The Haunting Dating Trend: How to Survive a Soft Ghost

A woman stressing out over how to deal with a soft ghost from her love interest
Don’t stress over the horrors of a soft ghost. Refer to our guide on how to deal with it.

Humans are scarier than ghosts.

They can hurt you physically, emotionally, and mentally, while ghosts can’t.

However, due to movies and novels, many have come to believe that there’s nothing scarier than a supernatural being.

This is why when people experience something haunting, they often attribute it to the work of a ghost.

In dating, for instance, a new trend has emerged called “soft ghosting,” which has left many feeling confused, anxious, and unsure about how to progress in their relationship.

Unfortunately, numerous individuals have become victims; some are aware of it, while others haven’t realized a thing.

To avoid falling into this haunting dating trend, here is a guide on how to survive a soft ghost.

Soft Ghosting Meaning

What is soft ghosting?

Before learning the steps on how to deal with soft ghosting, you need to understand what it is.

According to the Urban Dictionary, it’s a term used to describe a social phenomenon where the person you’re talking to gradually reduces their online communication with you until they eventually give you no response at all.

It’s similar to how a ghost would vanish into thin air, hence the term.

However, soft ghosters usually leave a like or emoji reaction to your last message, so technically speaking, they didn’t just disappear on you.

While it’s normal to send likes or emojis as a last message, they use this as a way of saying that they have no plans to continue the conversation and move forward in your relationship.

Soft Ghosting Examples

Is she soft ghosting me?

Soft ghosting among friends can happen. However, it is most prominent in the dating landscape. This is because people often feel that they have more leeway to engage in the trend, as they might not have many close connections willing to involve themselves in the relationship.

That being said, soft ghosting in dating can manifest through the following behaviors:

  • Delayed responses

  • Fewer instances of initiating a conversation

  • Generic and short responses, such as one-word answers or emojis

  • Sharing only shallow details about their personal life

  • No willingness to commit or a disinterest in making plans

A person liking their partner’s Instagram post
A ghost can take on various shapes. Similar to this, soft ghosting in dating manifests in various forms.

Soft Ghost Psychology

Why has soft ghosting become a trend?

Soft ghosting stems from a lack of emotional maturity to provide definite closure, wherein they end up keeping the other person hanging on.

In their defense, they argue that they are attempting to mitigate the pain that comes with ending a relationship by not outright neglecting the person they’re communicating with.

Instead, they acknowledge them by offering a like or an emoji reaction. This way, rather than assuming disinterest, the other party might think that the connection naturally faded due to a lack of communication.

In some ways, it’s similar to avoiding taking responsibility for their role in the relationship’s conclusion.

For other soft ghosters, however, communication becomes a game where the “loser” is the last person to send a message, while they—the ones who provide insubstantial replies—are the “winner.”

From their perspective, this grants them a sense of control over when the relationship ends or resumes.

Meanwhile, for those who have been soft ghosted, they find themselves in a puzzling situation. They remain uncertain whether to give the other person space or to send another message.

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How to Deal with Soft Ghosting

Being soft ghosted could leave you feeling emotionally restless. To avoid such situations, try addressing soft ghosting early on in your relationship.

1. Recognize the Pattern

Unlike pure ghosting, which occurs abruptly, a soft ghost starts slowly, gradually leading you toward the end of the relationship. Often, it begins with delayed responses before shifting to one-word replies.

Recognize this pattern and contemplate it. You can also ask your loved ones whether they believe you’re experiencing soft ghosting.

2. Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

While you might notice patterns that seem like soft ghosting, avoid hastily jumping to conclusions.

In today’s achievement-driven world, people can be busy pursuing education, careers, and other aspects of their personal lives, leaving little time for lengthy conversations.

One way to test whether you’re experiencing soft ghosting is by asking a question that encourages the other person to share something about themselves or make future plans.

Soft ghosters often respond half-heartedly and make excuses or ignore plans. On the other hand, those genuinely engaged would give you meaningful answers and try to fit you into their schedules, so you can have more quality time offline.

A woman who looks disappointed after being soft ghosted
Guard your heart. Be aware of the patterns that can lead you to being soft ghosted.

3. Take a Hint

If you ask them and their response is similar to the example above, take the hint.

They might not be as invested in the relationship as you are, and their lack of replies could be their way of distancing themselves from your life.

In this situation, try to reach out and hear their reasons. If they refuse to provide you with any or are refusing to acknowledge their behavior, avoid begging them to stay or becoming overly emotional in your messages. Instead, bid them farewell and grant yourself the closure you need.

This can be particularly challenging if you’ve been in a relationship with them for a substantial amount of time and have become more attached compared to the first few months of dating.

However, realize that continuing to invest in a person who isn’t putting effort into the relationship may no longer be worthwhile.

4. Don’t Blame Yourself

Soft ghosting indicates that the issue in the relationship is more about them than about you.

This is because they could have chosen to consider your feelings, communicate their issues about you, and take responsibility for their desire to end the relationship. Instead, they’re seeking an easy way out or trying to exert control over the situation.

With that said, avoid blaming yourself as to why your relationship ended.

5. Invest in Someone Who Cares

Instead of trying to please them or making yourself look desperate for their replies, accept that you don’t share the same level of passion for the relationship.

You might think that they would feel bad for soft ghosting you; however, most people who engage in this behavior find pleasure in knowing that you crave their attention.

Rather than focusing your time and effort on someone who treats you like a convenience, find a partner who genuinely cares.

There will always be someone who respects and values you as a partner. However, you won’t be able to find them if you refuse to move on from a soft ghoster.

6. Calling Them Out is Optional

It can be tempting to call out the soft ghoster for their behavior, hoping they’ll provide you with closure and a proper explanation.

However, it’s unlikely that they will give you what you want.

In this case, knowing that they don’t want to pursue the relationship anymore is enough.

Grant yourself the closure you need by sending them a farewell message containing all of your thoughts and feelings. Then, delete their number or block them so you won’t find yourself returning to the relationship with just one response from them.

A happy couple
Want to know how to deal with soft ghosting? Recognize, take action, and give yourself closure.

Counter the Haunting Soft Ghost Trend

Soft ghosting in friendships or in dating leaves the victim feeling anxious and lost within the relationship.

To guard yourself against such situations, refer to our recommended methods for dealing with a soft ghost.

Moreover, counter this haunting trend by practicing healthy communication and promoting accountability in your relationships, in the hope that others may follow suit.

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