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Ghosting: What Is It & How to Know If You’ve Been Ghosted?

Michelle Wilson - May 5, 2022

Ghosting- What Is It & How to Know If You've Been Ghosted?

Ghosting seems to be an annoying part of dating, but it isn’t as new as it might seem to be. People have been disappearing on their dates and relationships for decades. With the rise of dating apps, dropping in and out of someone’s life has never been easier. Since we have become a virtual society, meeting people and interacting online is effortless. It is often easier to get away with disappearing from their lives overnight with no mutual ties.

Here’s what happens when someone ghosts you. You start to like this person and feel like you both have fantastic chemistry. Maybe you’ve been seeing them for a while, or you’re looking at what a long-term relationship could manifest into with them. Suddenly, out of nowhere, they disappear. You go from continuous texting and calls to radio silence. You were regularly hanging out and laughing to just emptiness. You’re left there alone thinking: Where did they go?

Alternatively, if you were the one ghosting, you’re already familiar with the routine.

What does it mean when someone ghosts?

Ghosting is a simple rejection that happens without any closure. It often occurs suddenly and out of nowhere. It can leave you feeling hurt, confused, disappointed, and even a bit paranoid for those in relationships. This action is often ambiguous, leaving the door open for potential excuses to rekindle that spark down the line. In other words, it’s a way to end the connection with someone without having to own up to how you’re feeling.

There are many different levels of ghosting too. The more time people spend with one another, the more emotional connection they hold. Those deeper emotional connections will experience more mental and emotional anguish through ghosting. Disappearing after a few low-key conversations isn’t the same impact as ghosting someone after building a significant relationship with them.

Why Do People Disappear Through Ghosting?

People disappear for all kinds of reasons. According to a recent survey, nearly 43% of all participants said they’d ghosted someone to avoid the awkwardness of suggesting they weren’t interested. Other reasons for ghosting include saying or doing something the person didn’t like or simply being too busy to handle interactions.

When it comes to connections outside of dating apps, the reasons vary even further. It’s essential to recognize that ghosting is both unhealthy and disrespectful behavior. Unless someone presents a threat, it’s always better to communicate that you’re not interested in pursuing the dynamic and moving forward.

Is Ghosting a Self-Esteem Issue?

While ghosts may feel powerful now, these behaviors can also connect with low self-esteem and inner weakness. Many people with high self-esteem won’t engage in disrespectful or harmful behaviors toward others.

How Do You Know if Someone is Ghosting You?

It doesn’t matter how far into your relationship with someone; it’s always hard to accept that someone may have evaporated into another world. While many people are quick to give the benefit of the doubt, it’s almost always a terrible excuse that turns up after no contact for a while. Don’t buy into the “too busy” excuse with people you’ve met a few times. If someone wants to make time for you, they almost always find a way. Everyone is busy between changing schedules, activities, children, and everyday chaos that interferes with our life—finding someone that we enjoy spending time with usually allows shifting schedules and responsibilities around to make time for them. At the very least, most people continuously have their phones with them and can respond to a text.

Always consider where you fall on someone’s priority list and determine whether you’re okay with that standing. If you’ve put yourself out there and someone doesn’t message you back right away, they’re likely not worth your time. If someone seemingly vanishes and time passes, they’ve become a ghost.

How to Handle Someone Ghosting You

It’s okay to admit that being ghosted emotionally bothers you. Caring for someone is expected, so feeling distraught that the individual couldn’t show you the respect of a simple goodbye or closure is reasonable. It’s also understandable if you feel like you’ve been robbed of the reasons why. While you may want or crave an explanation, it’s improbable you’ll receive one. The sooner you accept this, the better it will be for everyone involved.

Ghosting is often a clear indicator that they’re unable or unwilling to give you the closure you seek. Maybe they don’t have the answers themselves or can’t communicate their feelings appropriately. Regardless of the reason, you’ll be unable to get a straight answer.

Remember Where You Stand on This

The decision to ghost someone is ultimately their problem instead of your situation. You should never send a long-winded text message or emotional voicemail asking for a reason or explanation. Even when it feels good at the moment, you might instantly regret making yourself look insecure or needy. Chalk up these experiences to incompatibility and move on to a better match waiting for you.

How to Avoid Becoming a Ghost?

Ghosting someone is tempting when you’re looking at potentially hurting someone’s feelings. Being up-front isn’t always a straightforward approach, but it’s the better option. It’s essential to remember that the act of ghosting (whether deliberate or accidental) is hurtful to the other person. There’s ultimately no “nice” way to ghost someone.

Brief Interactions

Rather than ghosting someone, always approach the individual and communicate honestly. Keep any contact brief, clear, and kind – there’s no reason to drag things out. If you’ve gone on one or two dates, ending the connection with a simple text is sufficient. You don’t need any further follow-up or explanation, but the message shows genuine niceness while closing that door.

Longer Relationships

When the relationship is more significant, having a conversation with an individual out of respect is essential. Meet with the person or have a phone chat. This conversation aims to let the other person have a sense of closure while maintaining self-respect.

What If a Ghost Comes Back?

If you were hurt throughout the relationship, it’s okay to ask. Pretending everything is okay can lead the individual to believe their actions were justified and increase the probability of it happening again. Be straightforward in your feelings and ask for an explanation if it helps you heal. If you were the person to ghost someone, it’s okay to reach out and apologize for your actions (as long as you know what your intentions are with the other person).

While it’s occasionally acceptable to invite a ghost back into your life, mainly if they offer a valid explanation for their disappearance, it’s always a good idea to be cautious. Pay attention to their behavior and any circumstances surrounding their resurrection. Do they appear inconsistent? Bored? Looking for a sure thing or love? If the individual continually ghosts you without a valid reason, it’s not worth your time. Let the ghost disappear and move on with your life.

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