You’re not sure if you’ve been ghosted. It’s been a full twenty-four hours since your last message, date, or interaction and you’re beginning to panic. Knowing how common ghosting is, especially early on in a new interaction, your mind immediately jumps to that fear.
Well, don’t be too hasty. It may seem hard to know when exactly you’ve passed the “busy” point and have entered “ghosting” territory, but there are ways to find out.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a ghosting time frame. It depends on various factors, including relationship level and normal communication frequency between the two of you.
Specifically, the question is, how many days is ghosting? How many days until it’s officially… (cue scary, dramatic music) ghosting?
The three-day rule
A quick Google search is going to tell us that the ghosting is official after day three of no contact. If it’s been three days, we’ve got ourselves a ghost.
While this is the general and accepted rule, it’s certainly not foolproof. Several other things should be considered before we decide that our crush has disappeared forever.
However, if you had set plans that have passed without a word within that time frame, then ghosting is probably a pretty safe bet.
Barring some sort of emergency, someone who was interested and considerate would have reached out to give you an update or notify you of a change of plans.
So, if it seems super out of the ordinary to have not heard from this person in three days, then, unfortunately, yeah, you’ve probably been ghosted.
What’s the relationship level?
You’ll remember that I said that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to the number of days before we officially call it “ghosting.” One factor that could affect this standard rule is the relationship level.
Are you guys registering for wedding gifts or have you just started messaging on a dating app? These things affect the situation.
You’ve been messaging for a couple of days on a dating app but have never met in person. At this point, neither of you should be emotionally invested in the situation. If someone disappears for a little while, you may have been ghosted or they may have other things going on.
I would say this scenario is one of the least traumatic in ghosting. Dating online or on apps is a fast-paced world. People catch our eye and then lose it pretty quickly. One-sided and mutual ghosting is bound to happen.
But if you’ve only been chatting for a day or two and one of you decides to bail, is it ghosting? Technically, I suppose so. But it probably doesn’t hurt as badly as with someone you’d had a real physical and emotional connection with after a few dates.
Congratulations. You made it past the very fickle part of just texting and have moved on to meeting in person. Or maybe you even met in person and went on a date—even better.
Ideally, you’ll be in touch within a couple of days of the first date. However, you probably got an idea of how busy a life the other person leads on that date. Maybe you even chatted about communication styles and preferences—a conversation I highly recommend having.
You’re still just casually seeing each other. Until any set plans or relationship labeling has taken place, it could be a week or so between contact, and I still wouldn’t jump into the ghosted territory.
A few dates
Alright, you guys are into each other. You’ve got that beginning of relationship passion that keeps you wanting to see more of each other. You’ve had a few dates, and you texted regularly until now.
A couple of days have gone by since you’ve seen each other, and there’s been no word. You should have heard from them by now. Maybe something has happened, but more likely you’re in the process of getting ghosted.
There’s no harm in reaching out with a message to check up on them. If there’s still no word, then it’s probably safe to say that this person has decided to disappear.
A couple of months
These are the scenarios that sting. If you’ve been seeing someone consistently for a few months and they all of a sudden become unresponsive, it really hurts.
At this point, you are both probably on the same page and accustomed to each other’s communication styles. Maybe you see each other casually, aren’t big on texting, and a week or two without a word isn’t unheard of. Everyone is looking for different things in their dating lives, so we’re not in ghosting territory here.
But, if you too are hot and heavy texters and see each other often, and then there’s no word for a couple of days, then something is definitely up. You try reaching out or calling after a couple of days and nothing.
I’m sorry to say that you’ve been ghosted in the absolute worst fashion. Being ghosted by some random guy on Tinder is annoying, but it doesn’t traumatize you. Being ghosted after sharing a special connection with someone for months, thinking you were on the cusp of your next big love story, really does hurt.
What’s the normal standard of communication?
So, you love dating rules. Well, I’m sorry to say it again, but the three-day rule isn’t concrete. You’re going to have to use some of your critical thinking skills here to figure out if something is strange in your communication patterns.
Try not to let past experiences and relationships influence your assessment too much. Every person is different, and everyone has different communication styles.
I hate texting someone I’m not in a serious relationship with (like living together) every day. It gets on my nerves and I think it takes away a bit of the allure. I know a lot of people who would disagree and enjoy messaging with their new crush throughout the day.
Know what works for you and for them to figure out if things are getting spooky or not.
If you chat every day and then there’s no word for two days, that’s probably not a great sign. Likewise, for our less frequent texters and daters, if you usually chat every week and it’s been a month, things are probably also headed to the graveyard.
Don’t jump to conclusions
When it comes to ghosting, try not to assume anything too quickly.
Recently, I was messaging this guy on a dating app, and after I took about 24 hours to respond to a message, he accused me of ghosting him. Honestly, I was interested in this guy but had just gotten busy. His message totally turned me off. I deemed him needy and easily responded by ending the interaction without a second thought.
Give someone the benefit of the doubt in the beginning. Get to know their communication style and think about the level of interaction you’re having with them. It does no good to “cry ghost” constantly.