I recently met a man that I am absolutely smitten with on a dating app, but I’m moving to another state later this month. We went on two dates, but now I’ve accidentally ghosted him because I don’t know how to tell him I’m leaving. Am I wrong?
Kate: It depends on what you mean by “wrong.” Dating apps have so eroded the etiquette surrounding casual courtship that I wouldn’t call it “wrong” to ghost a man after a couple of dates. (Ghosting, by the way, is when you purposefully or — in this case — inadvertently cut off communication with someone. I’m explaining this only because I used it during an interview once and my source had no idea what I was talking about.)
So, no. I don’t think you’re “wrong.” But just because something isn’t wrong doesn’t mean it’s polite. You say you’re smitten with this man, so presumably you like him and care, at least a little bit, about his feelings. It’s likely that he feels the same way, and it’s possible that he’s been left wondering where things went wrong. I do think a third date would be the perfect opportunity to explain the situation and leave the relationship on friendly terms.
That doesn’t mean you have to drag things out indefinitely. Based off your letter, it doesn’t sound like you have an interest in continuing things long-distance, and I’d tend to agree that it would be futile to commit to a relationship that’s only lasted a couple of dates. But one last meeting might be a chance to soothe any ruffled feathers and enjoy the company of a man whom you clearly like enough to regret ghosting.
If that’s out of the cards, I’d at least do him the courtesy of sending a message to explain why you dropped off the map. I’m sure he’d be flattered to learn you were smitten, and it’s an opportunity to leave the state with a sense of closure and zero lingering guilt over a relationship that might have been promising under different circumstances.
Allen: Short answer, no, you’re certainly not wrong. There’s not really a right or wrong answer to a situation like this. There are only actions and choices and then recourse to those actions and choices.
But, you have an interesting dilemma here. I get the sense that even by just asking this question, you might have a smidgen of regret. If that’s the case, it can never to hurt to un-ghost yourself and just be honest — tell him what’s going on in your life and why you ghosted. Who knows what could come of it?
When I moved for work in 2013, I told my current girlfriend, even though we weren’t dating at the time, and we chose to still try and stay in touch. We later started dating and doing the long-distance thing, which is challenging, but you get through it if the relationship is worth it. Later, she eventually moved to North Carolina and we’ve lived together ever since. If you like him that much, maybe he feels the same way. If you’re not interested in going all-in on the long-distance deal, which is certainly reasonable, then maybe you stay in touch casually and agree to see each other if one or the other is ever in town.
I guess my thing is, finding good people that we click with is hard. And I’m not sure if you’ve watched the news lately, but us men aren’t doing so great. So it might be worth taking advantage when you find one with whom you’re so smitten.
Now if you maybe aren’t as smitten as I’ve interpreted in your question, then by all means ghost away. While I’ve never ended up ghosting anyone, it is certainly a fine way to get out of a relationship you don’t want to be in. But, I wonder what the benefits of ghosting in this particular scenario were, aside from preventing a perhaps awkward goodbye conversation. I’d argue the benefits of having that conversation outweigh the benefits of not. And the worst thing that can happen from having the conversation is you guys never speak again, which is the same as it was when you ghosted him.
I’ve been sober for the last two years, but I’ve only recently felt ready to start dating again. Now, I’m not sure when it’s appropriate — or acceptable — to tell dates that I don’t drink. It’s especially hard in Frederick, where a lot of people suggest going to a brewery or a distillery as a first date. Should I tell them right away? Make excuses and tell them later? I don’t want to drive people away, but I also want to look out for my own health. Help!
Kate: Congratulations on your sobriety! It’s incredibly brave to enter recovery and to contemplate sharing that journey with another person. It sounds like you’re approaching the prospect of dating in a healthy way by prioritizing your own health and boundaries. I agree that it’s especially difficult in Frederick, where visiting new breweries could be a full-time hobby.
Based on your letter, I’m not exactly sure where you are in recovery. If you’re comfortable being around alcohol in social settings, I think it’s fine not to say anything about your sobriety on the first few dates. Hopefully, you won’t even have to make an excuse. I think it’s pretty rude to ask someone why they aren’t drinking, especially when you don’t know them very well. And on a first date? Kind of a red flag.
That being said, I’m going to offer what might be a controversial take. I think you should tell your dates that you don’t drink right away. I say that for a couple of reasons. One is that — as you mentioned in your letter — visiting breweries, wineries, and distilleries is a pretty common date idea in Frederick. And personally, I would be taken aback if I suggested it, only to find out that my date didn’t consume alcohol. Not because there’s anything wrong with not consuming alcohol, but because I’d rather know and be able to suggest an idea that we both would enjoy.
I also think that the decision not to drink is becoming increasingly common. People choose not drink for health reasons. People choose not to drink because it’s becoming increasingly well known that many Americans, in fact, do not consume alcohol in a healthy way. People choose not to drink because bars are finally taking non-alcoholic cocktails seriously. I have a feeling it might be easier than you think to tell people you don’t drink without getting into the details of your sobriety. Again, if they start interrogating you, it’s not a positive sign.
