Ghosting

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Ghosting

Kaylie Hill, Contributor

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When it comes to the current generation of Millenials and Gen Z internet-users, a lot of slang gets thrown around in conversation. One of these newer terms is “ghosting” which is defined by Urban Dictionary as “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.” This concept is not new. It has been around for as long as dating has existed, but more recently it has come to involve smartphones and social media. In today’s context, ghosting typically refers to ignoring someone’s phone calls and texts and/or blocking him/her on all forms of social media until he/she “gets the hint” that the relationship is terminated.

While many attempt to justify ghosting as the best possible way to have a non-confrontational breakup and avoid hurting the other person’s feelings, it in fact shows that the “ghoster” is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often causes more confusion for the “ghostee” than if the ghoster had just stated how they felt in the first place. Rather than sparing the other person’s feelings, the ghoster is instead trying to spare themself from their own emotional discomfort. In this way, the rate of ghosting is closely related to the ghoster’s maturity and communication skills.

Furthermore, short-term or online relationships are especially prone to ghosting. Because these two situations typically have a lack of social connections, people feel more inclined to ghost when there are less consequences. The more often a person ghosts someone, the more he/she becomes desensitized to what the other person is feeling, and it becomes more of an instinct to the ghoster. Unfortunately, nearly 50% of men and women alike have experienced ghosting and almost an equal number admit to doing the ghosting themselves.

For these individuals who have experienced ghosting, the emotional effects can be devastating. Many people describe it as one of the most traumatic dating experiences that leaves them feeling disrespected, used and disposable. Ghostees wonder what it is they did wrong that caused the person to ignore them. Some worry that the person is lying in a hospital bed somewhere, unable to answer their texts and calls. This is one of the worst parts of ghosting: the ambiguity. The ghostee is left with no social cue for how to react, and therefore he/she becomes powerless and unable to ask any questions. This social rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain, so the psychological bruises and scars remain long after the ghosting incident.

As unfortunate as being ghosted is, the important thing to remember is that it is not your fault, rather it is a matter of the other person’s maturity. On that note, there are many alternatives to ghosting that could be used instead. The most daunting yet meaningful option is to just rip off the band-aid and confront the person straightforward about the relationship. While this might seem scary, it is the best way to get your feelings across. If you only went on one or two dates, it may be safe to send a graceful text. Otherwise, longer relationships should be talked out. Make sure to be clear about your intentions from the beginning, especially if you have a history of ghosting. The important thing is to take responsibility for your actions and treat others how you would want to be treated. Ghosting leaves psychological trauma that may never be healed, so if you ever go on a date with someone, and there is not a connection, make sure to let them know how you feel instead of leaving them with no explanation.

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