What is Ghosting?
Ghosting is a relatively new colloquial term that refers to abruptly cutting off contact with someone without any explanation for doing so. Even when the person being ghosted reaches out to re-initiate contact, they’re met with silence. It is called ghosting because it involves someone essentially ‘vanishing’ into thin air as if they were a ghost. The concept most often refers to romantic relationships but can also describe disappearances from friendships, family relationships and the workplace.
Being ghosted feels confusing because you don’t know if the relationship is really over, or if there is a different reason for the person’s absence. When a person is ghosted, they may worry that something awful has happened to the person or that they have upset them in some way.
When the ghostee realises the relationship is over, they have no idea what happened. They begin to blame themselves and assume they did something wrong. But the reason for being ghosted often has a lot to do with the ghoster, rather than with the ghostee. Despite the benefit a conversation can provide, cutting off communication spares the individual from confrontation, taking responsibility, or engaging in the emotional labour of empathy. In effect, for the ghoster, it is much more convenient to simply vanish.
Am I Being Ghosted?
- They start bailing on plans you’ve made – All of a sudden, they’re the world’s busiest person and fitting everything into their schedule …. except you.
- You’re initiating most of the conversations – There was a time when you constantly text/called each other, but now, they seem annoyed by your incessant messages/calls.
- They start skipping your ‘routine’ messages – Maybe you routinely messaged each other every morning or evening. Perhaps they wouls send you a loving emoji during lunch. Whatever it was, the routine you may have had is broken.
- They are always ‘busy’ – For a while, you’ve been noticing they are gradually distancing themselves from you, and while you don’t want to seem crazy and read too much into it, it’s starting to mess with your head. When you call them out, their response is that ‘they’ve been really busy’.
- Their responses are becoming increasinly short – Instead of the long, lazy conversations you used to have, you can now barely get a ‘k’ out of them. If they do answer the phone to you, they quick to hang up as something has ‘come up’!
- They have deleted you off all Social Media – When you message to ask why, they make an excuse that they’ve been having problems or they simply don’t reply.
- Your instinct tells you that something isn’t right – If you have that feeling, you’re probably right.
It is important to remember that although the signs that you are being ghosted listed above can be indicative of something sinister – they can also be completely innocent too.
Why Do People Ghost Others?
Ghosting happens for a lot of reasons. It isn’t a simple one-time formula. Some reasons people ghost are:
- They’re not ready for a commitment and felt things were starting to head in that direction.
- They were not that interested in you, and they don’t want to have a long emotional talk about it.
- They have poor social skills and don’t know how to handle awkward situations.
- They genuinely don’t know their own emotions.
- You met them once. They pretended things were okay, but they didn’t really feel a connection. Instead of telling you, they blocked your number.
- They were seeing a lot of people at once, and their feelings for someone else were stronger.
Reacting to Being Ghosted
If you are ghosted, try not to lose control. Keep it simple and stay positive. Send them a couple of texts to see if they want to talk, and then move on. Consider it a breakup and grieve the relationship for what it was worth.
- Don’t blame yourself. It can feel very personal when it happens to you. Remember that it could be for reasons that are nothing to do with you at all. Where ghosting is concerned, the chances are you will never know what the reason is and so it is best to try and accept that and move on.
- Try not to dwell on it for too long. You deserve to be with someone who really wants to be with you.
- Seek support from friends and family and those you can trust.
- It’s hurtful when things end this way, but try not to let it affect your next relationship.
- Think about your behaviour within relationships and ensure that you don’t ‘ghost’ another. Whilst it can sometimes feel the easiest way to end a friendship or a relationship, it can also be very painful to the other party. Communicate your feelings for why you would like the relationship to end.
- Remember how it felt when they ghosted you, and if they do contact you again in the future, be very wary around your future relationship with them.