Honesty also seems like a good way to weed out potential bad dates. Do you really want to waste your time on someone who views your drinking habits as a cause for suspicion? Or sobriety as a deal breaker? Putting myself in your shoes, I wouldn’t want to waste a second on someone who saw my recovery as a red flag. It sounds like you’ve been putting in the work for yourself. You should share it with someone who’s more than willing to support you.
Allen: First of all, congratulations on your sobriety. That something you should be incredibly proud of. In regards to your question, your health comes first and any person you date should respect that or you should spend absolutely zero seconds of your time on them.
I wouldn’t recommend stating that you don’t drink as one of the first things you say to a new partner, but if it comes up naturally in conversation being honest is usually my go-to answer.
I’ve recently cut back on my alcohol intake in an effort to lose weight. It’s odd how many people question why someone else orders a water, or a soda as opposed to alcohol. Your drink order is not and will never be anyone else’s business. However, there’s an added challenge in dating if you can’t be around alcohol at all because of sobriety. That’s an admirable, but increasingly difficult effort in Frederick. You can’t go get a haircut in Frederick without being offered a beer.
But again, I would say honesty is probably the best course of action here. If you’re asked to go to a bar or a brewery or a distillery with someone you’re dating, and it makes you uncomfortable, then say so.
Your choice to look out for your health may end up driving people away, but anyone it drives away is a good thing. Do you really want to surround yourself by someone who doesn’t want you to look out for your health?
If you’re continuing to find people who don’t want to be with you because you don’t drink, it might be worth examining how you’re meeting folks. Spending time in coffee shops, or places that reflect your hobbies can be a great way to meet people that might have similar values as you.
If you’re active, maybe you join a biking, hiking or running club. If you’re a book nerd, maybe you join a book club. Even if you don’t find a romantic partner, at least you’re engaging in healthy activities and make some friends along the way.
My office is having problems. There’s a real lack of communication between managers and staff, to the point where some of my co-workers are quitting in frustration. Mostly problems with feeling under-appreciated, feeling as though concerns are going unheard, etc. We recently had a staff meeting and our management promised that things would get better. How do I make sure that happens, and convince my remaining co-workers to stick it out though the transition period?
Kate: This is hard to answer because I don’t know your management team or how long you’ve been dealing with these challenges. In terms of holding your bosses accountable, I would try to bring in a third party, if possible. Does your human resources department know what’s been going on? If not, I would schedule a meeting with them (bring your co-workers, if possible), and submit a formal complaint about the lack of communication and lack of response to staff concerns. Make sure to follow your company’s complaint policy precisely and ask your HR representative if you need additional details. Keep a copies of any official documentation. Then, keep documenting. Build a case that you can easily reference in the event that HR doesn’t address your concerns.
Depending on the severity of the issues, you might be able to file with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration or your state Labor Relations Board. But if the issues center more generally on low morale or malaise, it might work better to keep the lines of communication open with your management team. Tell them when things work, and when things don’t. Don’t be afraid to approach them with additional concerns. Keep in mind that frustration can be a two-way street, and ask if there’s anything you can do to help address problems as a team.
Your co-workers, on the other hand, have to make their own decisions. If you’re seeing clear evidence of change, and they’re asking for your honest opinion on whether they should leave, you can encourage them to stick it out. But a toxic workplace can be a tricky situation to solve, and you should honestly consider that it might get worse before it gets better.
Allen: This is a difficult one. As a relatively new manager myself, I’ve had similar challenges and have had to undergo significant self-reflection to see how I can improve to best help my staff. That said, there’s really no good answer other to wait and see if management proves to staff that it can make things better.
The most important thing from your end will be to ensure that your needs are always communicated to your managers. One of the challenges I’ve had in this role is that I will typically assume if people don’t have questions or don’t come to me with problems, then things must be going well. I (wrongly, it turns out) make this assumption because, that’s how I operate as a worker. I bring up my issues to my supervisor when I have them and try to get a resolution as quickly as possible. It hadn’t occurred to me until recently that employees may have issues they don’t bring up for whatever reason — be it they’re uncomfortable or discouraged or whatever else. So I’d encourage you to speak up, but also to ensure that your bosses are making the effort to check in. If not, then make it clear they haven’t shown the improvement that was promised, and what more needs to be done.
Ultimately, your co-workers have to do what’s best for them. And if they feel leaving is in their best interest, then pushing them to stick it out probably isn’t fair to them. I wouldn’t advocate, though, no matter how frustrated, quitting in frustration with no job to fall back on. If they’re that upset with management and want to leave, I would encourage them to search for different jobs that will make them happier. Then, if during that process, they begin to see a change in management that makes them happier in the job, maybe they’ll end up deciding staying is the best decision for them.
Follow Kate Masters on Twitter @kamamasters