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Why ‘Soft Ghosting’ Is SO Much Worse Than Being Left On Read Forever

It goes a little something like this:

You’ve been seeing someone for a while. You’ve gone on a number of dates and text regularly. You’re sensing a strong connection and you genuinely feel like you could see the two of you becoming something real.

But one day, something begins to change. It’s subtle at first. For example, one random Monday they take a longer time than usual to reply and are short. You figure it was a busy day at work or that they’re in a bad mood. But then their replies continue to become shorter and more sporadic as the days move forward. They stop asking you what you’re up to over the weekend or are busy when you ask them to meet up.

So you give them some space because you think maybe that’s what they need. You stop reaching out. You never hear from them again. To this day, they still watch your Instagram Stories.

Sorry, but you’ve been soft ghosted.

Soft ghosting is when someone you’re seeing or talking to gradually fades from your life. They reply to your texts with reactions or emojis, but don’t make an effort to truly respond to what you’re saying or continue the conversation. They dodge invitations to see one another and stop initiating dates altogether.

Usually, you can tell when someone is soft ghosting you because there is a palpable energy shift. The tone of your conversation changes. You went from talking until you fell asleep to small talk in small moments every now and again.

The biggest indicator you’re being soft ghosted, though, is that it’s only you who is doing all the heavy lifting to keep the conversation (and frankly the relationship) going. There is no longer reciprocation. The ball is always immediately thrown back in your court.

And it hurts. To be totally honest, being soft ghosted sucks SO much more than being left on read forever. Like, seriously, if I’m going to get ghosted, I’d rather the other person give me the courtesy to actually commit to the ghosting by going full-on no contact. At least I know where I stand in their life at that point.

On the other hand, with a soft ghosting situation, there are mixed signals and a lot of room for interpretation. At least at first. Eventually, the person being soft ghosted will get the hint but not without feeling strung along and embarrassed they didn’t catch on sooner.

If you’ve been soft ghosted, please know that it’s not your fault that you didn’t see the signs immediately. It’s hard to know when to say when in these kinds of situations. Plus, soft ghosting creates an unfair power dynamic in that one party is aware that the relationship is over and the other is not.

If you’re worried you’re in the process of being soft ghosted, listen to your instincts. The minute you’re starting to feel like you’re chasing, take a step back to catch your breath and assess the facts. You can ask for clarification. But if you’re met with a wishy-washy sry, just been busy, and then no change in communication, that’s all the information you need to move forward.

So, delete their number from your phone. Let yourself be sad. Talk it through with your friends. But most importantly, post the Instagram Story thirst trap. Because we know they’ll be lurking. Might as well show them you’re hot.