How many days of not hearing from someone you’re dating is acceptable, and how many days is ghosting?
When you meet someone and it seems like you’re both compatible and enjoying each other’s company, it’s likely that you slip into a routine of communicating more often, usually at least a few times every day or two. But if you ask a question or call them and it goes straight to voicemail, and you’re still waiting to hear back from them, is it possible they just got swamped at work, or is your intuition right to be worried? How long until you've been ghosted for sure?
If you’re wondering, “have I been ghosted?” keep reading, because this article will explain all.
How Many Days Is Ghosting?
The rules of modern dating are always changing, so how long is considered ghosting? A recent study of over 300 adults in the U.S. found that a staggering 72% of participants said they had been ghosted by a partner, while 64.5% reported doing the ghosting, and research shows that the trend of ghosting is on the rise. So, here’s how to know whether it has actually happened to you or if you’re overthinking it.
If you’ve been texting back and forth for a while now, multiple times a day, I can see why you might be concerned when suddenly you don’t hear from them for a whole day. But this is way too early to assume you’ve been ghosted.
People have sh*t going on and a life that is independent, from you. In fact, you should be worried when someone always texts you back instantly, answers all your calls and is always available to hang out, because this spells neediness and someone who doesn’t have anything better going on.
As time goes on, it’s important to be able to depend on each other, because this support actually strengthens your independence. But in the early stages of dating, you want to date a woman who has a full, vibrant life, a busy social calendar, and an amazing career. So cut her some slack. She might be having a no-phone day, getting stuck into a new project at work, or hiking a mountain somewhere for fun. Don’t jump to conclusions.
“Have I been ghosted if a full two days (48 hours) have passed by and I still haven’t heard from her?”
Maybe. But maybe not.
There are still a lot of plausible explanations for her silence. She could have come down with a bug and been too sick to even think about replying to her messages. She could have gone on a mini-road trip with her friends out of town, or been on a meditation retreat.
Again, if you were in contact regularly every day for a while, and have been seeing each other for a few weeks, I understand why you might be a little bit suspicious about what’s going on. But if she hasn’t given you any reason so far to doubt her character and her interest in you, then it’s worth giving her the benefit of the doubt. Resist the urge to send a follow-up text because you don’t want to seem needy. Let her get back to you in her own time.
How many days is ghosting?
One day = everything is fine.
Two days = resist the urge to panic, everything might still be fine.
Three days = you can consider yourself ghosted.
While everyone has their own baggage, emergencies, and other priorities, if someone is interested in dating you and progressing your connection, they will make time to respond to you out of respect.
Waiting three days is a fair amount of time and slack to give someone to do their thing and get back to you. But any more than this and you’re saying you don’t value or respect yourself or your time.
Any more than three days
If you haven’t been messaging very frequently, then waiting days or even weeks between texts may be normal for you. But at the same time, if the person was interested in pursuing things with you, they wouldn’t keep you waiting that long. It suggests that they’re only bothering to message you when they’re bored or have no other options available.
This is particularly true if your whatsapp message has been blue-ticked for days, you’ve been blocked, or every time you call it goes to voicemail (stop calling them!).
Don’t wait around for a text back - it’s time to pretend they’re gone and move on.
What if they’re still following me on social media?
The water starts to get even murkier when someone stops contacting you directly, but still follows you on social media and engages with your posts or views your stories. You might be lulled into thinking that she still cares about you, but don’t be fooled. This is common practice for ghosters. They remain in the background because they want to seem cool and casual as though nothing has changed, even though they’ve gone mute on you. Plus, some ghosters want to remain on your radar and take pleasure in knowing that they are still on your mind.
Time to block them, unfollow them (if you haven’t already), and move on. Or, if you can handle taking the high road, don’t block them and let them enjoy seeing you live your best life and show them what they’re missing.
Should I text them after being ghosted?
Now that you’re clear on how many days is ghosting, you probably have a good idea of whether you have been ghosted or not. If you have, is it worth reaching out one last time?
If you only just met this person and have gone on less than three dates, then no.
I’ve been there and made that mistake, and all it does is hand your power over to the ghoster, and make you appear needy/bitter/angry. You’ll either get no response again, a fake apology, or someone gaslighting you by saying something like, “we only went out, like, one time, why are you so pissed?”
If you have been dating them for a while, then it is reasonable to send a follow-up message after three days saying something like, “just checking in as I haven’t heard from you in a while. Is everything okay?” After this, the ball is firmly in their court. Don’t try to reach out again.
What if the ghoster comes back?
Not only do you have to worry about how long is considered ghosting to realize when you’ve been ghosted, but you also have to worry about ghosters resurfacing weeks, months, and even years later (yes, this really happens, and I know that for sure because it has happened to me).
What’s even more infuriating is they will pretend like nothing has happened. There will be no explanation, no apology, no nothing. Just a casual, “hey, how are you?” as if you’re old buddies who have lost touch for a while.
Second chances shouldn’t be doled out for free, they should be earned. If someone has done nothing to earn a second chance and the benefit of the doubt from you, then don’t give them it. Ignore this message, block their number (why didn’t you already?!), and have yourself a f*cking fabulous day.
They’ve ghosted you. Now what?
Okay, so you know a fair bit about how long to wait until you assume you've been ghosted, and you’ve realized you have in fact been ghosted. What happens next?
Research has shown that people who experience ghosting and breadcrumbing feel more helpless and lonely, which is why you’ve got to take control of the things in your life that you can control, and surround yourself with people who love and care about you.
The suckiest part of being ghosted is the lack of closure. This is what kills most of us about these almost relationships with people we never even knew well enough to give a sh*t about. We are left in this limbo where we don’t know what happened.
Did they fall off a cliff somewhere? Were they kidnapped? Did they find out they had a terminal illness? Chances are they’re just fine, living their life, and just didn’t care enough to give you a text back. It’s emotionally immature and a coward’s way of treating people. The silver lining is they showed their true colors sooner rather than later. Imagine being in a full-blown relationship with this person. That’s terrifying.
I’d like to say that it won’t happen again, or that there’s something you can do to avoid it happening again, but unfortunately, that would be a lie. It happens a lot, and it always sucks. But at least you’ll be prepared for it if it does happen again, and you’ll have a better idea of where you stand and what’s normal and what’s not.
I’d also like to say that you deserve so much more, but you should know that already. So mind-dump this person out of your brain, focus your attention on all the good things in your life and move on.