What Is Ghosting and Why People Ghost
Studies show that about 60% to 70% of adults have ghosted someone at some point in their life. Be it a relationship or an acquaintance, confrontation seems to be the hard way to get things done for a lot of people. But what is “ghosting” and why does this phenomenon appear, is what we’re really interested in. We have put together a few reasons that might help you recognize and avoid this situation.
Here at Bright Side, we do our best to explore the ins and outs of how people relate to each other, so this topic right up our alley.
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.
As with every action people do towards another person, there are always reasons for which people choose to ghost someone in a relationship or outside one. Ghosting appears, usually, due to a person not liking confrontation, or just laziness and convenience.
- 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: Having mentioned the main reasons for which people ghost someone, there are indeed miscellaneous reasons for all kinds of situations. Studies show that 43% of people pick ghosting to avoid the awkward conversation of telling the other person they’re not really interested. This can include situations after a date, talking or a short relationship. 37% chose to cut off contact because the other person did something they did not like, and 36% were too busy for a relationship, but couldn’t tell the other person the truth due to it being too late.
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.
Moreover, the person getting ghosted will never get the closure they deserve, since there is no way for them to find out why the relationship ended. Usually one tends to blame themselves for the sudden ending, and this is in no way the case. But our mental state is not the only thing affected by getting ghosted by someone, but on our self-esteem too.
What to do to after someone ghosted you.
Ghosting can really have a deep impact on someone, and it can hurt a lot. In case you have gone through something like this, here is a point dedicated to what you can do if you find yourself in a situation of being ghosted.
The main thing you have to concentrate on is yourself. That might be a no-brainer, however, as previously mentioned, ghosting can leave you quite confused, and from that you might find yourself overthinking the situation or finding things that are wrong with you. This is the first step: if someone ghosted you, do not think you’re at fault. Chances are, you are not.
Most of the time, the person ghosting someone has a lot of issues within themselves that they might not know how to handle, and so they don’t. It is okay to feel sad, and it’s natural as well. But don’t put yourself down because of that. As experts themselves say: “It’s best to chalk it up to incompatibility and know that a better match is out there for you.”
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.
Have you ever ghosted someone? Or have you ever been ghosted? What did you do in that situation?