‘Polter-ghosted’ The new Halloween dating term for ‘no-show dates’

‘Polter-ghosted’ The new Halloween dating term for ‘no-show dates’
New dating trend is like ghosting — but crueler and more passive-aggressive
New York Post / VideoElephant

We've all heard of the term "ghosting" when it comes to online dating, but ahead of Halloween there's a new term that's been coined by Bumble called "Polter-ghosting."

Described as one step further than your typical online ghosting, Polter-ghosting refers to the act of not showing up for a planned date, something that Bumble is now officially banning from the app.

Not replying to messages and seemingly disappearing into thin air are ways in which someone will ghost daters online, but Polter-ghosting is a real-world scenario whereby someone is ‘stood up’ for an IRL date.

So what's the meaning behind the name?

Well, ghosts exist in the elusive spiritual world only, while Poltergeists are known to be mischievous in causing real-world disturbances and disruptions.

This year, it looks like daters have had enough ghosting of any kind as 25 per cent of people planned to say goodbye to ghosts* and are no longer willing to date someone who leaves them on ‘read’, never mind anyone who stands them up.

Bumble is clamping down on no-show dates aka polter-ghosters.iStockphoto by Getty Images

To try and safeguard daters from being polter-ghosted, Bumble has updated its community guidelines to have a strict line on no-show dates.

Intentionally standing someone up for a planned date now falls under ‘Bullying and Abusive Conduct’, which people on the app can choose to report. If someone is reported multiple times, they may be banned from the app.

"The act of ‘Polter-ghosting’, or intentionally not showing up for a planned date, is not okay," Bumble’s Sex and Relationship Expert, Dr Caroline West said.

"But fortunately for those using dating apps, Bumble is ahead of the curve and already putting a stop to it with its updated Community Guidelines.

"Now, if someone consistently doesn’t show up for dates, they risk being reported and banned from the app.

She added: "Being stood up on a date can really knock someone’s confidence in a big way - it’s a horrible feeling that no one should have to experience”.

To help singles cope with being polter-ghosted, Dr Caroline West has the following advice:

  • Channel your own energy:It’s Halloween, so naturally there are plenty of devils, demons and polter-ghosts trying to interrupt your good time - don’t let them. A polter-ghost’s energy reflects more on them than it does on you, so it’s important to remember that. Whilst it’s hard to keep that mindset when it’s happening, focusing on yourself, with a little bit of salt over the shoulder, can keep the polter-ghosts away.
  • Every trick needs a treat: Chances are, you’re already dressed up and ready to have a good time by the time you realise you’ve been polter-ghosted. Whether you’re at a bar, restaurant or on an activity date, there’s nothing stopping you still enjoying yourself. If someone has played a trick on you, you deserve to give yourself a treat.
  • Get polter-ghost busting!:Bumble’s community guidelines only work if people report bad behaviour they experience. If this happens to you, become your own polter-ghostbuster, make sure that you get your revenge, and help protect other people by using Bumble’s report function.

*Based on a survey commissioned by Bumble with Censuswide of 8682 General consumers (18+) across the UK, USA, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Singapore in May 2023.

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