Is He Ghosting Me or Just Busy?

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Is He Ghosting Me or Just Busy?

You’ve got that lingering feeling that the guy you like has decided to POOF into the night. With ghosting becoming a normal tactic in modern dating, it’s not surprising that you’re a little nervous that you may have been ghosted. 

Up to now, you’ve hit it off. But, he’s been slow to respond to the last few messages you sent, and now it’s been at least 24 hours since you’ve heard from him. You’re freaking out. 

Don’t panic quite yet.

How can you tell if you’re being paranoid or if it’s a real, live (or gone) ghost situation? There are some signs to look out for to know if you’ve been ghosted. 

So, is he ghosting me, or just busy? 

Do you want to know? Let’s check it out. 

How to know if he’s ghosting

A young woman ponders whether she has been ghosted
A young woman ponders whether she has been ghosted.

It seems like it should be obvious, but it’s really not. You should know if someone is blowing you off, right? Well, it’s often not that simple. 

Every relationship is different, and each person has different screen habits. Some people are more “text active” than others. 

Figuring out what’s the norm for your new crush is important so that you don’t send yourself into a ghost spiral every couple of days. 

So, how to know if he’s just busy or if he’s pulling a vanishing act? Here are some things to look out for. 

Text quality and quantity

Okay, we all know the saying: quality is better than quantity. I’ll venture to say that proves true in the magical world of texting as well. Although, I’m sure there are others out there who may disagree with me on that. 

How often is this guy texting you? Is he waiting days to respond to a message? And what are his responses like? One word? Or is it just a cute little voice note? These things make a difference. 

Most of us have jobs that require us to be in front of a screen all day. It makes sense that a lot of people try to limit their screen time when off the job.

If I’m seeing someone, the occasional coy, flirtatious message coupled with plans to meet up again is fine with me. 

Woman driving while reading her SMS messages
A woman driving while reading her SMS messages.

Some people love to message all day long with their crush. I do not. However, I don’t want to be left on read for days on end either. You’re going to have to get a feel for the texting habits of your new dating interest on this one. 

What’s their texting norm? Has it changed from when you first met? Or has it been consistent?

If he’s giving infrequent and terse answers, something is probably off. If he waits a day or two to respond but sends a lovely message, then he’s still interested. 

You will know if the frequency or text quality has changed. If it has, that’s probably a sign that this person may be on the verge of ghosting you. 

Change in communication

This one goes hand in hand with our last one. Did this guy normally text you nonstop and has now gone silent? Or does he wait days to respond? Something is off. 

At the beginning of a relationship, it may make sense to be a bit more communicative. Sparks have flown, and things are new and exciting. Often, as the relationship continues and you feel more secure with each other, the messaging may calm down or fall into a routine. 

That’s normal. It’s not normal to be exchanging messages with a new guy and have him stop responding mid-conversation. 

Maybe he’s not a big texter but had previously sent you “quality” messages every couple of days. Did those change to one-word texts? Again, something is up here. 

It seems as though this guy is preparing to bail. 

If your new guy was previously very caring, loving, or responsive, and now there’s been a shift in that, then he’s probably about to ghost. People will often give signs that something is off before they bail completely. 

If the communication has switched from hot to cold, prepare yourself for what may come. 

Extravagant excuses or no explanations

Man avoiding going on a date by giving reasons through text to a girl
Man avoids going on a date by giving reasons through text to a girl.

If either of these things is happening, things aren’t looking great for the future of this new attraction. Neither long-winded, dramatic excuses nor zero explanations are a good thing to have coming your way. 

So, you guys made plans to see each other again after a promising first date. On the day of those plans, you get a barrage of texts from him. His niece’s friend’s dog has a new rare disease that can only be treated by one veterinarian in a different state. He’s the only one who can take them.


Or maybe it’s a different scenario. You had discussed texting to make plans after what you deemed a great first date. When you reach out a couple of days later, he says he can’t get together. And that’s all. 


There’s a sweet spot that I like to call the truth. It seems like the guys in neither of these scenarios are going to be in a steady dating relationship. Too much or too little are going to be red flags. Keep an eye out for both.  

Canceled plans with no reschedule

Woman got a text message from a guy canceling their date.
A woman got a text message from a guy canceling their date.

Let’s say one of the last two texting scenarios happened to you, but the guy actually made a plan to reschedule your meeting. And it really happened. You’re probably out of the ghosting danger zone. 

However, if your guy is canceling plans with no promise of rescheduling, then he’s on his way out. 

He could be busy, sure. But, he should tell you that. Maybe a “Sorry to have to cancel, but things are crazy at work right now. I’d love to see you again, but when things have calmed down on my work end.” Still very non-committal, and I definitely wouldn’t wait on this guy, but a courteous cancellation at least. 

If you had plans with someone, they bailed, and now you haven’t heard from them, then they are probably not very interested in seeing you again. They’ve already gone half-transparent and have one foot out of the ghosting door. 

Let them leave. That’s their loss. 

How long before our busy guy is considered a ghost?

This is a tricky question. Some people lead crazy, busy lives. If your life isn’t like that, then it may be difficult for you to understand. 

My life is pretty chill. I write. I craft. I dance. I meet up with friends. I go on dates. But, I’m pretty much only responsible for myself, and I decide what I want to do each day. Sure, I have responsibilities, but they’re minimal because I’ve decided to live that way. 

I’ve dated men with kids, various businesses, big families who live nearby, constant work travel obligations, etc. They have a totally different lifestyle than me. That can lead to some confusion with expectations on the dating and communication front. 

Some people are busy but still interested. Some people aren’t interested and are ghosting. How to tell the difference? Use the tips above, but if you’re still unsure, do a little time check. 

The consensus on the internet seems to be that after three days, it’s considered ghosting. That seems pretty soon to me, depending on the guy and how the communication has been up to that point. 

If you’ve found yourself an infrequent texter (my personal favorite, honestly), then give them a little more leeway. Maybe a week or so before you decide they’ve vanished forever. 

However, if they’ve been pretty consistent with texting, and then they go silent, the three-day rule is probably a good one to follow. 

There are ways to tell if a guy is planning to ghost you before getting in too deep.

Busy Ghosts

A guy can be busy and a ghost at the same time. Being busy is not an excuse to ghost you or to be inconsiderate with your feelings or time. 

If a guy has a lot going on, he should tell you that. Period. That way, you can adjust your expectations and either accept it or decide that dating that “busy guy” just isn’t for you. 

If he’s too busy to send a message, saying he’s busy, then he’s just not interested. Dating won’t be a priority for him. If you’re wanting more from your dating relationships, then this guy is never going to give it to you—ghost or not. 

Try not to jump to conclusions about a new guy. I know, we’re all on the lookout for ghosts, but give this new person a chance. 

Get a vibe about their norm in communication. If it works for you, great. If it makes you paranoid and insecure, then let the relationship go. Your emotional stability and well-being are the most important things. 

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Sarah is a writer at While she enjoys writing on a variety of topics, her favorite is dating and relationships. She’s curious about dating trends and how they continuously evolve. When dating gets hard, she likes to find humor and reason in the situations that she affronts. Through a combination of personal experience and research, Sarah loves connecting with readers through her pieces on their shared dating experiences.