Is Ghosting Dead? New Data Shows People Prefer to Break Up in Person


Being ghosted is equal parts hurtful and confusing. Things seemed to be going well, but when you’re abruptly cut off from communication and never hear from the other person, you’re left wondering why, and whether there was something you had done to deserve an ending so harsh (you didn’t).

Truth is, relationships begin and end all the time, and in most cases, a conversation is usually deserved to ensure both parties can achieve closure and move on without baggage to hold them back.

Now, it would seem that people are finally ready to have those conversations in person, and are ready to leave the unfair trend of ghosting behind (thank goodness).

New data from OkCupid reveals that only 1% of users, in a survey of 25,000 people from around the world, would choose to ignore or ghost someone they are not interested in. We like those odds.

Instead of cutting things off in this way, a whopping 90% said they’d opt to break up with someone in person. Break-ups via text were favourable for 4% of people, while a phone call was the preference for 5% of people.

According to Melissa Hobley, global chief marketing officer and dating expert at OkCupid, this shift in accountability relating to break-ups is reflective of overall dating trends in 2020, however, is influenced by the types of users on the OkCupid platform.

She says that by opting for dating apps that better align with your relationship goals — say, if yours is to find a serious partner and settle down — then you could potentially avoid heartbreak by eschewing apps more commonly associated with hook-ups.

“Daters on OkCupid are higher-intent daters, meaning these people are the ones who take dating and relationships a little more seriously. Daters fill out 15 unique matching questions before they are even shown other people on OkCupid.

“The app by design tends to attract people who are looking for meaningful conversations and connections, making it a place where you’re less likely to be ghosted.”

She also adds that the challenges of the current climate may have had an influence on peoples’ ability to empathise with others.

“I think we have become mindful of what others may be going through right now, particularly during COVID-19, and as a result, I think daters have become more respectful of one another’s feelings.”

Another way COVID may be changing the dating landscape is by encouraging slower dating trajectories based off more meaningful conversations.

“Dating has slowed because of the pandemic and it helps that people have more time now to invest in their relationships. At several points during the pandemic, women on OkCupid have sent more intro messages than they did the same time last year, which shows that women are feeling liberated to be more active and engaged in their dating lives.

“The slowdown in dating has also led to real and deeper connections, as people are talking about the things that matter to them without the usual distractions or pressure to meet in real life.”

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