When is it okay to fade out of a relationship?

Here’s the punch line, here’s the question:

Has anyone you’ve ever dated, just kind of disappeared? Like they stopped responding to your text messages and that’s how you “ended it”? “Ended it” is in quotes because if you end the “relationship” like this, you probably aren’t breaking up anything. It’s more like you probably just don’t ever want to see/kiss/have sex with that person again, ever. And in some cases that’s fine? Or naaaaah?

When is it okay?


No? and Yes? and maybe. And we’re gonna talk about. We gonna educate ourselves, and we’re never gonna do it again, and we’re gonna use the word gonna.

Let’s get started.

So the whole origin of this train of thought is because this KIND OF happened to me recently. KIND OF.

Remember a few blogs ago when the first date I was supposed to go on in months canceled on me and I came home and ate a California burrito and nachos and a blue slurpee and my feelings? If not, refresh yo self What’s the Rush?

Anyways, she canceled our first date, which, SEEMED legit at the time, but as time progressed and she didn’t respond, it became clear to me she was pulling the FADE OUT. The old disappearing act, where the other person just kind of stops respond to text messages.

Here’s the conversation:


But seriously where could she have worked that she “lost” something??? So since I got to Karl Strauss (where we were planning on meeting) on time, I was parked up at the bar and was texting my friend Vic explaining she lost something and might not be able to make it, we came up with some funny scenarios for where she could be working and what she could have lost.

what did sarah lose

These are just funny scenarios. I know where Sarah works, and it’s in an office. I actually know one of her co-workers, so I know for a fact she doesn’t have any of the above professions.

Okay back to the story:
Yes, I could have sent her another message in addition to the last one I sent to re-confirm the fact that she didn’t want to go out with me, but I’m not a dummy, I get it. It’s clear “she’s just not that into you”. And here’s why I know, had she actually wanted to see me, she would have texted me later that evening letting me know that in fact she did find the whatever the fuck she lost at work, or even the next day apologizing for missing our date. But she didn’t. She didn’t even respond to my open leading question? Which is fine, I get it. Faaaaaade out move engaged.

Which, it’s clear, that she didn’t want to go out with me again, or for the first time rather.

Not a big deal. I don’t really care. If you don’t want to date me that’s fine, I get that, but you’re wrong and I hate you.

Just kidding…We hadn’t even gone out once. She didn’t owe me anything. Not a thing.


BUT then I got to thinking. Maybe she owed me at least an “I’m sorry I made you wait at the restaurant for 45 minutes by yourself, I know we messaged and texted for 3 weeks, I just don’t think I we should meet up anymore. Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeee” Or something to that extent. Maybe?
This is where I’m kind of torn….

On one hand:
-It would have only of been the 1st date
-We meet through
-We hadn’t even meet in person once

On the OTHER hand:
-The entire courtship was 2 weeks of messaging, 1 week of texting
-She seemed engaged throughout, and excited to meet up?
-She didn’t text me until 15 minutes until after we were supposed to meet, and then I sat at the restaurant for another 30 minutes “optimistic” she would resolve her “crisis” and be able to make the date


 I socialized this idea with my friends to see if I was just being ridiculous in expecting her to text me back, like ever.

I think in general the response was “Yes”. But then this got me thinking, when is it okay to not respond back to text messages or calls. Surely the fade out is okay in some situations? Is it based on the number of dates? The level of intimacy? The age of the daters? I think it’s kind of all of the above. So I made this infographic for future generations, to help them understand, when it’s okay to actually not respond back and when they should. You’re welcome people of the future.


So according to the chart I made, since she’s over the age of 28 she should have AT LEAST text me back and let me know she no longer wanted to meet up with me. Of course, I made this chart, so I could be a little biased.


Has the fade away ever been pulled on you? Have you pulled the fade away? 

As always I love to hear your feedback and comments!
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  • Bryce July 23, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Good for you–bc I TOTALLY would’ve texted Sarah again like a day later. Just a cheery, “hey, how’s it going?” #fail

  • John July 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Ever have one fade out and fade back in. If you haven’t, big red flag!

    After the 2nd date she faded out and then a month later faded back in. After two more dates she started to fade out again, yet by sheer luck, I got closer through a text conversation. After revealing my indifference to her, she revealed that she was divorced (rather she was separated, pending divorce).

    The moral of the story for all you single dudes out there is that if you have this particular brand of fader, she’s tagged you as an option, a side dish, a date on the side. If you are OK with that, then dismiss the red flag and proceed with caution.

    IME, women are doing this more and more. If there isn’t a certain flow of communication, as you’ve alluded to Steve, I end up taking the silence as a rude way to say “thanks but no thanks”. I have a theory that most people (men and women) haven’t developed the social skills to handle confrontation.

  • Krissy July 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Hey now! The fade-out is not just done by women. I went on a couple dates with this guys (more like we got drunk together, whatever) and when we finally boned, I never heard from him again! The fade out is done by all that just aren’t feeling it.

    • Single Steve July 24, 2014 at 12:43 am

      Ha, you said boned

  • Logan G July 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Big difference between not texting back after a date, and texting you 15 minutes after your pre-arranged meet-up with a hopeful postponement. The latter is pretty rude.

  • asplenia July 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    She was rude, it’s not okay to fade out in that context. It doesn’t take that much effort to explain that you’ve either changed your mind or something else is going on or things have otherwise changed. Those are basic human decency skills. She fails as a human.

