Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by the thought method co.
- Stopping all communication with someone is “ghosting”
- Ghosting is emotionally draining on the person who is ghosted
- While some try to trivialize it, or tell the person who was ghosted platitudes like they a better off, we need to focus on the ghosts and how drmatic they are
Gaining popularity in recent years, “ghosting”, is when someone (the ghost) ends a relationship by stopping communication without notice to the other person (the ghostee). The ghost hopes the person being ghosted gets the not so subtle hint and moves on.
Some people defend ghosting and say it’s an honest and drama free way of ending a relationship. No matter how hard they try to defend it, ghosting is dramatic, and people who ghost are drama.
We need to call ghosting what it is so we can reduce pain from those who are ghosted and show those who do it how dramatic they are in hopes to encourages them to learn better communication and emotional intelligence.
Ghosting and levels of connection
Depending on the level of attachment, ghosting may be a traumatic experience for the ghostee. Even with a short-term connection, ghosting may lead to stress, anxiety and fear of abandonment.
To avoid blame, ghosts will fight like their life depends on it to self justify. Ghosts will say they think the ghostee is better off or that they think there wasn’t a strong enough of connection to warrant saying goodbye.
While the ghostee is definitely better off, even a ghost knows when there is a connection.
For those who are curious, if you exchange a few messages with someone on a dating app and then stop responding, then it’s fair to say that’s not ghosting. But if you’ve met someone in person, hung out with them, text them and showed interest in them and/or forming some type of relationship with them, then to stop talking to them abruptly, then it is ghosting.
Negative Impacts of Ghosting
Rejection triggers a pain sensor in the brain. So if you get rejected by a potential love mate or friend or whoever, it literally hurts. Ghosting ensures the pain is as deep as possible.
It can damage the ghostees self-esteem and make them feel depressed and angry. Not only are they being rejected, they are losing the possibility of a relationship, and being treated less than human.
The rejection is prolonged because when the ghost stops communicating, the ghostee is not aware they have been rejected. This could go on for days. The ghostee is left in a state of confusion. They may wonder if something is wrong. They may make excuses for the ghost, “oh they’re just busy,” or “I’ll hear from them soon.”
So when the ghostee finally realizes they have been rejected they make this realization alone while already stressed and confused. They realize they have been living in denial, and a person they liked did not have concern for them.
The ghostee may also question their own intuition or why they would attract someone who would treat them so poorly. It can hurt their social confidence and keep them from trying to connect with others which may contribute to loneliness.
All of this may lead to ruminating thoughts, self-sabotage, and if not managed properly, can negatively impact future relationships.
Compacting the already compacted rejection and the extreme intensity is that the ghostee is then expected to be nonchalant, invalidate their natural emotions and just disappear.
There’s No Excuse for Ghosting, Except…
Some people may try to justify ghosting and act like it’s not a big deal. But when you break it down, ghosting is extreme and dramatic. Think of it, you’re hanging out with someone, texting them every day and then boom they disappear. That’s drama.
People who ghost because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings are actually doing more damage. And those who ghost because they aren’t considering anyone else’s feelings lack empathy which is a pivotal part of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the #1 determinate of success and people with higher EQ have better sex, make more money, are better leaders, parents, lovers and friends.
I’d like to say there is absolutely no excuse for ghosting but life is complex and ghosting is a complex topic. Sometimes it is OK to ghost. These circumstances include if someone is being manipulative, abusive, or endangering you. In that case, the ghostee is the drama.
In my view it is also OK to ghost someone if you went on a date with them or your first time hanging out and they were creepy or inappropriate. With online dating you may not filter out all the creepers. And you don’t need to continue to subject yourself to them just because you made the mistake of going on a date.
It is also OK to ghost someone who has ghosted you. Yup, sometimes the dramatic person returns from the dead. I don’t consider that ghosting since the connection was already broken.
Why people ghost
Ghosting is dramatic, people who ghost may simply just be drama. They could have low self-esteem and an unhealthy need for external validation so any negative attention is good attention.
People ghost for many reasons including that they:
- lack emotional maturity
- have an avoidant attachment style
- have low self-esteem or self hatred
- want to end the relationship but don’t to know quite why
- lost interest
- assume there will be confrontation
- have poor communication skills
- met someone else and legitimately don’t care
- got bored
- did it because they can
- don’t realize how negatively impactful it is
- didn’t realize how connected you felt
- were lashed at before for ending a relationship
- want to feel powerful
- were ghosted so they are lashing out
- have a perceived slight and instead of communicating, left
- are too scared to be vulnerable
Note: there may be many reasons why people ghost but the reasons are not excusable. And if you were ghosted it’s not about why they did it, it’s about how you move forward productively.
How we stop it
We can stop ghosting or reduce its power by correctly defining it, having forgiveness and reeducating.
Ghosting is dramatic. It’s extreme. People don’t want to be labeled as either of these things. So when we call ghosts out for their drama it will shame them into not being so dramatic a.k.a. not ghosting.
If you ghosted because you didn’t know how negatively impactful it was, work on the forgiveness part. See if you can offer an apology or what you can do differently in the future.
Literally you could say “hey, didn’t want to ghost but don’t know what to say. Sorry.”
Some other things to say if you’re not into someone are:
- “I had fun, but I didn’t feel a strong connection.”
- “I don’t think we are a good fit. I’m sorry. Good luck!”
- “You’re great and I really want this to work but I’m not feeling it.”
If you have been ghosted, work on forgiving yourself for trusting someone who didn’t have your best intentions in mind. Forgive yourself for being vulnerable with the wrong person and allow yourself to be vulnerable again.
The reeducation part is letting others know that ghosting is negatively damaging. Ghosting is hurtful and I genuinely believe that people are kind and don’t want to hurt others.
With this education we also need to make sure we appreciate when someone doesn’t ghost, even though us appreciating someone not ghosting means we’ve been rejected.
Sample response when being rejected to help discourage ghosting: “Thank you for letting me know.”
With a more accurate definition we will gain clarity, understand how ghosting affects us and better manage when it happens. With forgiveness and reeducation we will hopefully encourage others not to ghost and stop ghosting in its tracks.
A Note From Lyndsey:
Recently I met someone who disclosed that they ghost people. When I asked why, he said he knew it was wrong but he didn’t know what else to do. I told him I get that, and I understand he doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable, but it’s important to let people know you are no longer interested.
Ghosting is a sign that as a society we do not focus on emotions and being emotionally kind to others. I really hope we can change this soon.