Q: I’ve been on Bumble and Hinge for a few months now, and I’ve matched with several people that I liked. We always talk for a while, and it seems like things are going well, until out of nowhere, they stop responding. I’m usually too embarrassed to shoot them another message after a few days, so I just unmatch them and move on. I don’t really want to overthink it.
There’s also been a few times when I go out to meet up with someone on a date, and then I get ghosted. I won’t lie—when that happens, I feel pretty terrible about myself and have considered deleting my dating apps several times. Having a profile is fun, but other times, I wonder why I’m even trying. How do I deal with being constantly rejected by people that I’m interested in? And am I doing something wrong?
A: Coping with rejection is never easy—and it’s completely normal to be upset about being ignored or stood up for on a date. Ghosting someone isn’t socially acceptable, or okay, but it’s an easy way to avoid telling someone that you’re no longer interested in them. That’s probably what your matches have been doing.
Coping with rejection on dating apps might be easier with a little awareness about the platform that you’re using, as well. Research shows that ghosting is quite common (as many as 80% of dating app users have been ghosted), so it’s nothing to take personally, even though it does feel personal. Electronic communication just makes it easier to ignore others, and dating apps can be quite fast-paced, too. In the beginning phases of seeing someone, you’re likely not the only person that your matches are talking to; you’re also not the only one that they’ve ghosted.
Especially when romantic relationships are involved, we want to find acceptance and understanding from others. But dating takes a fair amount of vulnerability and resilience. Some ways of coping with rejection on dating apps can include:
- Evaluating your perspective: To borrow one of the core principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), recognizing harmful states of mind is essential to nurturing healthy emotions and decisions. A positive way of coping with ghosting might be to consider that those people are weeding themselves out—someone who’s willing to ghost you instead of telling you that they’re not interested isn’t someone you’d probably benefit from dating in the long run.
- Having patience: In larger cities (and depending on your dating preferences), there are literally thousands (if not millions) of profiles to match with. If you’re looking for someone to date seriously, or even casually, it may take some time. Dating apps also use specific algorithms to present your profile to other users. The right person may not have even seen your photos or read your clever bio yet.
- Putting your dating apps on the back burner: The idea of meeting someone in public may seem daunting, socially awkward, or even impossible. But it’s not unheard of. Instead of sitting at home and waiting for a breathtaking potential partner to match with you, you could join a new club, get coffee and stroll through a local park, or hit up a bookstore or music venue for a change in perspective. Even if Mr. or Mrs. Right doesn’t happen to waltz in, just changing our environment is often enough to temporarily break us free from unpleasant states of mind.
Modern dating is competitive, nerve-wracking, and can be frustrating. But it can also be enjoyable, rewarding, and successful. More and more people are meeting their partners online, and even casual dating can be fun with apps like Bumble and Hinge. You wouldn’t let a rude Twitter user ruin the entire app for you—so why let someone who ghosts you on a dating app do the same?