I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment of blogging about various dating and relationship terms that didn’t exist when we oldies were dating in our youth. If you haven’t already heard about or experienced ghosting, then you’re probably wondering what it is? So first off, it’s not dressing up like a ghost and scaring your date. Nor is it anything to do with ghosts at all.
According to Wikipedia it is;
Ghosting, also known as simmering or icing, is a colloquial term that describes the practice of ending all communication and contact with another person without any apparent warning or justification and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communication made by said person.
In basic terms, it’s being a bit of an ass, cruel, cowardly and very wrong. But what are the reasons behind it? Why on earth would someone do something so cruel in the dating process? Ok, so we already know that people can be just a little bit bonkers when dating, but ghosting is the worst.
What Is Ghosting?
Aside from the broad Wiki description, there are many ways that someone can ghost you without you even realising. It may be temporary, in which case it’s probably a form of breadcrumbing or orbiting. Or it may be permanent. They’ve gone without bothering to tell you. Ghosting can start out subtle. Leaving you on read (those god damn WhatsApp ticks) or being vague with plans (you may also be in a situationship without knowing it). Or ghosting can be a sudden vanishing act with no warning.
There are other more toxic signs of ghosting that may be being used as a manipulation tool. Ghosting to get a reaction or to test the relationship. To stupidly think it helps to build attraction. If you question the ghosting and you are met with a response that you’re imagining it or it’s somehow your fault, that is gaslighting and it’s toxic. These are all forms of emotional abuse, disrespectful and just really immature.
If you feel the need to ghost someone you’ve been dating, then are you really mature enough to be having a relationship at all? Simple answer is no, and you need to sort yourself out before playing with anyone else’s emotions.
Why Is Ghosting So Cruel?
Many people forget that during the process of dating or even in a relationship, you are handling someone else’s feelings. And although you aren’t responsible for their happiness or fulfilment in life, you do have a duty to not hurt anyone else with your unacceptable behaviour. Ghosting is unacceptable. It’s a very childish way of avoiding what you perceive to be a difficult conversation. So you’d rather hurt someone and leave them in limbo for a while instead of just being honest with them.
Some people won’t have any long term effects from being ghosted. They’ll shrug it off as the ghoster being an idiot and get on with their lives. But there are some who will suffer the long-term effects of being ghosted. Their confidence and self-esteem can be damaged. It will put them off dating again or getting to know someone new. They will feel abandoned and question their self-worth. It may give them trust issues in future relationships and cause anxiety just waiting for a reply to a message.
Before you ghost, think about the problems you may be causing. Just be honest and have the conversation.
What Ghosting Says About You, The Ghoster
I’ve probably already covered this, but just to be clear, it makes you an asshole. It also makes you a cruel and cowardly person. And unfortunately, that kind of karma (behaviour) is going to catch up with you sooner or later. Being that level of self-centred is never going to end well.
Ghosters tend to get into relationships, mostly due to a physical attraction, and then look for a quick getaway at the first sign of something more long-term. However, ghosters too can feel anxiety and guilt and have the constant concern of running into the person they ghosted. Who wants to live their lives like that?!?!?
I read something recently about “passive ghosting”. Like we need yet another term in the awkward enough dating sphere! It’s basically when someone isn’t interested in dating you but still responds and shows a slight interest, leaving you in a constant state of confusion.
Listen, lads, if you aren’t interested, just be polite about it and move on. Stop with all the stupid mind games.
Can Ghosting Happen With Friends Or Family?
Ghosting can happen with anyone. Although it’s mostly used in dating terms it is basically the act of cutting communication without explanation. We all have friends that vanish. Not so much family, but I have seen it when some cut communication following a family argument. In business, we get potential clients that ghost, often after requesting work be done and obtaining a quote, they then vanish leaving you not knowing if the work is going ahead or not. Whatever the reason, it’s still bad manners.
How To Respond To Being Ghosted
You don’t. It can be so tempting to send a pleading text for the person to respond or look for closure. But, looking at their behaviour, is that really the type of person you want in your life? A person who can show no regard for your feelings or take control of their own behaviour? Do you want someone with the maturity levels of a five-year-old?
Unless you have actual unfinished business like you have belongings at their house or they owe you money then take the hint and move on. Block them if need be. Take it as a lesson learnt.
Unfortunately, especially with men on the dating scene, they have a tendency to reappear when you least expect it. When you’ve forgotten what an ass they are and how they left you on read forever. A “hi how are you” text at 11pm on a Saturday night, months or years later, tells you all you need to know. It’s their ego talking and they haven’t learnt and have probably treated someone else just as bad. Either respond politely or ignore them. But try to avoid being drawn back in unless they have a rock-solid, 100% truthful reason for their behaviour. And even then, be on your guard.
When Ghosting Is Appropriate
There are times when your last available option is to ghost someone. If a person has repeatedly hurt your feelings, let you down and been given multiple chances and you want them out of your life, then ghosting may be your last option to get them gone. This may also involve blocking. If a person has been abusive, emotionally, physically, then ghosting is your best option. Do not engage with them at all.
Ghosting may also be an option in abusive cases so as to avoid confrontation. If you know that responding could put you in any form of danger, then step away from the phone. Do not respond.
A person needing space is not ghosting. But it’s important to communicate that you need some space. Or perhaps you’re giving the silent treatment after an argument.
Ultimately ghosting for no reason within a relationship, no matter how long that relationship has been, is an act of cowardice. So, if you’re brave enough to venture onto the dating scene, then please be brave enough to have the honest and difficult conversations with your dates.