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Urban Etiquette

Ellen Vanstone answers your questions about the annoying behaviours, poor manners and impatient encounters that dot the days of a city dweller.

Can I confront my ghoster and demand an explanation?

Things were going well, until she vanished. I think I deserve an explanation.

Ani Castillo

Dear Ellen,

I met a woman online, we met for coffee and connected right away. We had some great dates and started making some serious plans to spend more time together.

Then, after a few weeks, she cancelled by email at the last minute, and completely disappeared.She’s not on the dating site anymore, or she has blocked me.

Now I’m wondering whether to contact her. Women complain about being ghosted all the time, but obviously they do it too. I think I deserve an explanation. Advice?


Dear Rick,

Yes, you deserve some kind of explanation. No, you should most definitely not contact her, for the following reasons: a) she cancelled dinner, then cancelled you on the dating site, so it’s not like she’s lying in a ditch somewhere and needs your help; b) tracking her down and contacting her after she’s ghosted you puts you firmly in stalker territory, which is not where any polite, or sane, person wants to go.

Also, while it’s true that women complain about being ghosted, and then turn around and do it themselves, that fact is completely irrelevant. The female of the species can be just as rude, heartless and cruel as any other member of the human race, but their bad behaviour is no excuse for relaxing one’s own personal standards.

I’m not saying she owed you an excessively detailed explanation. Whether she had a personal crisis, or a horrifying medical diagnosis, or an inconvenient acne breakout, or she just found another guy she liked better, she is under no obligation to tell you about any of it.

But what she, or any one of us, must do is at least send a polite note. Nobody wants to hear “Hey, it was great to meet you and spend time with you, but I don’t think this is quite right for me.” But at least you’ll have clarity.

The right thing for you to do here is swallow your pride, and believe that time will heal your hurt feelings.

If it’s any consolation, and assuming you behaved like a gentleman throughout your brief relationship, you can also be assured that she’s not good enough for you anyway. The ghoster, male or female, is a lazy moral coward who’d rather take the easy way out than extend another person the common decency of a formal farewell. They don’t have the first inkling about what makes a good relationship. Good riddance, I say, and so should you.

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