Bitter business bureau: An open letter to the boy who ghosted me

An iMessage "typing" bubble with the three dots replaced by sad ghosts.
Graphic by Natalie Bauer

Let’s start from the very beginning. 

Genetics, sophomore year. I thought you were so cute but was too afraid to do anything about it. For unrelated reasons, I ended up dropping the class and, with it, any hope of ever expressing my feelings. 

Flash forward to junior year. With a friend’s encouragement (and some heavy-handed wine service on her part), I decided to shoot my shot. Better late than never, I reasoned. We made plans to grab lunch, nothing serious.

The chat was nice (albeit a little vapid), but I didn’t get the chance to communicate my intentions. I messaged you after to tell you I was interested, at which point you told me you were seeing someone and wanted to keep things platonic. I respected that and of course did not press any further.

A month passed. My friend, the aforementioned enabler, ends up matching with you on Tinder. I inferred that you probably weren’t seeing someone at this point, though at the very least, I wanted to be friends since you seemed interesting enough. 

I invited you to hang out, but you deferred to the near-future, citing a pile of papers you have to grade as an excuse. Again, no problem.

Maybe a week later, I invited you to hang out again, under the impression that the papers were graded and the weekend would offer a much-needed respite from the stresses of the academic workweek.

You never opened the message. I didn’t realize until I started writing this letter that I sent that message exactly one year ago. 

A fucking year ago.

Maybe this wouldn’t have hurt me if we didn’t live in the same area, go to the same dining halls and attend the same social functions. I saw you everywhere, sometimes multiple times a day. A few weeks ago, you skateboarded past me. It was just the two of us, and I swear if your reaction was any indication, I wouldn’t have known I existed.

The thing is, I get where you’re coming from. Maybe you were closeted. Maybe you didn’t like me. Maybe you were just making excuses to avoid hurting my feelings. But ignoring someone’s existence is fifty shades of messed up. Deep down, I can’t help but hope you understand that.

I can acknowledge that I was very into you, sure, but I’m only human. I can only reasonably respond to what you give me. If somebody goes to a hospital drenched in fake blood, why should the doctors suspect that the patient is not truly wounded? In the same vein, if you say you cannot be more than platonic because you’re in a relationship, who am I to leap to the conclusion that you couldn’t be interested in me? 

If at any point I made you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. I am awkward as hell and will admit I lack subtlety at times. But that does not give you license to discard me when it’s convenient, especially when we go to a school with 1,600 students.

I contemplated reaching out to you directly but ultimately decided against it. Why give you another chance to ignore me? When I’ve got a platform, it’s irresponsible not to take full advantage of it.

Hell, I know this won’t change anything. You probably won’t even read this. But I’d be remiss not to address it, especially when ghosting is such a prevalent problem, at the 5Cs and beyond.

Ghosting doesn’t have to mean two parties were intimate. It means one party decided the other party wasn’t worth their time without having the basic human decency to let the other party know without cutting them off entirely.

The ghoster gets off with absolute impunity — it’s something people accept as a given. The ghosted is left with only their feelings, insecurities, perceived inadequacy and undesirability.

For all who have been ghosted: I see you. You are valid and deserve courtesy just as much as anyone else. 

And for the boy who ghosted me: Do better.

Cameron Tipton PO ’20 is a human with a lot of feelings. They have been listening to a lot of Baby Rose lately. 

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