love in the time of ghosting

This New App Will Do the Emotional Labor of Avoiding Someone for You

Sometimes, simply ghosting someone you’ve only gone on a few dates with doesn’t work as well as you think it will. They don’t get the hint, and then you’re left typing “sorry, sooooooo busy with work right now!” over and over in the hopes that one day, before you both shuffle off this mortal coil, they will finally understand that you have no intention of grabbing drinks ever again.

Now, Ghostbot — a new app from Burner that launched on Tuesday — seeks to do all the emotional labor of avoiding someone for you. In a post on Burner’s blog, co-founder William Carter writes, “Texting is a fun, convenient, and regular part of dating culture these days. But we’ve heard from many of our users — and we know from public conversation and the surging popularity of social media communities like @ByeFelipe — that unwanted, aggressive, and even sexually harassing texts are a real and growing problem.

To combat that, Burner — a service which allows you to have temporary disposable phone numbers you can delete at any time — teamed up with bot-makers Voxable and screenwriter Peter Miriani, to create a bot that will text hangers-on with believable excuses for you. (The bot is designed to distinguish between invitations, booty-call requests, harassment, etc.) Here are some sample responses:

Photo: GhostBot
Photo: GhostBot

If you have a Burner number, you can use this service on any one of your contacts. So why limit it to bad dates? Turn it on for every single person you know. Never grab drinks again if you don’t want to — nobody will ever know any better.

This New Ghostbot App Will Avoid Someone for You