Ghosting, Icing, & Simmering

Are you familiar with ghosting, icing, and simmering? If not, we’re going to look at these terms, why to stop doing them if you’re a culprit, and how to deal with the emotions of having them done to you. Sound good?


I’ve actually had a pretty good experience overall with the online dating thing. Follow a few simple rules and you’re golden.

But, despite how great some of the people I meet are, I can see why they’re still single. As always, it boils down to the simple adage “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done the online dating thing, but figured I’d try it again while I was settled for a bit. Things were going good. At least I thought they were going good.

…but then one girl just stopped responding. Normally, a response came within the day… then all of the sudden, nothing.

That’s when I found out about three *new* ways to say “I’m not interested” without actually saying “I’m not interested.” I’m sure these things have been around for longer than relationships, but it seems technology makes it easier to pull off – and thus more enticing.

Enter ghosting:


Ghosting is simple. The other party simply becomes a ghost. They stop responding to calls, texts, or online messages. I figure ghosting happens once you’ve already met the other person.

If someone just stops responding to your messages within an online dating site and you haven’t met yet. It’s probably one of three things:

  1. You’re really not that interesting to them.
  2. They’ve led you on for something a bit nefarious, whether that’s a scam or for their own ego.
  3. They’ve died.

Hey baby, do you ghost?

People “into you” don’t “just get the hint” when you stop responding. In some cases, they actually worry. If you’re someone that does the ghosting, consider stepping up a little and treating people with a bit more respect.

In the end, everyone wants to be respected. You’re not going to be respected if you don’t give a little respect to others. That’s just the way the world works.

Try something polite: I had a good time getting to know you, but I’m looking for something different.

It’s nice to have this done face to face, but text or message is really OK if it’s after a date or two. I’d even say three unless the “good stuff” had happened.

Been ghosted?

It sucks. It’s the gray area between anger and worry. Particularly if you really liked them. I feel for you. I quickly fell for a girl – which is not normal for me – and she ghosted. Sucked. Totally.

But, it’s not you.

That didn’t help, did it? What is real in this world is that someone who can’t send you a message letting you down isn’t someone you want to be with in the first place. How far do you want to go with someone unable to take responsibility for their own decisions?

In conclusion: ghosting is childish. Don’t do it. If someone does it to you, run!


My beautiful – actually quite stunning in precesense and mind – date reached out about five days after I left her a voicemail, saying she had gotten busy. A quick discussion with a buddy “in the know” led me to realize, I hadn’t been ghosted.

I’d been iced.

Icing isn’t the sweet stuff that you put on a cake; it’s when someone behaves very cool towards you. Responses come sporadically and will be more generic than specific. Trying to make plans will yield responses like “let me get back to you.”

You’re sweet and all…

Are you icing people? Stop. Really, not every guy or girl is a China Doll. It’s OK to play it like it is. Keep a good friend vs. just being a %$&#.

Try this: So, here’s the thing: I like you. I like that you _____, and you would probably be great to be friends with.

Warning: If they agree that friendship is cool, make the next four or five – YES four or five – connections be in groups. Test that friendship is going to work. Constant advances aren’t OK. If that’s what it turns out to be, bail.

Feeling cool?

The good news with icing is that the other person is kinda into you. They do like you. Otherwise, they’d ghost. Chances are, they aren’t so sure. That’s worth a little bit of effort, right?

Icing is kind of weird. People do get busy. But, for me, if someone wants to spend time with you, they make the time. At very least, an “I wish I could see you, but I’m booked” text will fill the gap.

Dealing with icing takes a bit of commitment. Give yourself a strategy and stick to it. Flex if you have a reason other than “I really like them.”

My strategy is 2/4. I’ll reach out twice, four days apart. So, if I reach out to someone – phone, text, email – and they don’t respond in four days AND I really like them, I’ll call – note: call – them and ask a hard “when can we get together again?” But, that’s it. With icing, that second call is going to go to VM. If they do answer, chances are icing isn’t what’s going on – something else is.

If that second call is met with something other than a “let’s get together x,” I’m out. Yeah, doing simple math, I give people eight days to show me their interested. If they can’t show some sign of interest in eight days, they really aren’t interested.

… and sometimes, they do show a sign.


This is the worst of the worst. Simmering is literally popping something on the back burner. You’re that something. You’re the other person’s plan B.

They’re looking for x and they might settle for you.

No one wants to be settled for, right?

If you’re a simmerer, just say you’re not interested. Maybe you kind of are, but do everyone a favor, just say you’re not. See, if you’re not interested, you can become interested. But, if you simmer someone, you’re just a $#&%.

Even if you think you have good intentions, you’re being a $#&%.

Don’t simmer. Please?

Losing steam?

When you’re being simmered, you have to be the strong one. That puts you in the awful position of having to bail on someone you actually like.

But, here’s the thing: you’re only around for their ego. Even if things would escalate to a relationship, chances are, you’re only arm candy for their ego. Like, brain-candy.

Don’t tell the simmerer, but the reality is quite simple: they’re just not ready for an adult relationship. In an adult relationship, you like someone and you want to give it a shot… or you’re not willing to give it a shot. Simmerers just aren’t willing to give it a shot.

Round Up

Dating – even online dating – has changed. I know I’ve been lucky to meet great people over the course of my years, but I’m still stuck on being respectful and honest.

Quick story:

I met a girl years ago online. A couple messages in, she tells me she’s started a relationship. I tell her all’s good and wish her the best.

Four or five months later, she messages me asking where I’m at. I tell her I’ve met someone I’m trying to sync with. She wishes me the best.

About two months after, I send her a message saying things didn’t work out. No expectations, just information. Following that message, I spent almost a year dating her. Honesty from the start. Integrity through the end. I have nothing but respect and compassion for “Pineapple Girl” and I always will. She was a great year of my life.

Isn’t that the story you want people to tell about you?

Finally, I cannot stress this enough: If someone has politely let you down, LET IT GO! The reason people ghost, ice, and simmer is to avoid crazy stalkers that won’t take no for an answer. Don’t be that guy / girl!