According to Oxford languages, the definition of ghosting is “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication”. Unfortunately, this type of disturbing behaviour is closely associated with the dating world. Ghosting can take place on a small scale ( after a nice date or two) or large ( deeper relations). Sadly, vanishing abruptly without a word has become normalized behaviour and almost to be expected at some point while in the dating arena. Some might theorize the disappearing act is a relatively new human phenomenon resulting from the internet era. People linking up digitally rather than “organically” makes it easier to hide or disappear without a trace, consequently avoiding any form of accountability. “Back in the day” one would have to either pack up their life or alter it to be able to pull off the ghosting trick. Today it’s effortless. One might draw the conclusion that “things were better before”, people treated each other with more respect. I’m not convinced though. Feels to me as if crappy behaviour for some is latent until it’s repercussion free. So in a sense our “new times” have done us a favour by exposing certain individuals true (ghosting) nature.
What does it say about you if you’ve been ghosted? Frankly, absolutely nothing. If anything, ghosting is a dead giveaway of the person’s flawed character. I’d like to highlight that without a word, literally, they’ve revealed valuable insights about themselves and their skill set (or lack of). Not only is ghosting a display of lacking basic courtesy, respect and consideration, it’s also signaling questionable integrity.
There could be a trillion reasons why one would consciously choose to ghost another. The ghoster (did I make up a word?) might not be able/want to deal with uncomfortable emotions that surface when ending a connection or sharing the core cause of the retraction. Perhaps the ghoster fears the response, a possible conflict or feeling like “the bad guy”. Another possibility is that the ghoster simply can’t be bothered or doesn’t view ghosting as a big deal, indicating the absence of empathy (not exactly relationship material). Regardless of explanation, the fact still stands, someone has picked vanishing into thin air as a tactic when ending a personal relationship. And in my opinion there’s no valid excuse.
Being on the receiving end of ghosting can catch one off guard and elicit a line of negative emotions (understandably so). Personally, I’ve experienced it as an unsettling confusion blended with feelings of disrespect, embarrassment and being duped. What I probably despise the most about ghosting, is being treated as something disposable. Besides the emotional damage by ghosting, the non closure can push the mind into a loop in attempts to rationalize and seek answers. The odds of receiving clarity from the ghoster is pretty slim though. But that’s ok, you can create your own ending to the story. There are only two alternatives; holding on or letting go. The best thing to do for oneself is to learn from the experience and release it. Be real about the situation and balance out the positive memories with continually reminding yourself of the fact that ghosting is also part of who the person is. Hopefully this realization alone does the job. If not, distraction is key, maybe the rubber band technique could work? When in too deep, vent to close ones, journal or make a small ritual with the intention to release what happened.
Sometimes having the last word can bring a sense of finalization. I don’t usually recommend this, but if worst comes to worst, text the person who ghosted you. Make sure that you don’t have an ulterior motive such as attempting to “undo” the ghosting or bring the person back (if this is the case avoid contact!). This is strictly about closure and walking away with dignity. My advice would be to keep it short and emotionally light. Maybe something in the lines of “I thought we had a good time so I am a bit disappointed to see this side of you, but at least I know where you stand. I wish you all the best”. Put a period on it and move on to something/someone greater, you deserve it.