A generational shift away from ghosting is starting to occur as more and more daters start to realize that ending a relationship by simply disappearing is rude and immature. In its place, many women have turned to singing the Von Trapp Family farewell song like in The Sound of Music in order to break up with their boyfriends or to send a definitive message to a bad date. “Von Trapping,” as the movement is known, has quickly replaced trite excuses like, “I’m really busy right now” or “I’m in grad school” or most popularly “…”.
“While ghosting was originally thought to be a gentler alternative to dumping someone, it actually ends up hurting the other person more to not hear a clear ‘auf Wiedersehen’,” says sociologist Andrew Smith, a lead researcher on the phenomenon. “Instead, we’re seeing people going in the opposite direction and ending their relationships with a clear break by ending in a grand musical number.”
In other words, how do you solve a problem like someone who’s too clingy? By singing in perfect harmony in several languages with six of your closest friends.
Colleen Carroll, a project manager living in New York, had instant success with the technique. “Alex seemed like a nice guy,” she says. “And there wasn’t anything actually wrong with him, he just wasn’t right. I wanted to let him down easy, so I got myself and my seven siblings to sing to him outside his apartment. It worked like a charm. He never texted again.”
According to Smith, letting people know exactly where they stand is the mature and responsible thing to do. “Von Trapping gives women—and men—the freedom to express that they’re done dating someone, rather than lying directly to their face and saying they’ll ‘hang out soon’ when they never have any actual plans to.”
“The last guy I went out with tried to turn things into a relationship way too quickly,” says Beth Meyers, a Manhattan-based marketing rep. “I thought about ghosting him, but I couldn’t do that to another human being. So instead, I pretended his stoop was a grand staircase, marched up and down while singing, and fell asleep on it before I could finish the song. It was really adorable and he understood that being single right now is something I need to do for me, a name I call myself.”
“If everyone gets on board with Von Trapping, you’ll know when the person you’ve been dating actually is dead, instead of at their family’s lake house with their new girlfriend or boyfriend,” says Smith.
Smith also notes that Von Trapping is good for the economy, as the “farewells” grow increasingly more elaborate in an attempt to go viral. “People are hiring Austrian singers, Lederhosen, sleepy child actors, everything!” says Smith. “Many creative freelancers are benefitting from helping people end their hookup situations.”
So the next time you feel like avoiding those three guys from Tinder, make sure to say “adieu” to him and him and him. They’ll thank you!