We’re likely all guilty of it to some extent, or have experienced it ourselves when it comes to breakups. It’s called ‘ghosting’ and it’s probably what you think it is. It refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempt to reach out. Do you ever tell yourself “it’s like [he/she] fell off the face of the Earth”? Well, my lovelorn friend, you’ve been ghosted.
Just when we thought breaking up with someone over the phone or by text was bad, ghosting is the ultimate avoidance technique for the immature and insecure, who want to avoid the potential fallout of a face-to-face breakup.
But beware ghosters, because it may not always end as easy as you hoped it would. If someone feels they haven’t gotten the closure they need or ends up showing a serious concern for your whereabouts and sends out search teams, you could actually be creating more drama than if you had just told the other person why you were breaking up with them.
It goes without question that technology plays a huge role in this impersonal breakup technique. Host of “Death, Sex & Money”, Anna Sale, told the New York Times that she believes social media enables the avoidance of difficult conversations. “As people have gotten less and less comfortable talking face to face about hard things, it’s become easier to move on, let time pass and forget to tell the person you’re breaking up with them,” she said.
Ghosters don’t have to worry about feeling bad for hurting the other person’s feelings because you’re not there in person to witness their pain.
It does take a lot to fully ghost someone these days. It’s not just about avoiding phone calls. You would have to block them on all social media accounts, avoid having any mutual friends tag you in photos, turn your status off on messaging apps, you may have to move, change phone numbers, let your voicemail box get full…etc. So after all of this, maybe just telling the person ‘not interested’ or ‘it’s over’ is a lot easier, in the end.
Sure, ghosting may be more acceptable for those short and meaningless dating scenarios. Maybe after the first date or two, you just knew there was nothing there; and therefore didn’t care about ever getting back to the person. But when it comes to deeper, long-term relationships, you at least owe the other person a respectable breakup and a decent explanation. Even if it’s just “this just isn’t working out for me.”
Have you ever “ghosted” or been “ghosted”?