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Forums » RP Discussion » Practice Avoiding Ghosting Others

Many people here are upset by ghosting (when an RP partner vanishes without explanation or farewell), but because of the varied reasons why a person might ghost (many of them entirely unintentional and some even frighteningly necessary!), shaming those who do it won't really help anyone. Threads for learning to deal with the feelings have cropped up before, but I wanted to try this little experiment with a more proactive approach.

I would like people to use this thread to practice both checking in and asking to drop an RP. It doesn't have to be for a real RP you're in right now - in fact, I'd prefer you to practice this while imagining fake RPs and fake situations (but it's okay if you're practicing for a real one, so long as you don't share anything to personal or identifying). It's a place to consider things you might say for situations that might come up. You can explain your imagined situation if you'd like, or just post what you would say in it.

For example, if I wanted to drop an RP, I might explain...

Example requests to end
  • I'm sorry, I'm feeling overwhelmed with things going on right now, and I don't think I can continue this game.
  • Hey, I have a lot going on right now. Would it be okay if we shelf this RP, and maybe at a later point we can discuss if we want to try to continue it?
  • This is an interesting concept, but I don't think our styles really mesh. If you really like the concept too, maybe we can both take our ideas of it and seek out other people we mesh with better?

On the other hand, if I think it's been an unusually long time since someone responded, I might check in with...

Example reminder check-ins
  • Hey there, it's been awhile since I heard from you! Just wanted to know if we're still doing this game.
  • Hey, I saw your post that you have a lot going on. Do you need some extra time to reply? Or would you feel better if we assume the game is over for now?
  • Hi there, just checking in. I've really been enjoying our game. I hope you are, too. If not, is there anything you feel needs to change about it?

With the check-ins, yes, I try to explicitly make ending or changing the game an option. This way, if a person isn't enjoying the game but is really nervous about saying anything, it might help reassure them to speak up.

And there's also times when I've just been taking too long, and I know it, but I don't actually want to end it. Then I might send something like...

Example delayed check-ins
  • Hey there, just want you to know I'm still alive! Sorry I'm taking so long. I'll try to have a response out soon, unless you have lost interest by now.
  • Sorry, I keep having trouble responding. I'm still excited about this game, though!
  • I want to let you know I haven't forgotten this. I've just been dealing with a block. I might take awhile yet, but if you're still willing, I'd like to keep this going.

Again, I want to leave an opening to close the game if they've lost interest or already found a replacement and are full (I'm usually a slow poster to begin with, so this might be when I'm running a month or more late already), so they don't feel pressured to take up something they aren't into. This check-in also serves both to let them know I'm still into it, and to see if it's worth my time and effort to still come up with a response.

Edit: What if you want to move forward with the game and are sure you're ready, but you're stuck? Beyond letting your partner know about more easily identified blocks, here's a link to a post with an idea for reigniting your own interest in a game you've ended up disconnected from.

And finally, if I get a message and I don't really want to play to begin with, I might explain...

Example refusals
  • I'm not accepting new RPs right now. Sorry, and good luck!
  • I'm not sure our styles will really mesh well. I wish you the best, though!
  • That take on the idea doesn't really appeal to me, sorry.
  • I'm glad you like my character. Do you have any ideas for what you'd like to do, or which of your characters you would like to play with mine?

That last one obviously isn't really a refusal, but... I get a lot of messages asking to RP with me or a given character, but as soon as I ask that, I never hear back. ^^;

So what sort of things might you say? What sorts of things would you want to hear as reassurance, encouragement, or acceptance?

It is okay to offer potential improvements to phrasing, but please listen if someone asks not to be critiqued.

If also blocked...
This is a tough spot. At this point, there is no way to communicate further, and trying to figure out a way to do so counts as harassment. Keep in mind, though, that this is not a reflection of you, merely an indication that the other person may have a lot of difficulty with communication (and there could be a number of reasons for this!), and it is not your job to fix that.

In another thread, I was really impressed with how someone expressed their mindset toward being ghosted and blocked.
Balor wrote:
It would be nice to just be able to communicate with people, but I know that some people don't know how or are too nervous to. That's alright, though. Different people have different ways of handling things. I can't really fault someone for not dealing with something the way I would, they aren't me.
Balor wrote:
Thank you. It's difficult sometimes, but I try to take other people's feelings or perspectives into account as much as possible. Not to say I'm perfect at it, there have been plenty of times in my life when I've been too stubborn or upset. But I've been working to improve, and make myself a better person.

Not sure about doing this publicly? The folks listed below have kindly opened their inbox to this practice, so you can PM them instead. (You can also just ask your friends!) When you send them a message, please first tell them why you are messaging them and confirm they presently have time for it. Please specify with them whether you are practicing writing and sending it only; would like critique (which you have the option to incorporate or reject depending on what suits you); or would like them to pretend they are the actual recipient and respond accordingly. Folks with open inboxes include...

Let's see if we can build up even better communication in our beautiful community!
Zelphyr Topic Starter

I wanted to go ahead and have a nice separate spot to say:

If you are kind in turning down or ending a game, or any of this stuff, and the person responds really rudely, it is okay to report them. Seriously, one of the real, completely official rules of this site is be nice. It's one thing to have boundaries and take care of yourself, or even to politely make suggestions or politely end something, and it's another thing entirely to be rude about it.

