Soft ghosting is a dating trend you’ve probably done or had done to you. I’ve definitely done it... Anyone can be soft ghosted, be it a potential romantic interest, a friend, acquaintance or family member. It can be done to be malicious, or just because someone doesn’t know what to say next.
Thankfully, we have Match’s dating expert, Hayley Quinn, to weigh in on soft ghosting how it differs from ghosting, zombieing and fleabagging, and what to do if you’re being soft ghosted.
What is soft ghosting?
Essentially, soft ghosting is ghosting but for people who feel bad about completely cutting contact. Maybe someone will stop asking to hang out, or even asking you questions that would continue a conversation, but they'll still send emojis, or like your pictures, or watch your Instagram stories.
“Soft ghosting starts gradually [and] soon, communication drops to occasionally commenting on you Instagram stories. Finally, your messages are just met with a ‘like’ or an emoji as a response”.
It may sound less... dramatic than full-on ghosting, but soft ghosting can be just as painful because as Hayley says, "there’s more of a fade out than a sudden end" and it can be hard to know when to walk away.
How to deal with being soft ghosted
Know when to draw the line
Hayley says you should know when to draw the line when it comes to soft ghosting.
“If a message doesn’t require a response, don’t respond. You deserve more than continuing a conversation in the face of just likes or emojis as responses”.
Actions speak louder than words
“Remember, these lazy responses aren’t a sign of someone who cares. If someone wants to show you that they like you, they WILL,” she says.
Don’t let a situationship keep you stuck in the mud when there really are plenty more fish.
Don’t be quick to assume
Despite the fact we live in an age where our phones never leave our hands, people can genuinely miss your message.
"Don't jump to conclusions"
Hayley says you shouldn’t “jump [immediately] to conclusions if you’re being soft ghosted. If they write back quickly, apologise, and it’s a one off, then let it go”.
Don’t make it bigger than it is.
Know when to take the hint...
...but don’t jump to conclusions. Sometimes, people don’t want to tell you they aren’t interested.
“If you haven’t heard back from someone for a few days, don’t immediately assume it’s about you” Hayley warns.
Instead, “Send a message like, ‘hey! It’s been a minute – hope you’re having a good week?’ At this stage, if they say something vague like they’ve just been busy, take note that they don’t sound that invested in you."
Knowing is enough
People can be shitty for no apparent reason, so you need to know when to do better in order to protect yourself and your own feelings. Hayley says you should “come to your own conclusion that this (being soft ghosted for an extended amount of time) isn’t enough for you.
"You can send an ‘ending’ message to them. However, it may be more empowering for you to just leave it. Knowing is enough. If you know they’re not showing up for you in the way that you want, you don’t need a detailed explanation, which they’re unlikely to give to you. You need to move on and find someone who is willing”.
Are you a soft ghoster?
Soft ghosting is something that, as unfortunate as it is, we are all guilty of AND we are all victims of. As soft ghosters, we need to take responsibility for our actions, especially when it comes to other people’s feelings. And as soft ghostees, we need to know when it’s time to move on and do better.
Know the warning signs, and know when to stop trying!