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Sex & Relationships The phenomenon of ghosting

Mar. 1, 2018
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A person you’ve been seeing, talking to, or emotionally invested in disappears without a warning, explaination, or apparent reasoning. The phenomenon of ‘ghosting’ seems to have become a modern-day norm. The shocking part about this is that it does not only happen to online flings but to people who have been in serious relationships, too.

The first question that comes to mind when you think or hear about ghosting is why? Why would another person be so cruel as to just cut someone else out of their life completely without a goodbye? It doesn’t seem fair. 

From one perspective, ghosting can be caused by a lack of care or confrontational skills. It is much more stress-free if you just silence the conversation and make yourself disappear. In some cases, the person ghosting could argue that their method is the more humane way of letting someone down, whereas the person on the other end would most likely disagree. In our modern online dating world, we like everything fast and accessible; we don’t like to stall or waste our time. I guess that online ghosting is frequent for that reason. You talk for a while, get on well, get emotionally invested, and maybe even meet in person—then, you can’t reach that person anymore. 

When you’re on a dating app, you’re looking for something other than a person you simply get on with very well. Not everyone will make an effort to say, “Hey, I think you’re really great. I just don’t feel anything romantic towards you. Would you still like to be friends?” I can tell you why: people believe in the idea that you don’t owe anyone anything. To a certain extent that’s true, but at the same time, I really have to disagree with this ‘empowering’ statement. You do owe the entire world a lot of things, such as compassion, empathy, and kindness. 

So while it might seem as though you don’t owe the other person anything, maybe because you haven’t known each other, don’t underestimate someone’s ability to feel deeply; at the end of the day, every action has an effect.      

But, of course, there is a whole other aspect to ghosting as well, of which I personally have a very different opinion: ghosting as the only option. 

If you’ve been in a highly toxic relationship and felt trapped and tried to end it several times but were still pulled back in (perhaps against your own will), I actually think that ghosting is a healthy protection mechanism. If you feel threatened, harassed, and uncomfortable, it is absolutely okay to cut these energies out of your life. I do think it would be fair to tell them why, but some people just don’t listen. At the end of the day, you have to do you, which contradicts my last statement slightly. Ghosting should not be used as a tool of demonstrating power or purposely hurting someone, but purely for the use of your own protection. 

Overall, I think we should all allow ourselves to have a lot more compassion for one another, and possess the courage to say what is going on inside of ourselves. Just because you maybe weren’t entirely sure how you felt or wanted to avoid a serious argument, it’s still not fair to the other person to just withdraw yourself completely. Ghosting’s effects are more serious than one might think—it can leave a person truly traumatized with a shattered self-esteem. 

This is your journey and this is your life. You don’t owe anyone anything but basic human kindness respect, and the bravery to say what you need to say, even if it’s hard and you don’t want to hurt the other person. Anyone who’s ever experienced great loss or pain knows that silence hurts the most.