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The Most Extreme Ways People Have Reacted to Being Ghosted

“I made a banner that said 'PLEASE TALK TO ME' because I knew he'd see it.”

by Daisy Jones
17 September 2019, 9:06am

Illustration by James Burgess

Luckily thus far I have only been ghosted once. This could be because I tend to date women and we’re generally nicer to each other (we’re absolutely not, but whatever). Or it could be because I don’t hook up with enough people for it to happen. Either way, the time I was ghosted – after what I thought were five meaningful hangs – I was so affronted that I sent her a line of ghost emojis. “That’s you,” I wrote, like a child. She sent me some long reply, the contents of which I don’t remember. Then we became friends.

The general consensus though, is that you don’t confront the person who ghosted you (and by “ghosted” I mean someone you’ve been seeing and have probably slept with – you can’t be ghosted on a dating app, grow up.) This is because if someone doesn’t want to speak to you, that in itself should be reason enough for you to also blank them. You have to let it go. Also people might have their own shit going on, and nobody should be obligated to reply, even if that makes them a dickhead.

But also, being ignored by someone with whom you thought you had a sincere romantic connection with is a disorientating and existentially irritating / hurtful experience. And you’re perfectly within your rights to seek answers. I spoke to some people who, instead of ghosting their ghoster, decided to avenge themselves.

“I sent her this longish message which boiled down to ‘You’re a coward’”

Screenshot of Confronting a Ghoster VICE
Image courtesy of the interviewee

I’d been dating this girl for about two months. We’d gone to exhibitions, out for dinners and one time spent 72 hours together. It's not like I thought it was anything serious, as on our first date we’d spoken about how neither of us want anything exclusive, so it wasn’t as if I was about to introduce her to my parents. But I did think we had a romantic connection – she’d given me that impression, just because of certain things she'd said and I definitely didn’t think she’d completely cease contact. So I saw her one Friday, stayed over, we spoke over the weekend a bit, then that next week she just started blanking me. I think I messaged her three times.

It's obviously not nice for anybody to be ghosted but it was like, I couldn’t believe the audacity of it? I just don’t think it’s that fucking difficult to pick up your phone and type out one simple message to explain, even if it’s uncomfortable or sucks your energy. You’re prioritising your own comfort over hurting somebody else’s feelings, which is selfish. Anyway I sent her this longish message which boiled down to “You’re a coward.” She never replied, but a few weeks later I heard through mutual friends that she’d met someone else, a guy, and that forced me to get over it quicker. Lily, 25.

“I used Bumble and played around with my settings so we would match and we did”

We met on Tinder. We’d been on a few dates. After the third one, we spent the whole day together and then hooked up. Afterwards, we’d been like “Yeah, let’s see each other in a couple of days.” He messaged to check that I’d gotten home OK, then… that was it. I messaged him the day before we said we’d see each other to check, and he sent nothing. The day afterwards he said “Sorry I was just really busy,” then there was nothing onwards.

It felt particularly bad because I’d told him how stressful I find dating, and he’d said he felt the same. So in a typical dramatic fashion, I blocked him on everything by the end of that week. It was a snap decision, as I could feel myself going insane. I didn’t want him to think I was an absolute lunatic. But then I was talking about it with a friend and she was like, “No! I would not stand for that! Hunt him down, and find out his excuses.” But I had no way of doing that.

I realised he was on Bumble, Hinge and OKCupid because he had spread himself around. So I used Bumble and played around with my settings so we would match and we did. I swiped right and it immediately popped up. I then had to send him the first message. I just sent, “Oh, so you’re still alive then?” and he just replied “lol” so I knew it was going to go really well, really mature. I then asked for his excuses and he was apologetic. He listed some excuses about being really busy, how work had been horrible, that there was a lot going on… which whatever. But it was quite lighthearted in the end. After I sent the last message, I unmatched him, and the whole thing made me feel better. Ally, 27.

