What is ghosting?
Ghosting, or vanishing out of nowhere from somebody’s existence without even a call, email, or contact, has become a common occurrence in the dating world, and in other social settings.
As indicated by results from two 2018 studies, around 25 percent of individuals have been ghosted at some point in their lives.
The rise of electronic communication and usage of well-known dating applications like Grindr, Tinder, and Bumble have made it easier to make and break connections with someone you just met through a swipe.
In this article, you will learn how to realize when you’re being ghosted and how to deal with it.
Why do people ghost?
Individuals ghost for a wide range of reasons. Below are a few of many reasons individuals may ghost:
Dread. The dread of not knowing is ingrained in our personalities.
You may simply choose to ghost someone because you’re afraid of finding a new relationship or terrified by the possibility that the other person will end your relationship.
Struggle evasion. People are naturally social creatures.
Disturbing a relationship of any kind, positive or negative, can affect how much you trust someone.
Thus, you may feel that it’s easier to avoid seeing someone again as opposed to confronting problems that arise during a separation.
Absence of results. If you have recently met somebody, you may feel like there is nothing to lose if you ghost someone because you do not share mutual friends, coworkers or other commonalities.
Someone who ghosts you may not view the action as something with harmful consequences if they leave your life unannounced.
Self-care. If someone is in a relationship that is not affecting your mental health, then cutting off contact with the other person involved could be the best way for them to look after themselves without dealing with the emotional consequences of a face-to-face separation.
Listed below are a couple of situations where you may be ghosted and why someone decided to ghost you:
Casual dating partner
If you’ve been on a few dates with someone and they suddenly vanish, it might be because they didn’t feel a romantic connection with you.
Additionally, they might be too busy to commit to regularly keeping in touch or they weren’t ready to take the next step in the relationship.
If a friend you’ve regularly spent time with suddenly stops responding to your texts or calls, then they might be ghosting you.
It’s also a possibility that something is going on in their life that is keeping them from getting in touch with you.
If you were ghosted, there’s a high likelihood that the person who is doing the ghosting felt it would be too complicated or painful to explain to you that they don’t want to be friends with you anymore.
Ghosting can occur in the workplace as well. This frequently happens when someone leaves the company they were working for and ceases to communicate with any former coworkers after they’ve left.
Even though the person who left may have spent a lot of time in the office and hung out with people outside of work, it’s possible that certain individuals find it too hard to even think about maintaining relationships with former coworkers while they’re searching for a new job and forming new relationships with new coworkers.
Ghosting can also happen when a colleague changes positions within an organization or receives a promotion.
Are you being ghosted? Your FAQs, answered:
Are you really being ghosted, or is the person you’re trying to get in touch with constantly busy and never has time to call you back?
Here are some signs that you should look out for in case you’re being ghosted:
Is this typical conduct for them?
Some people go “off the grid” for long periods of time before contacting others again, so it may not be worrisome if they don’t respond to you right away.
With this in mind, if someone is typically very responsive to you and either abruptly stop responding to your messages or doesn’t respond for long periods of time, then you may have been ghosted.
Did anything change in the relationship?
Did you say something that they didn’t respond to equally or send a message that might have been misinterpreted?
For instance, in the event that you said “I love you”, they didn’t say it back, and all of a sudden they’re MIA, you may have been ghosted.
Did both of you experience any significant life changes?
Did they move to a new city? Start a new job?
Experience a traumatic accident that left them full of despair?
Keeping up with your friends can be difficult when you’re undergoing a significant life change.
For some, ghosting appears to be the easiest and least confusing choice to separate themselves from other people.
Sometimes, the act of ghosting may not indicate permanent separation.
For example, someone could be less responsive to your calls and texts because they’ve taken on a new project at work or undergone a significant life change.
In other scenarios, ghosting may be an indicator of someone’s attempt to permanently separate themselves from someone else.
What should I do if I’ve been ghosted?
If you’ve been ghosted, then you might have a hard time trying to understand why you’ve been ghosted and what you should do about it.
If you were close with the person who’s ghosted you, that makes the situation you’re in a lot more difficult to deal with and can deeply hurt your feelings.
There’s a lot of research out there that explores the nuances of the emotions that exist behind being ghosted.
Two studies from 2010 Trusted Source and 2011 found that some of the effects from ghosting can cause physical and emotional torment.
The long-lasting effects of being ghosted take a long time to overcome and can be agonizing to endure.
Ghosting can likewise influence your self-esteem and have an impact on your personal and professional relationships.
