In our Love App-tually series, Mashable shines a light into the foggy world of online dating. It is cuffing season after all.
Whether you’re the haunted or haunter, ghosting is now ubiquitous to the online dating experience.
A lack of closure comes with the territory of the paranormal activity, too, leaving many of us with a host of unresolved feelings that keep these deceased relationships from resting in peace. That’s why Mashable is proposing Ghost Exorcism Day, a holiday celebrated annually on Feb. 6 where you message one person that you either ghosted or who ghosted you, no matter how much time has passed since the haunting, to give their soul permission to pass on.
We’re not the first to invent a holiday to help address the woes of digital life. Ghost Exorcism Day is largely inspired by tech podcast Reply All’s brilliant Email Debt Forgiveness Day, which allows people to send one long overdue response to someone who’s been haunting their inbox. Similar to email, online dating can be a breeding ground for failed digital communication, which just might be solved with the right excuse.
That’s why Ghost Exorcism Day is not about revenge or even rekindling. Exorcisms are a purge, an occasion to let go of the unfinished business still tethering a specter to you. Whether you were on the giving or receiving end of the paranormal activity, the goal here is nothing more and nothing less than forgiveness.
That’s also why the holiday falls just before Valentine’s Day (which is generally when cuffing season comes to an end). For better or worse, love is in the air, and many might find themselves particularly preoccupied with past relationships. Maybe, just maybe, there’s enough love in the air to make us more compassionate about the uncertain rules and behaviors of online dating.
Ghost Exorcism Day enables the ghosted to be the bigger person by absolving the ghoster of their sins, while also providing themselves with the closure that the other party denied them. Meanwhile the ghoster gets to own up to their wrongdoings, face the consequences, and earn absolution by learning from past mistakes.
Here’s how to participate in Ghost Exorcism Day:
Summon the specter of a fling from beyond the grave, meaning someone who suddenly stopped responding to you with no explanation — or vice versa.
Send them one message on Feb. 6, alongside a link to this article for explanation.
If you were the ghosted, forgive them for doing you wrong. If you were the ghoster, apologize for doing them wrong.
Do not expect or demand a response. If you do get a response, keep the Rules of Engagement outlined below in mind.
If you want to share your experience, email firstname.lastname@example.org about your séance (or fill out the Google Form below). How did it make you feel? Did it make the haunting go away? What did you learn about the universal paranormal phenomenon of ghosting? We may highlight our favorite stories in a follow up article (with your permission).
Now, you may very well find that you’re still unable to reach the other side, your séance yielding only more radio silence. That can still make for a very productive Ghost Exorcism Day. If you’re still feeling haunted, try our optional ritual outlined below.
Never forget that an exorcism can summon powerful emotions. So these Rules of Engagement are designed to make your Ghost Exorcism Day one that heals instead of hurts.
Rules of Engagement
Before participating, ensure you’re in the right emotional state to handle any given outcome. If you were the ghoster, you may get a talking to (you may even deserve it). If you were ghosted, you might feel rejected again by a lack of response or hurtful reply. Remember this is about giving yourself closure, so a negative response is like the final nail in the coffin confirming this ghoul is better left in the afterlife of your dating life.
No baggage. Ghosts are incorporeal apparitions, so by definition they cannot be people who carry a lot of heavy baggage with them. That means no long-term exes or on-again-off-again relationships. Your specter should be someone who briefly floated into your life from the ethers of online dating before disappearing without a trace.
If the specter of your choice doesn’t want to engage, don’t insist. You get one message to offer forgiveness or apology. That’s it.
Ghosters, keep in mind that your apologies and interactions should focus on giving the other person what they need. This isn’t about you or excusing your behavior.
All interactions beyond the initial message should be approached with caution, calm, and consideration. You may run the risk of turning . This isn’t necessarily a recipe for disaster, in the right circumstances. But if it starts to take a turn for the cursed, restate your initial message, say your final goodbye, and block.
Optional ritual: Need an even bigger purge? Light a candle (maybe even some incense), put on , and sit cross-legged with phone in hand. Go through all your social accounts and contacts and, block, baby, block. With every virtual ghost you banish, repeat the phrase, “Ghost, bye.”
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