4 Reasons Why People Ghost and How to Avoid It
According to a 2018 study, about 25% of men and women have been ghosted and 22% admitted to having ghosted someone themselves. And when we get ghosted, many questions pop up in our heads, with the most common being “why?”. And while that can make us feel like we did something wrong or that we are not enough, there are other reasons people ghost. It doesn’t mean that you are to blame.
Now I’ve Seen Everything would like to shed some light on this societal phenomenon that is so prevalent in today’s dating scene.
What it means to ghost someone
In order to talk about the subject of ghosting, why people get ghosted, and what it means to ghost someone, we need to talk about the concept and what this word really means. If ghosting makes you think of a ghost that suddenly disappears, you’re actually really close. By definition, “ghosting” refers to the act of suddenly cutting off all conversations with a certain person, without giving that person a reason or even letting them know that you want to cut them off. Basically, not messaging a person to let them know you’d like to stop talking to them. This doesn’t just occur in romantic relationships, but in platonic ones as well.
It turns out the act of ghosting someone has a history too. Ghosting used to exist in the olden days as well, says a dating specialist.
“Ghosting used to be leaving a person and moving away or not leaving [them with] your contact information—its earlier origins are even the simple act of leaving a party or social gathering without notice and goodbyes.”
Why people ghost, instead of facing the situation.
Ghosting takes place when a potential partner vanishes after one or 2 dates. Psychologists are seriously worried about how widespread this activity is. The situation would be clear if your new friend declares that they don’t want to meet anymore, but it leaves the second partner puzzled and confused when they simply disappear and stop answering calls.
In this case, the incompleteness of the situation provokes a person’s need for constant self-analysis that can be long-lasting.
- Convenience: People tend to choose ghosting over a direct confrontation due to it being the “easier way out”. Rather than explaining a certain person why you’d like to end the relationship, cut off all contact with them or focus on yourself without having to explain it to anyone, some people deem it easier to disappear. This, in turn, leaves the person getting ghosted quite confused, as they cannot imagine the real reason for having been left “on read”.
- Mental state: Believe it or not, ghosting says more about the person ghosting than the person being ghosted. One factor is mental state. Ghosting involves strategies that might prove someone has an avoidant attachment style: avoiding all kinds of emotional closeness.
Psychology professor Tara Collins explains that: “The people who do not like to have emotional closeness, they’re probably more likely to ghost,” and this definitely sheds a bit more light onto the mental state of a person that chooses ghosting over other options.
- It is often used to end short-term relationships: Ghosting generally occurs in short-term relationships, where people haven’t been together for long enough to truly commit or get close enough to establish a tight-knit relationship. Since you haven’t fully committed or developed real feelings for that person, it is believed there’s no real reason for which to explain your departure or loss of interest.
- Miscellaneous reasons: Dreamscapers display the so-called “ghosting” behavior at its very best. They simply walk away from their relationships and you can never be prepared for it. Just a day before you could’ve spent a lovely evening together, and today, you watch them leave without any explanation, and they disappear off the face of the earth.
There’s no drama, no hysterics, and they don’t provide any answers to questions asked. And for you, it may be hard to guess that the reason might be simple: you mentioned a “non-romantic” thing like paying a utility bill in your conversation, and this was like pouring a bucket of cold water on your partner’s head. In other words, the fairy tale popped like a soap bubble.
How to recognize someone might be ghosting you.
- The biggest giveaway of someone’s intention of ghosting you is if their messages are getting less and less. A lot of the time, the reason for this is being “too busy” to reply or keep the conversation going, however that could not be more wrong. Indeed, there are situations in which people might be telling the truth, but most of the time that is not the case.
- Educator Lorrae Bradbury says: “I don’t buy the ‘too busy’ excuse. If someone wants to make time for you, they will find a way to. We are all busy, but when we find someone that lights us up, we can usually shift around responsibilities to make time for them. At the very least, we can see our notifications, and write back.”
So if you think you’re doing everything you can to keep the conversation going, but they don’t seem to be putting in the same effort as you, that means they are probably not interested anymore, and therefore might be looking for a way out.
How getting ghosted by someone can affect one’s mental health and emotions.
With ghosting comes a range of emotions the person getting ghosted can feel. From self-doubt, insecurity, etc. to confusion, they are a natural reaction to being rejected by someone without a real reason. Here are some issues that accompany getting ghosted: frustration, anger, sadness.
And the most important one, one that is going to stay with you for a while, is not understanding where it’s all coming from. As previously mentioned, ghosting means to cut off all contact with a certain person, and not letting them know why. This causes the person getting ghosted to ponder over the situation over and over again, in order to understand why they weren’t enough, or that maybe they just weren’t as fun.
What to do? Specialists recommend to be practical and proceed without emotions:
- don’t create illusions that there were some obstacles that could stop the ghoster from answering your messages or calling you back;
- don’t blame yourself;
- don’t wait for the ghoster’s comeback, otherwise you could end up wasting time and extending your recovery period after this situation that can hardly be called a relationship.
How to avoid ghosting people.
The most important thing when it comes to not ghosting someone is simply communication. Instead of disappearing and not giving the person a real reason for which you’d like to stop talking to them, try and be frank with them. There is a plethora of ways to tell a person you’re not really interested, either platonically or romantically.
Don’t just disappear. Explain your reasons, be it laziness of keeping the conversation going or plain disinterest. We are all human, after all, and when someone takes time out of their day to sit us down and talk through a tough situation, that truly means a lot. So, try this the next time you get scared of confrontation or feel lazy.
What is your experience with ghosting like? Are you guilty of this action and have you been a victim of it too? How did it make you feel?