Our generation’s hottest phenomenon is not the dog filter on Snapchat—it is ghosting. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here is the definition straight from Urban Dictionary:
“The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.”
Even if you didn’t know there was a term for it, we have all been there—you go on a few dates, everything seems great, but suddenly you never hear from the other person again. It is impossible to know what you did wrong—was there just no chemistry? Did you have something stuck in your teeth? You will never know. Pretty soon, or maybe not so soon if they were especially cute, you forget about the other person.
Ghosting is a tactic that is especially pervasive in our generation, and it is, in some ways, directly correlated to just how much we text. There is no excuse for not texting back, since we are all constantly on our cell phones. If they are not texting back for days, it is pretty obvious you’re being ghosted. Who does not check their phone for three days?
Ghosting is a growing part of young-adult culture across the nation, but seems to be lacking here at Lawrence. I think there are two reasons behind this. First, Lawrence is made up of what I believe to be a bunch of pretty nice kids. As a collective group, we tend to be self-aware and progressive regarding social issues, so maybe we have just rejected ghosting flat-out due to its inconsiderate nature. The other, and maybe more plausible explanation, is that Lawrence is just too small for this behavior to thrive. You couldn’t ghost someone if you tried, because you’re bound to run into them everywhere on campus—at the café, in your biology lab or sitting next to you at a convocation.
If you hang out with someone a few times and decide you are just not feeling it, sooner or later there is going to be a conversation. It might just be a quick, “Hey, are we good?” To which you’ll inevitably reply, “Yeah, we’re good!” even though you are definitely not good and you are pretty sure they took your favorite hoodie—but you do not have any concrete proof. Maybe, you’re particularly mature and sit the other person down and say you still want to be friends. That is always nice. And by nice, I mean terrible, because you two will not ever actually be friends—you will just have to acknowledge each other and engage in terrible small talk whenever you see one another.
Ghosting gets rid of the burden of having any of these probably awkward interactions. But this easy trick to avoiding social responsibility just does not work at Lawrence. You might try, but sooner or later you will have to deal with your regretful one-night stands.
One of my professors quoted the statistic that about 11 percent of Lawrentians get married to one another. At a larger school, perhaps you could end a relationship through simply ghosting. At Lawrence, I guess we just stick together until we are married.