Do you have a “ghost” in your love life? Are you the victim of a “haunting”? Is there a “zombie,” back from the dating-dead, knocking at your door all of a sudden?
I made a Halloween-themed video about these – apparently new – dating phenomena. I tell you practically what you should do about each of them, and, most importantly, I simplify this whole convoluted, ridiculous mess…
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Why is it that dating seems to have become so complicated? I was recently on a show where I was asked about ghosting, haunting, zombieing, and, as much as I had a wonderful time, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “My God, why do we keep coming up with new names for things?”
I’m going to talk to you about those three words right now, but I’m going to simplify this once and for all.
Let’s take ghosting to begin with. Ghosting is when someone just… Maybe we went on a couple of dates and they disappeared, they just never texted us again. Maybe we were seeing someone for a long time and then they disappeared – much worse. We are left in this abyss of unknowing. What the hell happened? Are they okay? Is there something so wrong with me that not only are they not interested, but they didn’t even bother to tell me that they’re not interested?
I think that a big problem with ghosting is that we look for closure. We shouldn’t look for closure, we should give ourselves closure. Closure can be the gift that you give to yourself, and the closure is this: They either don’t care about me at all; or, they do care about me, but are willing to do this to someone they care about. Either way, this is enough information to move on with your life. Remember this when you’re looking for more information: Someone not contacting you is information. Disinterest is closure.
Number two, haunting. This was a word that got brought up to me and, I’ll be honest with you, I had to look it up, because they didn’t know what haunting meant in the dating context. When I did look it up, I realized, “Oh, we’ve dealt with this before.”
In any case, I happen to know he likes me.
Because he treats you right?
Because even if he doesn’t text back, he still likes my Instagram pictures.
When we talked about haunting, we called it a “platform downgrade.” Someone going from a more intimate form of communication with you – either seeing you in person, having phone calls, texting – to a much lesser form of communication that perhaps doesn’t even qualify as communication. It’s just someone being an abstract presence in your life, through the form of viewing your stories, liking your posts, but never having a direct interaction with you.
Now look, a simple response to this is just to block the person. If you really don’t want to hear from them, just block them. If you don’t want to see their name coming up on everything you do, block them.
But if you like the person and you don’t want to block them, the least I ask of you is that you not see them viewing your stories as a sign that something is going to happen. See it for what it is: Nothing.
Number three, zombieing. Zombieing is another new given to the idea that someone who has gone off the radar completely – they were a ghost – now has come back from the dead. And it might be in the form of a text saying, “Thinking of you,” or, “I miss you,” or, “Hey, what you up to?” Complete lack of acknowledgement for the fact that I ghosted you, for the fact that I’ve not been around for a long time. It’s someone coming back into your life, and, in that moment, you have to decide what you want to do with that.
The danger is that this person’s now coming back to you on their terms. We have this selfish streak in us, as human beings, that we tend to reach out to people when we need something, not when they need something, and zombieing is exactly that. Someone feels lonely, someone needs some validation, they want to check that you’re still there, they want to check that the door is still open. So they come back to you after having disappeared for a long time. You have to see that for what it is. This is not a sign of true investment, this is just a sign that someone is thinking of me right now in the moment.
There is a difference between attention and intention, and there’s a difference between intention and true investment. You don’t have true investment, you may not even have intention, the intention for them to actually go somewhere with you now, for it to become something more, you may just have attention. So you have to recognize attention for what it is, and in the form of zombieing, it’s not even good quality attention, it’s poor quality attention on somebody else’s terms.
Oh my God. Are you okay?
Now look, these terms are fun, I suppose, but where I get frustrated at them is I feel like we’ve begun to, as a culture, fetishize all these different versions of someone just being a bit shit. And by talking about them, by labeling, every different variation of someone not trying, we are investing more time and energy in these different phenomenons, which really aren’t that new in the first place. I mean, haunting may be new because someone didn’t get the chance to haunt our Instagram stories back in the fifties, but ghosting’s not new. That movie idea of, you see in a movie a woman comes up to a guy in the street and she’s like, “You never called.” That’s ghosting. She didn’t have any way to reach him other than when she saw him in the street and all he did was not see her anymore. It’s the same thing.
And I’ve said it before, trying is trying is trying is trying. Invest in someone based on how much they invest in you, not based on how much you like them. And people will say to me, “Matt, don’t worry I’m not investing. I’m not texting him back.” That doesn’t matter. Okay, so you’re not showing your investment to him, but you’re still investing when you’re thinking about it and analyzing it and dissecting it. It’s like dissecting smaller and smaller pieces of something that’s not important to begin with, and when we do that, that represents uneven investment. This person’s clearly not thinking about you, but you’re spending time thinking about and analyzing them. Lots of investment, no investment. So even when you’re not actually having an exchange, you can still have an imbalance in terms of the amount of investment you’re giving.
So if you want to stop analyzing things that don’t matter, and start actually pursuing things that could matter, I have three habits for you that you can take on in your love life to start creating real results. And that’s what I want. I don’t want to spend more time giving energy to these terms, these phenomenons that aren’t what you want in the first place. I’d rather give time to creating people that are serious in your life. So if you want my free guide on what these three habits are, come to 3LoveHabits.com. I’ll leave a link right here, and I’ll see you there. Let’s start making progress and stop wasting time.