Ghosting someone these days has almost become the norm rather than the exception. With so many online dating apps and people constantly on the hunt for the “perfect” person, many grow busy or disinterested when it comes to committing to plans together, choosing to ignore the person rather than communicate their feelings. That’s why so many people have fallen victim to a number of online dating terms we all know about.

Look, we get it. After all, not only have we been ghosted before, but we’ve ghosted others plenty of times, too, feeling like we have no reason to explain why we’re not interested in meeting up because a) we don’t really know the person, so why go into detail b) we just don’t care c) we’re not really interested or d) all of the above.

Regardless of your position or experience with ghosting someone, there’s a way to do it right without being a total dick. Sure, that might not matter to you in the end, but we believe in good karma, and when you’re ghosting on a regular basis and it’s causing other people to waste their own time, your’e doing it wrong.

We don’t want you to be a dick, so we’re giving you a few tips on how to properly ghost someone — you know, if you really don’t think you can muster up a good reason for breaking off plans.

What actually is ghosting someone?

Before we just jump into how to properly ghost someone, we think it’s important to understand the true definition of the dating act. That’s because, even though you may know you’re doing something a little shady, you may not know you’re actually ghosting someone, causing them anxiousness or worry.

According to a quick Google search of the term, ghosting is defined as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” So, yeah, we’ve all done this before.

Now that you know what ghosting officially is — and can admit you’ve been both a culprit and victim, presumably — here are ways to do it without burning bridges and being thought of as a total jerk.

Don’t give open-ended statements

It’s easy to come up with an excuse like being too tired to meet because of a crazy day at work, or some bogus “illness” that has you wrapped up on the couch. If you’re ghosting someone this way, though, you’re just making it harder for yourself in the end.

Rather than giving vague, open-ended statements, be more direct and detailed, telling the person that you’re just not looking for something right now, or that you’re trying to focus on other things that don’t include dating. They may get upset or roll their eyes, but, hopefully, they respect your decision.

Do it slowly

Unlike ripping of a band-aid, when ghosting someone, you shouldn’t just get it over with. Remember, there are feelings here, even if it’s nothing more than just a few conversations on a dating app or swapped texts. That’s why letting someone down easy and slowly is important — just remember not to lead them on at all.

You’re, presumably, telling this person that you’re uninterested and don’t plan on having any sort of relationship, so the least you can do is give them 10-15 minutes of your time to explain yourself and tell them your reasoning for breaking things off. Don’t get too detailed, but don’t just block them on everything without reason and think you’re doing them a favor.

Never give in or initiate contact

First off, never, under any circumstance, initiate contact with them if you’re not interested. It’s easy to fall into the whole boredom trap and reach out to someone you know might still be interested, but it looks desperate, can lead them on and plays with their emotions.

Second, there’s a good chance a person will try to change your mind about cutting things off; no one likes to be turned down. Hold firm to your decision, though, refusing to give in because you want to be the nice guy and not hurt their feelings. They may not understand, agree or want to accept your reasoning, but they will, hopefully, respect it. If they try to sway you in the different direction, though, remind them that you don’t think it’s a good idea, and, if they continue to persist, communicate appropriate actions — like deleting their number and/or blocking them, which should only be under extreme circumstances.

Offer to be friends instead

If, at the end of the day, you think that this is a person who might be better as a friend than someone worth dating, offer up the idea and see what they say. Sure, in the moment, they may tell you to fuck off and squash the idea, but don’t take it personally if that happens, they’re just letting their emotions get the best of them. Who knows? Over time it may be better that you two reconnect and build a friendship.