    The only cases in which it’s okay to fade out:

    1. After you meet once and neither of you reach out to contact the other (however, if one person reaches out, then they should be responded to even if the other is uninterested; people shouldn’t be let off the hook just because it’s uncomfortable to deliver unpleasant news — it’s still the right thing to do).

    2. In the early stages of messaging before a date has been planned. (Dating rules: It’s good to hold one’s horses and not sound too enthusiastic/warm/intimate before meeting because then otherwise a connection is established, and once that happens, it becomes rude to fade out! That’s also one reason I like to avoid texting with any potential dates. Besides not wanting to reveal my personal phone number, there’s an intimacy to texting that seems premature to me.)

    At least you know it’s not personal because you haven’t yet met. Maybe she rekindled something with an ex, who knows. You dodged a bullet though, if she demonstrated that level of shittiness this early.

    Hilarious post, I think it must have been the snake!

  • Maria July 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I generally get the fade out more because I’m on the notion of “We are fucking adults, just tell me the truth either way.” We are in a era of people forgetting common courtesy because they don’t have to look you in the eye & be honest. Its too easy to be an asshole. I work in customer service & just get awful emails cause to them, I’m not a real person. But there is a human behind it, whether you’re asking to cancel an account or saying “hey, I’m just not that into you.” Damn you, technology!

  • Marisa July 23, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    A. Maybe the mutual connection you have with her (co-worker) said something about you that made her rethink going on a date with you? Maybe she found your blog?
    B. Regardless, she was totally rude to wait to the last minute to cancel and then to not respond.
    C. You don’t want to date someone who’s so rude anyways!

  • Troloko July 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Dude stop whining.

  • Coyote Rose July 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I pulled a fade once, but I had met the guy through Okcupid and he seemed nice online and we set up a date. Then the day of the date he texted me like 300 times, which is a little much when you haven’t even met in person. By the time of the actual date I was completely turned off by this guy, but I went on the date anyways because standing up a person is wrong.

    And he was a completely nice guy, but he kept telling me how great and amazing I was and he just came on too strong. I mean he texted me while I was driving home from the date. I was frankly starting to think he was going to kidnap me and lock me in a basement. So fading out was the best possible solution because I was afraid he wouldn’t get the hint otherwise.

  • Shane July 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I agree with you – she should have texted back. Being flaked on sucks. I hate flakers. Sorry man.

  • Walt September 5, 2014 at 12:33 am

    I think a good ol’ fashioned dick-pic would have been in order! (any random dick-pic…not necessarily yours)

  • Clare September 14, 2014 at 7:12 am

    The fact that she didn’t have the decency to cancel beforehand, and actually texted you 15 minutes after you were supposed to meet is a dick move on her part. You are definitely better off!
    I have admittedly done the fade out though. This guy was really nice, but he texted me nonstop, asking the weirdest questions. He asked me if I was a mommy’s girl or a daddy’s girl (Wtf….), what clothing item I thought was the comfiest, what underwear I wore, just really random stuff. We had planned to see a movie, but once the barrage of weird and annoying questions began after making plans, I got so weirded out that I canceled our plans and stopped texting him. He then texted me asking if I wanted him to buy me wine and chocolate. It was just bizarre, and that was the only time I felt appropriate to do a fade out. Like Coyote Rose’s experience entailed, I was freaked out that this dude was going to kidnap me and lock me in his basement. Otherwise, fade outs are just not cool!

  • John Connor October 17, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    The “fade out maneuver” is quite common nowadays in US, not so much abroad, not sure if it is because of technology, lost of values, and/or cowardice . Don’t over-analyze it, most women that are a 6/10 or higher, on online dating sites, make plans with more than one guy per night, and at the last minute decide which plan is most appealing to them and cancel on the second one. They also use it this strategy in case the guy cancelled on them, so they have a backup plan. I bet you anything it has nothing to do with you, nothing that you said or did; she just talked to someone who offered her a more enjoyable date night or someone she was more attractive to.
    Look at the bright side, you saved the money you would have spent on her… but that would be a whole different topic, all women in America are feminist, except when you take them out on date, then they all become very traditional and want you to pick up the tap.

  • Autumn November 27, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Steve, I totally understand what you’re saying, and I generally agree, but this summer, I tried to be honest with a guy I had gone out with twice over two months and told him that I was interested in seeing someone else when he texted that he wanted to “hang out”, and he flipped the fuck out on me. This might be why people are reluctant to speak honestly- people say they want honesty, but sometimes can’t handle it when faced with it.

    But that Sarah chick sucks- you don’t try to cancel the date 15 minutes after the planned time!

    • Clare December 5, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      I had this happen to me too!! We went out once, and I wasn’t feeling it. I decided to tell him I wasn’t interested when he texted me after the date. Needless to say, he ripped me a new one and said “I feel bad for any guy that has to deal with you”. This guy had told me he appreciated honesty, apparently not!! I feel the fade out has to be done sometimes unfortunately. It’s not ideal, and I don’t like doing it. But people can get so angry when you’re honest with them, so it’s a lose-lose situation sometimes.

  • Max December 14, 2014 at 12:14 am

    The Fade is just another form of letting someone down easy. However, in your case that was just poor social etiquette to cancel 15min prior to your date. She should have gone through with it and could have cleared the air right then and there if she wasn’t interested. Be glad your done and move on and don’t dwell on it too much.

  • W January 28, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Well the first mistake is texting and messaging that long. Nothing should go over a week, you are wasting time at that point. A few messages, phone call, meet! She’s a douchecanoe for doing that though.

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