Is ‘Caspering’ Really That Much Better than Ghosting?

3 min read
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Is Caspering a treat compared to ghosting or actually a trick?

Source: Israel Sebastian/Getty

Casper may be the friendly ghost as a cartoon character. But when it comes to dating, is “caspering” someone really that much friendlier than outright ghosting someone?

Ghosting is basically abruptly cutting off all communication with someone without offering any explanation. That person may be a friend, a potential date, someone whom you are dating, or even a significant other. It’s called ghosting because that’s what ghosts can do: disappear without a trace and without explaining why.

Ghosting can be very surprising and disconcerting to the person who gets ghosted, making that person wonder what the heck happened. It can also be a cowardly way to get out of an interaction or relationship, allowing the ghoster to avoid confrontation or, frankly, responsibility.

Caspering is essentially ghosting but more gradual. Rather than immediately disappear, you may slowly reduce communications with a person over time while keeping a “friendly” tone all along. For example, you may take progressively longer and longer to respond to messages. Or offer shorter and shorter responses each time. At the same time, you may agree to fewer and fewer invitations to do things.

The whole Casper thing can occur over the course of weeks, months, or even years. The key thing about Caspering, though, is that the intent from the very beginning is to ultimately cut off communications and disappear from a person’s life.

At first blush, this may seem more humane than ghosting, as a gradual weaning may appear to be gentler than a here-today-gone-tomorrow stoppage. It may make the Casperer not feel like a total bleep and perhaps instead only a partial bleep.

However, both the Casperer and the Ghoster are not being honest with the other person. If your intent is to disappear from the other person’s life without directly telling that person, you are still being ghosty in a more strategic and possibly more manipulative way.

Klaus Vedfelt/Getty

Relationships can be a waste of time when one person already has one foot out the door,

Source: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty

In some ways, Caspering can be worse than ghosting. Rather than ripping the Band-Aid off quickly so that the other person can heal sooner, Caspering pulls the Band-Aid slowly so that it yanks at every single individual hair on a person’s skin for an extended period of time. It draws out the deception and keeps both parties in a fake relationship for an extended period of time. It can give the other person false hopes for way too long and further delay the person from meeting someone who really, truly appreciates him or her.

You can rationalize Caspering all you want, claiming that it is better for the other person. But that can be like saying that you are going to kick someone in the groin slowly. In the end, the intent is still selfish. Capering and ghosting allow the perpetrator to avoid confrontation and a possibly difficult conversation.

Instead of ghosting or Caspering, here’s a thought: Why not just be honest and up-front? Give the other person the courtesy of knowing exactly what you think of him or her, what the rationale may be, and how you would like to end the interaction.

And do it as soon as possible. Don’t wait. Ultimately, no one should be around someone who doesn’t want to be around them. And eventually, whether you are Casper or just some other ghost, chances are that person will end up seeing right through you anyway.

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