It might seem rude, but blocking a person from your life is becoming a necessary detox.When 27-year-old Pooja Shetty ‘swiped right’ on her dating app, it was based on an instinct. Given the elementary information available in most dating profiles, what triggered her approval was merely an impulse, like it usually is. Soon, numbers were exchanged and the conversation moved on to Whatsapp. “He seemed like a pretty sorted guy. He was funny and cool and the fact that he was really cute was an added bonus.

We got along like a house on fire, or so I thought.” Following a few days of flirtatious texting, he asked her out on a date and she agreed. The first one went well, and Pooja could barely conceal her excitement. A few dates later, when she felt things were escalating at a steady pace, it all came crashing down with no warning. “We were out for dinner, when he said he had to leave and abruptly left the restaurant, leaving me alone,” she remembers.

The following day, she texted him. First, a casual `what’s up’, then, the concerned ‘where are you?’. It took a few more messages for her to realise that none of them were getting delivered and that she had been blocked. When she called to confront, he didn’t answer. “It was one of the sh*ttiest feelings ever to not even know what went wrong. I really wish he had the b*lls to at least give me a justification for what went down that night,” says Pooja.

Ghosting is a 21st-century dating phenomenon -the practice of abruptly snipping all ties with the person you’ve been dating, chatting, sexting with. No reasons given, no ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ ritual, and hopefully no ping-pong of expletives between warring parties.While this could leave the ‘ghosted’ with much heartburn, anxiety and a feeling of rejection, for the ghost, it’s a snappy way of breaking up, minus all the drama.

Too quick, too soon
A common reason for ‘ghosting’ is when things move a tad too quickly. When 30-year-old Nisha Joseph hooked up with Nikhil Mathew on a dating app, it seemed like a match that would even win parental approval. “This app I’m using doesn’t let one see names and one has to tick a date based on photos and age alone. And I was very happy to learn that I had matched with a guy who happened to be a Malayali Catholic, like myself,” says Nisha, a travel writer. Two weeks of non-stop pings ensured the two were updated on each other’s schedule and also got to know each other well. And when they did eventually meet, conversation flowed smoothly. Nikhil told her all about his family and his work (gemology). “He seemed like a good guy from a good family and I felt we were getting along well. But after that one day, he never called or messaged me. If something bothered him, he could’ve shared it with me.Even if he was a non-confrontational guy, I feel I deserved an explanation,” says Nisha.

Right to ghost

 So when is ghosting justified? When is it just plain rude? For Esha, it’s as simple as black and white: “If your relationship lasts for a while, say six months, you have to confront your partner and discuss it before ending it. But if it’s restricted to online chats or even a single bad date, you don’t owe anybody an explanation.”
Many would pounce on ‘ghosting’ and judge it for being morally incorrect and insensitive. But for some and under certain circumstances, it’s a practical, painless way of ditching a bad date. No confrontation, no ugliness. Pulled off like a soiled band-aid. Besides, when dating apps offer the opportunity to dive into a relationship with the flick of a finger, getting out of it should only be as effortless, right?