Commiserations to West Elm Caleb
We’ve all been there: you’ve double-texted, triple-texted, even considered the indignity of a fourth consecutive text. You’ve convinced yourself that they’ve either lost their phone, been abducted by aliens, or died. You’ve spent entire evenings stalking all their social media accounts and checking to see if they’ve updated their dating app profile. Still, no reply. You’ve been ghosted.
Anyone who has been ghosted knows how devastating an experience it can be. While being dumped is obviously painful, there’s comfort in knowing that your relationship is definitely over and the other person respected your feelings enough to be honest with you. There’s no such closure with ghosting.
A world without ghosting might sound like a fantasy – but a new feature on Gen Z dating app Snack hopes to change that.
Exclusively available to users aged between 18 and 35, Snack is a dating app which launched last year. It’s sort of a cross between TikTok and Tinder, as users connect with each other through sharing and engaging with video content.
“This generation does not currently have a dating app that caters directly to them. By making the app exclusive to 18-35 year olds, it allows us to lean in and super serve this demographic with an app that speaks their digital language and ensures the best matches possible,” says Snack’s CEO Kim Kaplan, former Senior Executive at Match Group and Plenty of Fish. “We’re excited to roll out new features that will make it even easier for Gen Z to connect with each other in a way that’s more relevant to their generation so they can date by their own rules.”
A new anti-ghosting feature launched on the app this week, which Snack hopes will "bring some basic manners and decency to the dating app game." This new feature means that singles will now get reported and subsequently “deprioritised” if they ghost too frequently. Essentially, that the more you ghost, the less your profile gets seen. It's bad news for all the West Elm Calebs of the world.
Is ghosting really so endemic that we need anti-ghosting tech? The short answer is: yes. A recent study from Plenty of Fish found that 78% of singletons had been ghosted at some point.
Olivia James, a London-based therapist, explains why ghosting is on the up. “Many people find hearing and saying 'no' excruciating. Sometimes we can’t quite articulate why someone gives us 'the ick'. Sometimes we are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or we fear there will be repercussions,” she explains. “Gen Z and Millennials also behave differently than earlier generations and there's more of a hookup culture where people and relationships are considered more disposable.”
“Almost everyone has deep wounds about not being loveable and attractive enough,” James continues. “Ghosting and being ghosted can create more of these insecurities.” As dating in the 21st century is a minefield already, the news that Snack is trying to make things easier for singletons is undeniably refreshing.
But is ghosting always a bad thing? James points out that in some circumstances, ghosting can be necessary. “There are serious security considerations here too,” she says. “Some people get quite nasty and vindictive if they are rejected. Some people on dating apps are abusive or obsessive and it's essential that we can report them and cut off all contact to make sure this doesn't escalate into stalking and physical violence.”
Of course, honesty is usually the best policy, but it’s naïve to assume that it’s straightforward or possible to be open and communicative 100% of the time. As James points out: you shouldn’t hesitate to cut contact with anyone who appears abusive.