The Brief: The modern dating term "soft ghosting" refers to a more subtle and passive form of ghosting.


No, “soft ghosting” isn’t a spooky addition to the soft boy/soft girl archetypes. Rather, it’s a way of ceasing communication in a relationship without completely ghosting someone. By “liking” someone’s text but not actually responding to them, a soft ghoster either forces them to double text or cease communication. This way, they avoid outright ignoring someone but still indicate that they’re not interested in continuing a conversation.

The term is often used in reference to casual romantic relationships, but soft ghosting can take occur in any type of relationship.

Soft ghosting is based on a certain level of texting literacy and nuance. While this behavior certainly could be an intentional way to hint that someone doesn’t want to continue a relationship, it is not necessarily the case every time someone “likes” a message without actually responding to it.

More generally, soft ghosting refers to texting in a way that is mostly passive. It could mean acting generally interested in a person but always saying that you’re unavailable when they ask to hang out. Soft ghosting can be intentional flakiness designed to indicate that you’re no longer interested, without hurting someone’s feelings by telling them directly or fully ghosting them.

This can be a manipulative behavior or simply a lazy and noncommital way to cease contact with someone. More so than traditional ghosting, soft ghosting can allow for the possibility of a future reigniting of a conversation or relationship.