Reporting someone does not give them any automatic "strike." In fact, reporting on RPR is encouraged even if you're unsure if something is breaking a rule, or if you're simply worried about someone's wellbeing. All reporting someone does is let a mod know they should take a look and review the issue, and decide from there if action needs to be taken.

The mods are actually very forgiving, but in a proactive manner. A person who has broken a rule will usually simply be reminded of the rule on a first strike. Depending on what it is, the mods sometimes elaborate a little to ensure the person understands what happened. I've actually reported things before just because I was confident that the mods would explain the issue better than me or probably anyone else.

I've messed up too. The mods have even called out Kim herself, the admin! They're here to help us all to have the best experience we can. Seriously, we have some super cool mods.

You are awesome in writing this post. A lot of people have problems that are along the lines of ghosting and it is way beneath awareness.
Wow thank you for this forum

i am a person who gets easily nervous when i want to stop a rp . Most of the time i end up ghosting this forum is seriously helpful!

Also apolgize to people who i have ghost
I forgive you

Incredible idea for a thread nova! I want to try!

Hey, I'm sorry to say this but I don't think our rp is going anywhere and I'd like to end it. I do like your writing style, though, and if you're willing to consider it I would be willing to discuss ideas of another rp with you? Please let me know what you think!
Zelphyr Topic Starter


I tried to make the first post a little less of a textwall. ^^;

I look forward to seeing more practice posts in here! As more people post their versions, I think others might start feeling more at ease joining in. And the more we practice, the better we'll get at it for when we need to do it for real!
Hey, great thread! Just wanted to add an additional tip I have found useful. When starting a new RP, I like to start with explaining my own habits when it comes to replying, to avoid as much confusion as possible. Like starting of with saying for example:

- I tend to get really focused on one or two rp’s at the time, so don’t be concerned if you see me replying a lot to another rp but not ours.
- I often read private messages at work when I don’t have time to reply and then forget I ever got them, if you feel I am ignoring you, please just remind me, I promise it is not on purpose
- I really do not mind if you have been away for a month or two, I know life can get busy, and I rarely loose interest in a good rp. Do not feel afraid to contact me again about continuing the rp, I will most likely say yes

Just things the helps you feel reassured about your rp partner from the start, even if you don’t know each other yet.

I will also add that a little encouragement here: If someone has ghosted you or the other way around, it can be easy to hold grudges or feel awkward around that person in chats etc. Or it might be someone you would like to try again with, but the awkwardness of a ghosting is keeping you from it. If you are in the position, I encourage you to grab it by the horns and just contact the person, calmly and nicely explaining how you feel about it. As Novalynn mentioned, often it is not done on purpose, whoever ghosted is probably sorry and whoever you might have ghosted would probably really appreciate the consideration of an explanation or an apology. I think we have all been on both parts of that story at some point, so most people will understand!
-Hiya again, fair warning: I wont be able to respond for quite some time. I'm as interested as ever, I just have ….seal things, going on. Feel free to do something better with your time if you don't care enough anymore! Thanks for reading!
-Ah, I don't really think I can start a roleplay with you, because we don't have compatible characters. I'd love to just chat though!
-Beep Beep lettuce *Yeets away for eternity and more* (Remove yourself from the chat swiftly after)
Zelphyr Topic Starter

Any time you're not sure, it's good to take a moment to consider how what you say might be taken. How would you react if someone used the same phrasing with you? Since we're all RPers, how do you think others might respond to the same words? If it doesn't seem quite right, what happens if you try different words or phrasing that can mean the same thing, but that might have a different feeling?

An example off the top of my head (that's unrelated to RP stuff in general):

When I mention being bothered by something, I personally don't like the phrases "welcome to my world" or "join the club." While I know it's meant to be a "I am familiar with that issue and understand" sort of thing, it just rubs me the wrong way and makes me feel like I'm being treated as new to an experience that I've probably been dealing with for a long time. To me, it feels dismissive and, depending on the tone, a little aggressive or mean. But phrasing it as, "I know that feel" or "I get that" or something like that, then I feel understood, even if the person doesn't want to talk/hear further about it.

And we're always getting better. Remember: just because you made a mistake or didn't know better before, doesn't mean you can't do better now! :)

Good thread! Some really good thoughts and methods shared here. Having been both a 'ghoster' and a 'ghostee' here in RPR, and on several other sites before, I have some thoughts on thissubject.

The common courtesy for anyone who doesn't want to continue in an RP for whatever reason is to let them know. But sometimes it just doesn't happen for many reasons. One is the possible conflict it may cause. I have experienced some harsh criticism after politely explaining I wouldn't be able to continue an RP. I thank them and I tend not to reply again if the response is harsh. Usually it is taken well, and sometimes we have a 'post-mortum' discussion on the RP about what worked and what didn't and how the writing styles meshed.

