This article was originally published here when I wrote for The Odyssey Online.
Ghosting, verb: the act of ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating/hooking up with/ talking to out of absolutely nowhere.
Examples: ceasing all text communication, deleting off of various social media, ignoring in public.
Allow me to be blunt: ghosting sucks. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to my friends, and it’s awful. I once spent an enjoyable night with someone who I wasn’t dating (and didn’t plan to), stayed up all night so he wouldn’t miss his flight the next day, and said a pleasant goodbye as I exited. It hadn’t even been my first visit with this particular person. No fighting, no drama, no strings attached. Three days later, I discovered he had deleted me off Snapchat AND Twitter, as well as ceased all text communication. Yeah, you know who you are. I hadn’t had any feelings for this guy, but it was still a slap in the face. I just didn’t get WHY someone I was on perfectly good terms with would just suddenly cut me off out of literally nowhere. It was unnecessary, it was cruel, and it was confusing. (Sidenote: he texted me again 3 weeks later and all I did was laugh.)
Months later, I found myself consulting a close friend after a guy she had been seeing suddenly decided to act like she didn’t exist. My advice was something I think everyone who has ever been “ghosted” needs to hear:
“Sometimes, there is no explanation for the shitty things people do. They just happen. It is in no way a reflection on you as a person, but instead a reflection of the fact that they’re kind of a jerk.”
What I never understood about ghosting is that it just happens out of the blue. One day everything’s fine, and the next day, poof. You’re staring at your phone, 4 days later, trying to assure yourself that it’s okay. They wouldn’t have just deleted you from their lives for no reason… right? If it was over, they would at least have the decency to call, text, have some sort of discussion. They wouldn’t just disappear. Once you realized that yes, that is exactly what happened, good luck trusting anybody ever again.
What makes ghosting so devastating is the uncertainty. It’s not like ending things normally goes- no one cheats, no one yells, there’s no argument, no talking it out, no clear-cut reason for calling something off. You just wake up and someone decides you no longer exist. You don’t even get to say “we broke up” or “we ended it” because there is no definite end. You spend days, sometimes weeks, trying to figure out if you’ve been ghosted. All you have is questions when all you want is answers.
“Ghosting” is worse than breaking up. It’s worse than cheating. It’s spineless, cowardly, and weak.