Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Earlier this week I wrote a piece about a gem of a breakup tool, “the fade.” Essentially the fade is when a person decides to end things with the person that they have been dating without ever discussing their feelings with that person. It’s not the same as “ghosting,” which, sadly, is a term used to describe people who drop out of their significant others’ lives all together without any explanation at all. The fader is more stealth — they’ll continue to speak to the person they are seeing as though there is nothing wrong at all and will make theoretical plans. The person on the other end thinks that the fader is just busy, because, well, they still seem so interested!

And therein lies the problem with the fade. Yes, there will be plenty of people who won’t put up with the fader’s vagueness. They’ll get the hint and move on, possibly with a stack of Ryan Gosling DVDs or with a round of tequila shots at the bar. Or, you know, some ice cream, which is how I prefer to get over absolutely everything.

 But while the fader may be interested in protecting their “nice guy/gal” image by avoiding breaking up with anyone, ever, more often than not they leave the person they are dating in a hot bed of confusion. As I said in my previous post, sometimes people really are just busy — you’d be insane to think that every person didn’t want to hang out simply because they decided to skip going to your best friend’s Wednesday night open bar.

No one should be so afraid of being seen as a bad person that the deliberately lead someone on. So how do you know whether you’ve been faded or whether you should hold out? There are a couple of different ways to figure out if the person you’re seeing is still interested. The first is to ask, point blank, when they would like to get together next? Not IF — which will be met with, “Definitely!” by most parties — but when, which implies a definite day of the week, in the very real, very near future.

If the person you have been seeing is dodgy or says something about how they’re super busy with things that shouldn’t consume every single moment of their time, assume that they’re not interested. It sucks, but how long does grabbing coffee on a Saturday or a drink after work really take? It’s not whether or not the person has a busy life as much as they should want to schedule you in somewhere, even if it is for a half hour. A person who really, truly wants to spend time with you will fit you into their lives if you do the same for them — thinking that doesn’t make you maintenance, that’s just the reality of life. And if a person really doesn’t have fifteen minutes to spare in the upcoming few weeks? Well, you probably don’t want to be with someone who has that much going on. (You’d never be able to talk about TV with them, they’d never be able to catch up.)

If you’ve tried the scheduling thing and are somehow still unsure about whether you’re being faded, look at the past few interactions you’ve had with this person. Has it been strictly through social media or texting? Have you had to initiate a conversation? Has the conversation failed to have gone deeper than the typical small talk? Has the time between contact gotten longer and longer? If so, you can probably assume that this person is fading you.

But just because someone is possibly fading you doesn’t mean that you have to accept it (if you don’t want to, that is — if you’re perfectly content with being faded and don’t want to have that awkward breakup conversation, but all means, ride the wave). If you’re still interested in the person you think is fading you, by all means, contact the person. Be genuine about it. Tell them that you really enjoy spending time with them and would really like to continue. If that’s not something they are interested in, then they should let you know, point blank. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but at the end of the day, isn’t honesty the best policy?

Okay, yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t feel like a punch in the gut to hear someone say that they aren’t interested in you romantically anymore. If that’s the case, you are welcome to listen to “Wrecking Ball” as many times as your ears can stand it because Lord knows that helped Miley Cyrus a ton. Make your own wrecking ball and swing around on it as one does. And after that, find someone who would never fade you because they recognize how awesome you are. (Because you probably are pretty awesome.)

And then, of course, if you really want to breakup with that person, be nice and tell them the truth as soon as possible.