in loveless marriages without sex or intimacy. Felt I could trust him as I knew him as a very nice guy. After many surgeries with scarring and cancer; I felt “broken”. He made me feel “whole”….. But a “NICE” guy doesn’t ghost the person they chased and pursued for almost 3 months.

  9. MSC December 15, 2018 at 12:21 am #

    I didn’t know there was a term for what my xfriend did to me. Now that I realize it, I’m mad as h-ll. We’ve had an on-off relationship for over 7 years. He was a widow and I was in a loveless marriage. He brought tenderness and joy into my life. He traveled to the west coast to see me. I visited NY and visited with him. I then moved to the east coast; its been over 1 yr. and he hasn’t made any attempts to see me. He cannot call me and I can call him. I can text or phone him. All of a sudden he said he couldn’t email because he couldn’t think of anything to say. Should I send him an email with the explanation of what ghosting is or from any of the letters herein or should I just swallow long and hard and try to forget him. This is only skimming on the surfacet of the relationship we had but I thought he really loved me and expressed it so many times.

    • Patti T McMillian January 11, 2019 at 9:53 pm #

      My heart breaks for you as I also went thru a similar experience which is still affecting me. What I have decided to do (and suggest to you also) is to NOT contact him. I know that some kind of explanation or closure from him would make this easier on you, but I fear it will not happen. And, if you reach you and still get no response, you will feel even more the fool for doing so, and feel even worse than you do now. I can assure you that he is fine and could be in contact with you but ONLY IF AND WHEN HE wanted to be. I have been reading up on “ghosting” and even talked with a therapist about it. Ghosting is a greater version of getting the silent treatment. People who ghost others are usually very insecure and immature people. As hard as this rejection is, I believe it best to accept what you do not want to accept: he no longer has the feelings for you that he once had. I am working hard on myself to accept this from that guy in my life, and since we live in the same community, I still run into him which makes it even harder when he flat out ignores me. He doesn’t care for me the way I care or love him. It is OVER. I hope that this helps you. BTW, I was also ghosted by a newer female friend who I thought would be a good friend. Double whammy.

      • Anne February 8, 2019 at 1:52 am #

        You’re so correct. I know this and I concur. It’s just such an emotional crossroads when hurt logic and denial collide. Theres no collision insurance coverage when someone totals your heart.

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