“I made a banner that said 'PLEASE TALK TO ME'”

PLEASE TALK TO ME Banner Ghosting Confrontation VICE
Image courtesy of the interviewee

This was about two or three years ago. Me and this person were on and off for two years. It was a really bad relationship. We’d always block each other, and then do things to get each other’s attention. It was really toxic, and he was seeing other girls and me at the same time, but then we’d get back together. It was one of those.

But this one time he stopped talking to me. He just stopped replying to me, for maybe around two weeks or maybe a month. But my Instagram profile was public, and I knew he’d look at it. I was making banners at the time because I was doing an art course in uni, so I made one that said “PLEASE TALK TO ME” and posted it so that he could see it. We also both volunteered at this magazine, and every few months we’d be asked for different things to put in the mag, so I made sure the banner was in there that month. When he saw it, he replied. It worked. Although inevitably we broke up again, eventually. He's now blocked for good. Charlie, 24.

“So I thought... 'I’m just going to turn up at his house, and confront him'”

We met off Tinder. We met in a park [In Tel Aviv] at 2AM, but we’d agreed to be friends so it didn’t feel like a hook up. At first I wasn’t even attracted to him, but by the end of the night, I felt really safe with him – like unearned intimacy. We then spent 48 hours together. It was a very intense beginning. We’d meet up every two days. I kept waiting for him to back off, but he kept showing up, which was new for me.

This is such a long story, but we both went on holiday, then when I knew we’d be in the same city again I sent him a text being like “Hey, I want to see you,” but he didn’t reply. He didn’t even open the message. I started having that feeling in my stomach. I called him a couple of days later and he didn’t pick up. Then weeks later, I saw him on the street. I started shaking and he was walking towards me. The first thing I said to him was, “Was it real?” He was like, “Yes it was real.” He said he cared too much, cared a scary amount, which was why he did it. So we ended up making out.

Then we were texting more backwards and forwards, but gradually he stopped answering and I was starting to get that feeling again. So I thought I’m just going to turn up at his house, and confront him. I was just like… either way, this feeling is shit. I’d rather take some action. So I wore a nice dress and knocked on his door. His roommate opened I think, and called him. He looked… stiff. You know when you’re playing a drama game, and you have to freeze… that’s what he looked like.

I was so emotional I don’t even remember the rhythm of the conversation, but in broad strokes, I asked him what the fuck was going on. He was like “forget about me” then “I can explain.” I don’t remember what I did or said, maybe I spoke about sex, but he softened. He invited me to come over the next day, but I dunno... at that point, I was fully aware in my body that I couldn't be with him like I wanted to. It was never going to go back to what it was, which is sad to admit. Riva, 24.

“I sent an angry text at 4AM, then I immediately blocked him”

We were seeing each other for probably, like, three months? It wasn't very strict, it was casual. I met him while I was on a press trip, although I think I'd met him a few times before. He was cool. And then we started talking more regularly in London. It was IRL, and also he'd come across a lot more keen to me. So because he was the one that pursued me, it was annoying that after we'd had sex he started steadily ghosting.

If he just wanted a shag, that's fine, but I feel like you owe a person a level of respect. If you're the one that's being ghosted, it feels like you've done something wrong, but you haven't? You can just say you're not interested anymore, or be clear and map out that you'd like a casual thing. It's all about communication. Especially because this person was somebody I'd probably run into in certain circles.

Usually I'm not that bothered about ghosting because I'm not that invested in anyone very frequently. I might think, “Oh they're a bit of a dickhead” then move on. But I was at home with my dad, drinking whiskey which I famously can't drink and had just started 40mg Citalopram. Sometimes when you first start taking antidepressants, and you mix them with drink, they increase your aggression and forgetfulness. So I was absolutely fuming about this. I sent an angry text at 4AM. Then I immediately blocked him, so I have no idea what he replied back.

Every single line of this message was a battle cry. It was complete and utter aggression. One part of it was “I will not be a white man's whore” and the end part of it was insinuating that I didn't fucking care if he "showed this to all of his music friends”. I said I'm not getting ghosted in 2019. What I learned from it was that you have a right to speak to someone that way if you're being disrespected – because that's what ghosting is – but probably don't mix Citalopram and whiskey before you do it. Jesy, 28.

@daisythejones