Make Ghosting Disappear!

by Julia Dunn Mosby

Ah, ghosting. A familiar subject to many who have tried both traditional and online dating. Ghosting happens when a friend or date ceases all communication without warning or explanation, subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out to them. Ghosting is an insidious form of throwaway culture – a term originally used by Pope Francis to describe how consumerism devalues human life and the human person, which “are no longer felt to be primary values to be respected and protected…if they are not yet useful…or are no longer useful.” Ghosting, though a milder offense than the use and abuse of casual sex or the hookup culture, is an expression of the throwaway mentality. The fact that so many have embraced this way of dealing with undesired dates indicates how often we fail to love and respect our neighbors. If we are not careful, the ease of communication afforded by apps, texts, and social media can blind us to the enduring fact that everyone is made in the image of God.  

Ghosting is very easy to do when we become too bound up in ourselves and our own feelings – fears, desires, self-justification – to view another person as valuable enough to warrant a reply. In order to counter the uncharitable culture of ghosting, we first need to know our own expectations, preferences, values, and aspirations. Then, we need to convey them clearly. If we want to end a relationship, whether at the digital or in-person stage, we should not hesitate to articulate it for our own good and for the good of the other person. A straightforward, gentle approach will temper the potential awkwardness of rejecting someone, but even more than that, it will be far more merciful and kind not to keep them in the dark. If we want to be Christ to others, including our enemies, then that gives us all the more reason to be transparent with our dates! In doing so, we will spare them days, weeks, months, and in some cases, even years of the anxiety, uncertainty, and self-doubt that accompany being ghosted.  

Long story short, unless you have already made your intention (or lack of intention) known and are still being harassed, there is no reason not to reply to someone’s message. 

Ave Maria Singles makes it simpler, faster, and easier to connect with like-minded people, but that doesn’t mean we should treat people as though they’re disposable. As a Catholic myself, I always have to remind myself of the call to “love one another with brotherly affection,” and to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10). This applies to everyone – to those we like, dislike, or for whom we feel indifferent. Thankfully, Ave Maria Singles has embedded in their service a simple way to turn this phenomenon of ghosting on its head. You can use the “not interested” button to let your date down easy: “You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you just can’t figure out how to let them down easy. It seems much easier not to reply at all. But every message deserves a reply.”   In our gratitude for a platform that has enabled so many Catholics to meet, date, and marry other Catholics, let us spread the message that all human life is valuable by rejecting a culture of absence and indifference, nourished by Christ’s active love and Real Presence in the Eucharist.


Julia Dunn Mosby serves as Program Officer of the Love and Fidelity Network , connecting students with the resources, support, and arguments they need to advocate for the institution of marriage, the special role of the family, and sexual integrity on campus and beyond. A recent undergraduate of Princeton University, she has served as president of the Princeton Anscombe Society and participated in the Aquinas Institute, Princeton's Catholic Campus Ministry. She graduated with a B.A. in English and a Certificate in Theater. 

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