For millennials, the term ‘ghosting’ has become almost synonymous with dating. If you are lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the term, ghosting is the action of completely cutting someone off after a date; no texts, no calls, no sneaky likes on Instagram, just a complete evaporation of contact. This has become a new social norm, an accepted way of avoiding confrontation.
Now more than ever, technology is shaping the way we date. Through a mobile phone, it takes less than a minute to delete someone completely from your life and start the process all over again with someone new. Although many think ghosting is a harmless action, it can actually be detrimental for the ghostee’s mental health and self-esteem.
Being ghosted can stir up feelings of rejection or not being worthy of someone’s attention. When someone has seemingly enjoyed spending time with you in real life and then cut you off via social media, it is easy to jump to conclusions about the authenticity and integrity of modern dating.
Apps like Tinder, Bumble and Grindr have made it easier than ever to commodify people based on their appearance or interests. In other words, dating has become more of a game than a search for love; it is uncertain whether profiles will be taken seriously or used as comedic fodder in a group chat somewhere. Because of these apps, nothing is really sacred. Conversations, photos and names will almost definitely be shared for the enjoyment and humour of others.
Jackie, a third year student, claims that she finds using Tinder useful for validation, and validation only.
“I downloaded it with friends…we just used it to see how many likes my profile would get, then ghost the people who would send me messages. I’ve never used Tinder seriously, it’s more of a game at parties or when we’re feeling down about ourselves”.
Jackie, like many others, proves that the use of these apps has become nothing more than a game, and dating as a millennial has become harder than ever due to these startling attitudes. It is sad that ghosting has become a popular way to end a relationship, and that dating apps are now nothing more than party games for bored students.
In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, the act of commodifying individuals needs to end. Although it may seem harmless, toying with someone’s emotions can have a strong effect on their mental health or sense of self-worth. Rejection is always hard, so why make it harder?
Instead of ghosting, be honest. Instead of laughing at somebody’s profile, just swipe left. It really isn’t that hard. It may sound old-fashioned, but love is something that shouldn’t be tampered with. For many, the road to romance can be a rocky one, so let’s not put more obstacles in the way.