As the ancient proverb goes: “It be like that sometimes.”

The glaring red notification on your Mail app seems to glow just a little more intensely this month. You’re haunted by the drafted emails you’ve really only got as far as “Dear Professor” with. It’s been one week since you texted in Slack, five days since you emailed back, three days since you left your room–now Bwog is setting the ground rules for when “taking time for myself” is still appropriate and when it’s just plain ghosting. 

Major adviser: 4-5 business days

You freaked out and emailed the department head at 2 am, asking if you could meet with her outside of her office hours to discuss potentially majoring in her subject. Like the gracious and kindhearted person she is, she responded promptly on a weekend–a Saturday morning, even. You still haven’t responded because you are 1) ashamed at the nature by which you contacted her, and 2) don’t really know what you say at office hours. You consider changing your major to avoid the inevitable awkward encounter at department soireés. Dear reader, do not feel intimidated if you are responding outside of this timeframe. So long as it is not a time-sensitive matter (in this case, the approach of major declaration) this professor will still be kind and receptive even if you are emailing three weeks late.

Your regular hook up: Whenever

I would hope that you have established clear enough boundaries that a non-response is just as good as a “Nah, not feeling it.” You should shoot something off, ideally, but the typical expiration for a “wyd?” text is an hour. Neither of you are entitled to each other’s time, so don’t expect extreme timeliness when you’re the one shooting off that late night text three days later. Common decency says respond as soon as possible about what you’re feeling, but street rules don’t care about house rules: go crazy.

Friends asking you out to lunch: Within 30 minutes

If you don’t stop neglecting your friends right now, I swear to God. The only acceptable excuses are: my phone was dead, I was in class, I have already eaten–all of which need to be communicated! It’s not really about the food; it’s about the people, so even if you’re not feeling John Jay, sit with your friends on the lawns while you still can, meet them at Milstein, cook together. Your friends miss you even if they don’t explicitly say so. In turn, you’re also allowed to double, triple, quadruple-text them when you want to hang out and they want to go ghost.

Barnard Buy Sell Trade seller: 5 hours

I’m only giving leeway because most transactions happen over Facebook Messenger, which I totally understand why you’d want to avoid. Typically, most sellers aren’t checking that often either and have even flaked on me, too. Don’t feel too bad if you accidentally (or purposefully) ghost sellers, but definitely don’t be one of those people who set up elaborate meeting times (Butler, 9 am! Milstein Computer Science Help Room, 3 pm! EC, 1 am!) to never show. Ghosting is an art form, not means of being a dick to other people for the hell of it.

Clubs that you lead: 2 days (no business)

You’re at a Sig Nu party, minding your business as you do because you’re you. From across the room you spot a club leader you’ve been meaning to get back to about a potential mixer or collaboration or co-sponsorship–the details are kind of hazy right now. They begin to approach you and although, you know, common sense says you’re off duty, they ask you about this–whatever–event that they want to do. You can’t even hear them over the Shakira playing so you nod and shout, “I’ll get back to you later. Fantastic idea.” You do not get back to them. Bypass all the awkwardness and just reply to that email. We’re all busy. Bonus: writing emails can also be a great way to procrastinate and feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Clubs that you are just a simple member of: Indefinite ghost

You thought you would be so active on campus this year, signing up for tons of listservs at club fair. I don’t blame your optimism. You, like we all did at some point, thought you would really make time to hike on the weekends, improve your improv skills, build schools in some ambiguous African country, and found yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails you don’t read and meetings you don’t attend. Ghosting is better than blasting the entire listserv with “can you please remove me?” thus setting off an entire wave of non-members held hostage by the club listserv.

Anti Social Social Club email drafted by Bwog Staffer