Have you ever been ghosted? If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. Ghosting is a cowardly act becoming common in our modern social world. For the uninitiated, ghosting is when someone you are friends with suddenly stops responding to your texts, calls, and emails without any explanation. It’s a way of ending a friendship without the messy business of an argument or verbal confrontation. Ghosting is the easy way out, and it’s time to call ghosting for what it is: cowardice. If you are considering ghosting someone, think again. This article will explain why ghosting is your worst choice in any relationship.
What is ghosting?
Ghosting is a form of relational aggression where someone suddenly ceases all communication with the other person without any explanation. It is essentially dumping someone without saying a word. It is often used to avoid the conflict and interaction associated with breaking up with someone.
The ghosted, or the person on the receiving end, is often left without leaving them with unanswered questions and hurt feelings. It is an act of cowardice, as it leaves all of the power in the hands of the ghost, who transforms into a spectre of ignorance.
Anyone who has been ghosted knows it can be painful, and acknowledging that another person can be dismissive and unjustified can be challenging. Ghosting is something that can occur in any relationship, romantic or platonic.
The attempt to avoid a meaningful conversation and honest confrontation. Ghosting leaves the receiver in the dark, unable to understand what they did wrong or how they could have possibly avoided their rejection. Unless we recognize ghosting as the cowardly choice it is, it will remain a widespread tactic for ending relationships. It’s important to remember that ghosting is never the best or healthiest option.
The impact of ghosting
Ghosting has a devastating impact on the person left behind. It can create a sense of insecurity, emptiness, and loneliness. As the ghost is left without closure, it can trigger a fear of abandonment, never being enough, and never being seen or heard.
The mental repercussions of ghosting can include feelings of low self-worth, anxiety issues, and depression. Other impacts include a weakened trust in relationships and an inability to open up to others.
It’s also important to note that ghosting also affects the ghost well. Just as the ghost can attempt to fill the void left by their rejection, the one who ghosted can start to feel remorseful. They can struggle with guilt and regret, as they will never get the chance to understand the impact of their action.
In any relationship, it is essential to remember that ghosting is never the best or healthiest option for closure. It traumatizes the person left behind and can leave a lasting mark on one’s mental and emotional well-being.
Why do people ghost?
Though ghosting can be a traumatising experience for the person being ghosted, it is also a considerably unpleasant experience for the ghost.
So why do people resort to ghosting? Here are some of the reasons for ghosting in relationships:
- Fear of differentiation. Individuals who may fear the confrontation of ending a relationship healthily may resort to ghosting to avoid the risk of rejection.
- Insecurities. Individuals with issues with their self-worth or low esteem can also succumb to ghosting out of fear of how others may react to them.
- Conflict avoidance. Some people find it hard to confront complex issues directly. They may choose to ghost a relationship to eliminate any potential conflict.
- Self-preservation. Those who engage in ghosting can attempt to protect themselves from potential emotional distress.
Regardless of the reasons for ghosting, the practice typically hurts both the ghost and ghosted. It is not a healthy way to end a relationship.
Ghosting is selfish
Ghosting abruptly ends a relationship without any explanation or formal goodbye. This form of cowardly behaviour can be employed in any relationship, not just romantic ones. Although ghosts may think that ghosting is a way of avoiding any potential confrontation or awkwardness, it is not. Instead, it is a way of being inexplicably selfish.
Ghosting has a dramatic impact on the person who has been ghosted. It can cause loneliness, confusion, anger, sadness, and depression. It often leads to the person questioning their worth and value. It can also detrimentally affect their view of subsequent relationships, causing complications around forming real and meaningful connections.
Although individuals may resort to ghosting to avoid conflict, clarity and transparency should always be employed in any relationship, as this might be the best way of exiting the relationship honestly. Ghosting can often lead to more hurt and damage in the long run, leaving the person being ghosted with many unanswered questions and insecurities.
Ghosting is cowardly
Ghosting is arguably one of the most cowardly behaviours a person can exhibit when ending a relationship. It does not take potential hurtful words or any potential misplaced anger into account; it just protects the person doing the ghosting from having to face the consequences of their actions.
Ghosting implies a lack of respect for the other person and the relationship itself, as it shows that the person cannot be bothered even to try and find an amicable way to end things. It also implies an inability to compromise, understand the impact of their words and actions, or see the potential hurt caused by ghosting.
No matter how hard the conversation may be, it is always better to talk to the other person directly and honestly rather than resorting to ghosting. Although this might feel uncomfortable at the moment, it will help to ensure that the lines of communication remain open and can help to limit any potential hurt and damage.
Ghosting is unkind
Ghosting is fundamentally unkind. Drifting away from a relationship, ending it abruptly, or deciding to stop speaking or responding to another person is a kind of abandonment. It could leave the other person feeling bewildered and unwanted. Not only does it make them feel rejected, but it could also make them feel tricked as if they were taken for a “fool”.
This kind of cowardly behaviour does a great injustice to the other person. It disregards the effort and emotion the other person has invested in the relationship. Suddenly losing contact with another person can be traumatic and confusing. Even though ghosts may feel that they are giving ‘the other person a break’ by ghosting, it does the opposite, as it completely disregards the other person’s feelings and needs.
In a society where communication and connection are vital, ghosting should best be avoided. It can be confusing, hurtful, and damaging to the other person involved. Therefore, before deciding to ghost, think of how it would make the other person feel and try to devise a better solution.
So, what should you do instead?
Rather than ghosting someone, there are a few things you can do.
First, I would like you to be open. If you are no longer interested in the relationship, communicate your feelings. Be honest and communicate your reasons gracefully and compassionately. Furthermore, try to be considerate and allow others to discuss their feelings. Letting the other person know that you are no longer interested in the relationship should not be done suddenly and unexpectedly; instead, give the other person time to process and respect their feelings.
If you still need space, consider taking time away from the other person rather than completely cutting them off and ghosting. Such space would allow for breathing room and, simultaneously, build up courage and determination to communicate difficult conversations.
Finally, could you create closure? After communicating that the relationship will not progress, please ensure the other person understands the decision. If you two are still friends, could you explain your boundaries and how to interact? The closure will provide a better understanding of the situation so they can come to terms with it.
To sum up
Ghosting can be detrimental to the health of any relationship. It is always best to confront difficult conversations, to be honest, and considerate, to take some time if required, and to provide closure. Remember that ghosting is destructive and only appears to be a simple and easy solution; however, it will only complicate and prolong any relationship in the long run.
Maxwell E. Guttman, LCSW is a psychotherapist and owner of Recovery Now, a mental health private practice in New York City.