Sex & Dating | August 16, 2021 12:09 pm

Match Thinks It Can Stop People From Ghosting on Dating Apps

It's just human nature to ghost.

Ghost and let ghost.
Ghost and let ghost.
Getty Images

Ghosting is a time-honored online dating tradition as integral to the dating app experience as swiping, fish pics and tired bios about being “fluent in sarcasm.” On the off chance there’s anyone left on the internet who is somehow unfamiliar with the term, “ghosting” refers to abruptly cutting off contact with a romantic or potential romantic partner, rather than actually breaking up. Of course, we didn’t need dating apps to ghost people — back in the day, you just stopped answering someone’s calls or faxes or however people used to communicate pre-internet. But the advent of dating apps has made ghosting much easier and more prevalent, to the extent that you can even ghost people you’ve never met in real life by simply failing to keep up a conversation on a dating app.

Depending on who you ask — me for, example — flaking on a dating app conversation shouldn’t even really count as “ghosting,” which is widely reviled and generally considered a pretty egregious dating foul. In my opinion, ghosting only even begins to enter morally reprehensible territory after you’ve met someone in real life, and even then only if you’ve been on at least two or more dates. Regardless, in-app ghosting remains a common complaint among dating app users who remain disappointed by seemingly promising matches who suddenly fade out of conversations. Fortunately for online daters spooked by ghosts, Match thinks it has the answer.

The online dating platform (and eponymous product of Match Group, which owns multiple other leading dating apps including Tinder, Hinge and Plenty of Fish) has recently announced two new features designed to ease common online dating frustrations, including one that hopes to “end ghosting once and for all,” according to Match’s Chief Product Officer, Dushyant Saraph. The dating app’s new “Goodbye Ghosts” feature will hit users suspected of ghosting with a nudge if they’ve let a chat lie dormant for bit, prompting them to either continue the conversation or unmatch the user on the end of it. Selecting the “unmatch” option will send a polite message “nicely let[ting] them know if you’re no longer interested,” according to a press release.

Personally, I have always been of the opinion that getting unduly upset over ghosting that happens on a dating app is a waste of one’s own time and energy. I also don’t feel entitled to an official notice that someone I’ve never met in real life and have merely exchanged some words with on a dating app is no longer interested in talking to me, nor do I find it particularly necessary. A good way to know whether or not someone wants to continue talking to you is whether or not they continue talking to you. If they stop answering you, that tells you all you need to know. Also, do you really want written notice, however polite it may be, that someone you don’t even know is not interested in you? I’d much rather assume this internet stranger either got busy or died than suffer the unnecessary self-esteem hit of getting personally rejected by someone I don’t even know.

I get what Match is trying to do here, and in some cases it may even work, improving the online dating experience for dating app users who feel their go-to platforms are haunted by the ghosts of unfinished conversations. Regardless, ghosting is just human nature. In general, we want to avoid conflict, uncomfortable conversations and hurting people’s feelings. Should you ghost on your wife and children? Probably not. But letting a conversation with a stranger from the internet die out is hardly the same thing as abruptly blocking your girlfriend’s phone number and never speaking to her again. For better or worse, dating apps have changed the ways we engage with potential romantic partners, and if we took the time to officially “break up” with every match we ever struck up a conversation with on a dating app, we’d never have time to meet people we actually are interested in talking to. We’re all adults here, no one owes us anything, least of all strangers on the internet. Live and let ghost.