The dating nightmares continue: from ghosting comes the creepier development of “haunting”.
Anyone who has braved the treacherous world of online dating will surely have some experience of ghosting.
According to the Urban Dictionary, “ghosting” applies to the practice in which a person cuts off all communication with the one they’re dating, providing zero warning or notice beforehand. The hope is that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the ghoster alone, as opposed to showing any kind of backbone by simply telling the other party that he/she is no longer interested.
What I love most about this definition is their accurate portrayal of the act, establishing the way in which ghosting is:
“closely related to the subject’s maturity and communication skills. There have been many attempts made to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but in fact, it proves the subject is thinking more of themselves. Ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.”
I mean, get I get an amen?!
From ghosting to haunting
Unfortunately, a new, even-creepier trend is taking over the aforementioned ghosting, which is that of “haunting”. In this instance, you’ve already experienced the pain of your former love interest going all radio silence on you for no apparent reason, but now, they continue to lurk in the ether and follow your every digital move. It’s the stuff of millennial nightmares – they watch your Insta Stories; “like” your Facebook posts; even your Linkedin updates fall prey to their relentless online gaze. All of which they do with eerie, haunting, silence.
Do you know what word rhymes with haunting? Taunting. And that’s exactly what is happening here. It’s a cruel kind of curiosity and only a shade better than “breadcrumbing” (the more overt form of leading someone on by sending sporadic messages to keep the other person interested, Hansel and Gretel style). It’s the kind of behaviour that makes us wish we were all living back in the days of love-letters and drive-thru cinemas, where couples went a-courtin’ and left the haunting to the floating white figures of fairytales and folklore.
More than just “curiosity”
Some defend haunting for being genuine curiosity, but when it follows an act so lacking in care or consideration, haunters should realise that they forgo the luxury of such an explanation. They’re not being curious, they’re being creepy and somewhat cruel to impose their presence (however virtual it may be) upon the other person, who has already suffered the humiliation of being ghosted.
So what can you do in the face of a haunting onslaught? Our advice would be to go forth and block them. You don’t need to subject yourself to that kind of sadistic sideline voyeurism, and they don’t deserve to enjoy your wondrous stream of memes, foodie pics and inspirational quotes. From here on out, we’ve decided that the only haunting ghost we’re willing to let hang around is the Casper kind. All others need not apply.