Additionally, in a time where connecting with people online is becoming the norm, the likelihood of your being ghosted by someone who you’ve met online can cause you to feel emotional pain.
This pain can be isolating and make you feel less secure about reaching out to people through social media and other online platforms.
How should I move on?
Moving on from being ghosted won’t look the same for everyone, and how you start to heal from this will vary from person to person.
Here are a few different ways you can help yourself overcome the emotional hardship brought on by being ghosted:
Set limits first. Do you need to indulge in something? Are you looking for something more in a relationship?
Are you anticipating that this person should check in constantly, or every day/week/month?
Being straightforward with the other person in your relationship can ensure that your boundaries are being respected.
Let them know they need to respond. Haven’t gotten any notifications from someone for over a month and are sick and tired of waiting?
Tell that person that you need to hear from them by a certain date.
For instance, you can send them a message requesting that they call or teext in the following week, or you’ll accept that your relationship with them is over.
This may seem like a tough approach but it will give you closure and clarity on the relationship.
Don’t blame yourself. You don’t know why this person is ghosting you, but you are not to blame for their actions.
Try not to “treat” your feelings by misusing alcohol or drugs. Try not to numb the agony with drugs or alcohol.
Misusing substances can lead to even more troublesome emotions and uncomfortable encounters in this and future relationships.
Reach out to friends and family. Look for support from friends and family members that you trust.
Taking time to spend quality time with the people you’re close to can help alleviate some of the pain associated with being ghosted.
Ask for help. Consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you articulate and process your feelings.
They can also offer you coping strategies that will help you overcome this hardship and help you continue to move forward.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Interested in reading more? Check out these books on ghosting:
Ghosted and Breadcrumbed: Stop Falling for Unbelievable Men and Get Smart About Healthy Relationships
This book shows you the signs of what it’s like to be ghosted and how many people fall into the same trap over and over again.
Dr. Marni Feuerman will help you learn more about some of the signs of someone who is likely to ghost you and how you can start to build healthier relationships.
Authored by a sex therapist who regularly works with clients who are attempting to navigate the dating world or improve their relationships, this book explains how technology plays a role in creating conflict or additional anxiety and discloses techniques to help individuals gain confidence or strengthen their personal relationships.
In Never Get Ghosted Again, you’re going to get an inside look into how men think when it comes to women and dating.
In this fun and insightful dating book for women, you will discover the secret reasons why men suddenly lose interest, what causes men to fall in (and out of) love with a woman, and how to prevent that special guy from disappearing on you.
Journaling is a great way to help process and keep track of your experiences and feelings while you are going through any life stressor, or any of the life-altering symptoms of a mental disorder including depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
This journal contains 94 daily templates to aid in your discovery process.
Journaling is a great way to give yourself a stress release. Whether you are dealing with mental health issues, heartbreak, a problem at work, or any other life stressor, this journal is for you.
This Mindfulness Journal can easily be added into your daily routine and can serve as an outlet for stress-reduction that will help you appreciate every single day and moment.
It includes 365 daily writing prompts divided into 52 weekly mindfulness topics. The prompts are extremely unique, fun, and engaging, so you will never get bored while journaling.
Additionally, each prompt is on its own separate page so you will have more than enough room for reflection and to write down all of your thoughts, big or small.
Although it is suggested to journal once a day, you can spend as much or as little time as you want on each prompt.
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What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues
- If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.
If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.
Krossa, E., Bermana, M., Mischelb, W., Edward E. Smith, and Wager, T. 2011. Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 108 (15), p. 6270–6275, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102693108.
DeWall, C., et al. 2010. Acetaminophen Reduces Social Pain: Behavioral and Neural Evidence. Psychological Sciences, 21 (7), p. 931 -7
Cynthia L. Pickett, C., Gardner, W., and Knowles, M. 2004. Getting a Cue: The Need to Belong and Enhanced Sensitivity to Social Cues.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30 (9), p. 1095-1107.
Leary, M. R., Haupt, A. L., Strausser, K. S., & Chokel, J. T. 1998. Calibrating the sociometer: The relationship between interpersonal appraisals and state self-esteem.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, p.1290-1299.
Hsu, D. et al. 2013. Response of the μ-opioid system to social rejection and acceptance. Molecular Psychiatry, 18, p. 1211–1217.
Williams, C., Richardson, D. Hammock, G., Janit, S. 2012. Perceptions of physical and psychological aggression in close relationships: A review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17, (6), p. 489–494.