This leads to the "tone" of the typed word and can be perceived. Recently I was informed by one of my writing partners that they were not going to continue with our RPs and wished me the best. It was straight forward and polite, even if it did seem somewhat abrupt, but I was grateful they notified me as I was working on replies and the notice allowed me to put my efforts into other things. It did leave me wondering why as we had fairly open and honest OOC communications up until then, but at the end of the day nobody really owes anybody else an explanation for the actions they take. When this happens I only assume it is in their best real life interests and leave them alone.

Which brings me to my own 'ghosting' of people . When 2019 hit, I came into a rough creative patch and couldn't put together much more than short paragraphs. This style worked with a few of the people I was writing with as it was the style of RP, but the multi-para and novellish RPs suffered. A couple I felt, and feel bad about because I initiated the RP and they put a lot of time and effort in writing. As a side, I've been accused of 'ghosting' when I didn't reply in a couple days. As much as I would like to sit at my computer or be on my phone 24-7 rp'ng, it isn't happening.

I do have to mention the worst kind of ghosting. That is when an RP seems to e going really well and the writing meshes and a story is being written, them one day you log in and find a line through your co-writer's character name. It's happened a couple times over the last year to me. Again, it is what it is and done for reasons unknown, but I do spend a moment wondering why. I then take the story and make it part of my character's history.

Anyway, I'm kind of meandering here. I may have more to say, and I will be reading everyone's input and discussion.

Edited because I have more to say ... that this topic is somewhat related to the Enjoyment vs Obligation thread in this forum. The crux of the biscuit is that we all RP for enjoyment, but sometimes we get so heavily involved that we invest a lot into a story, and we lose our muse or feel lacking in creativity, we force to write something out of obligation to the other writer and their effort put in to the story. It really isn't all that enjoyable to do, and the end product maybe somewhat sub-par in its quality. The feeling of obligation is likely one of the major factors of why many 'ghost'. Another reason that ghosting happens is because people get banned or suspended for a period of time and can't communicate with their partners.
When it comes to people I'm new to meeting or haven't spoken much to ooc even though we rp it's harder. I'm more nervous. So I tend to be extra nice and my reasons are a but longer.

Hey, I hope you're doing well! Unfortunately as much as I enjoy our characters I'm going to need to end the RP/s that we have going currently. I have enjoyed knowing you and being your writing partner so I hope you find other stories that you enjoy. Maybe we can write something else together in the future :)

And another option.

Hi! I apologize for the wait in my reply.
I have to be honest and say the RP isn't working out for me and I feel I'm trying to force a reply out. I think it would be best to end it. No hard feelings I hope, and have a good rest of your day/night!

When it comes to people I'm friends with and have been rping with for years it's easier. I can just say 'hey our character x character rp isn't working out for me anymore and I'd like to end it.

Or sometimes 'restart' it. If I like the idea and characters but feel like something went south and could be fixed if we restarted the rp. I only have a few long time partners who are comfortable with the idea of restarting an RP and redoing it to see if that helps.
I just came across this and find that this is a very helpful format to aid communication. Is there a way that this can be pinned for future reference and not lost in the shuffle?
Zelphyr Topic Starter

If the mods find it worth pinning, I am 100% okay with that. I know that even subscribing isn't super helpful if something isn't being responded to. ^^;

Well worth a pin and discussion.

I’ve managed to prevent most of my good RP partners from ghosting me. I know I was considered a ghost around the first of the year when I had no time to be in here. Fortunately most of the good RPs carried over.

Good OOC comms. Use it!
You can go ahead and add me to the 'Can be Messaged' list. :)

I highly approve of a thread like this, as both someone who has ghosted in the past, and been ghosted on.
icyrosyseal wrote:
-Hiya again, fair warning: I wont be able to respond for quite some time. I'm as interested as ever, I just have ….seal things, going on. Feel free to do something better with your time if you don't care enough anymore! Thanks for reading!
-Ah, I don't really think I can start a roleplay with you, because we don't have compatible characters. I'd love to just chat though!
-Beep Beep lettuce *Yeets away for eternity and more* (Remove yourself from the chat swiftly after)
I figured since you didn't say you weren't open to feedback, I might offer a suggestion or two. And keep in mind, my thoughts on this are entirely subjective so I don't mind if you take my words with a few healthy grains of salt. :D

Your first one reads as mildly passive-aggressive or sarcastic to me. The attitude of 'do something better with your time' or 'don't care enough any more' I think is what gives that feeling to me--it implies that you already think/feel that they want to end it, whether or not they have said a word on the subject.

The second one I can tell, is just the kind of thing I would perfectly understand, no criticism for that one! :)

The third one just confuses me, lol, and it sounds a bit like you might be mocking them. I understand you're going for humor here, but humor can be very, very subjective.
Zelphyr Topic Starter

I'm just pushing this back up. :)
Kim Site Admin

Novalyyn wrote:
I'm just pushing this back up. :)

It's pinned so no need ;)

Kim wrote:
Novalyyn wrote:
I'm just pushing this back up. :)

It's pinned so no need ;)
I was going to say that last night but decided not to.
Lol, if I'd been more awake I'd have said something similar.

It is a nice thought, nonetheless. ^_^

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