Raise your left hand if you think ghosting people is terrible.
Now raise your right hand if you’ve ghosted someone.
If you don’t have both hands up I’m going to have to call you a liar because everyone who hates ghosting has totally ghosted (me included). To ghost is human, to roll your eyes, sigh & forgive is divine.
The gift of ghosting
Ghosting is fabulous when we’re the ghoster. It’s so darn convenient – how could you not? No need to give explanations why we’re not feeling it. No need to hear their rationale for why we need to give it another shot. No tears, no guilt, no confrontation.
Regardless if it’s on the phone, by text or in person, it’s no fun telling someone there is no attraction. Usually we use a white lie – ‘I got back with my ex’ or ‘The timing isn’t right’ or ‘I need to focus on my career’ – a lie is supposed to hurt him less even though we know the lie is for our benefit (because by distancing ourselves from the truth we are able to avoid dealing with it).
Ghosting takes our desire to avoid the truth a step further because it lets us bypass the whole situation and tricks us into thinking, ‘If I ignore it, it will all disappear and I won’t have to deal with any of it.’
It’s the opposite. You’re just trading in one batch of crappy feelings for another. If you ghost you’ll have to deal with the guilt, dread and shame because you haven’t cut the cord properly. Each time his name shows up on your phone, and you press Ignore, you’re going to feel a pang of dread for ignoring him and not breaking it down for him so he can get over you and move on.
It’s wishful thinking that by dropping off the face of the Earth you will reduce his pain. You should know this by now because, when the tables are turned, you know getting ghosted decimates your feelings of self-worth. It hurts and confuses, and the silence smarts like an elastic band ricocheting off your heart.
We all know that agony of wondering “What happened?!?” Do I smell? Did he get back together with his ex? Did I do something wrong? Did he die????
So…to ghost or not to ghost?
The answer is: It depends on the situation.
If you met him randomly (e.g. bar, online), go ahead and ghost if you’ve only been on one or two dates. However, if he hasn’t picked up on the fact that you’re not interested and keeps contacting you, you should put him out of his misery. All you need to do is send him a text saying you don’t feel any chemistry.
Anything beyond three dates and you’ve both invested time and effort to get to know each other, and he deserves a heads-up that you’re no longer feeling it. If you don’t want a drawn-out conversation, you can preface the break-up with, “I considered ghosting you but decided the right thing to do is let you know how I feel…”
If you met him through a mutual friend or work colleague you have an obligation (regardless of how serious it got) to let him know you’re done. You need to make sure you’re not careless with your words either because the last thing you want to do is put your mutual friend or colleague in an awkward position.
Hell Hath no Worry like a Woman Ghosted
But how about if you’re not the ghoster but the one who gets ghosted? I have two suggestions…
First, remember you can’t control what other people do but you can control how you react to what they do. Easier said than done but it’s 100% true. You need to remember that he is but a blip in your life that is all but inconsequential. You are not responsible for teaching him that ghosting is the incorrect way of breaking up with someone and it is not your job to school him on the etiquette of breaking up. Your #1 responsibility is getting over this guy and moving on, and it will be easier to move on if you do not dwell on him.
Secondly, frame this ghosting experience as a lesson about loss and resilience, not love and happiness. We deal with setbacks, mistakes, and disappointments all throughout life. How do you pick yourself up and dust yourself off? What’s the best way to ‘go back to the drawing board’ with dignity? How can you make yourself stronger & better? Remember: “From the ashes of destruction grow the roses of success.” How will you grow those beautiful roses of yours?
Long-term (non) ghosting goals
You know that ghosting hurts hard but to ghost is human, to roll your eyes, sigh & forgive is divine. As such, don’t beat yourself up for doing it to others and don’t freak out when it’s done to you.
However, it may be worthwhile to remember, when you hide from a person or problem you are really running away from something inside you. Ask yourself what is it that’s stopping you from confronting it. Why do you want the problem to disappear without solving it? What is scaring you? What is attracting you to the types of guys always ghost you (or you always ghost)?