Ghosting – one of the most common phenomena in modern dating world that can push people to the serious world of anxiety and depression. That moment when the one you’re dating disappears without any explanation. They just break up the connection without so much as a email, text or a call, even if their disappearing act can have a damaging effect especially for those who have a fragile self-esteem.
But why do people ghost, how does it feel to be ghosted and how to move forward once you’ve realized that you’ve been ghosted.
Why do people ghost?
There are a lot of reasons that make people ghost but most of the time they are trying to avoid their own discomfort without thinking about the way the other one feels. They are more prone to ghosting the people they met online because there are fewer social consequences of their behavior.
People who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it makes the other person feel. The lack of mutual social connections for people who met online also means there are fewer social consequences of dropping out of another’s life. The more it happens, either to themselves or their friends, the more people become desensitized to it, and the more likely they are to do it to someone else. Here are the main reasons people avoid a direct confrontation and choose the avoidance strategy instead.
- Fear of unknown or emotional intimacy.
There are a lot of people that prefer to keep their emotional distance so whenever they begin to get attached or asked to be involved, their fear of emotional closeness activate. Fear of intimacy is one of the main reasons people decide to ghost but this is a long-term issue that is not very easy to overcome.
- Conflict avoidance.
Some people don’t feel comfortable when they upset or anger another person so they have an avoidance emotional response every time they need to get into an argument. They prefer to not see the other person ever again than to face a potential conflict or to cope with an angry response. Because of this, they might avoid any type of direct communication even if they are not selfish or flawed. They are emotional immature but they haven the chance to improve over time.
- Narcissistic personality style
Narcissistic people lack empathy so they don’t really care about the emotional pain of the other person. Lack of empathy and consideration for the other might be the main reason they decide to ghost you. Those who suffer from narcissism have different reasons they ghost. Sometimes they do it because they are bored, sometimes they want to gain more attention from the others and other times they might be having an affair. These people don’t consider ghosting a problem and they usually use this tactic to get their desired results.
- Lack of consequences.
Sometimes it’s just easier to drop everything and vanish, especially if you don’t have to take responsibility for the consequences. And this happens for most people that met online and don’t have a mutual social network. For them is easier to cut off contact than to cope with the other person’s reaction to an eventual breakup.
But ghosting is not only a phenomenon that occurs in casual dating. It can happen between friends and even co-workers. So, if the friend you usually hang up with, stops responding to your calls or texts and they don’t have something in their life that keeps them really busy, it’s possible that they decided they don’t want to be your friend anymore but found it to complicated to explain the whole situation.
When ghosting happens in the office it’s mostly because someone leaves the company or receives a promotion and want to avoid having a potential unpleasant conversation on this thread. They mostly believe that if they will ignore the other person long enough, they will eventually take the hint and leave them alone.
How to know if you’re being ghosted or if the other person is just temporarily too distracted to get back to you?
Here are some of the signs that you’re being ghosted:
If someone is usually responsive but all of a sudden, they stop texting you back or replying to your emails for an unusually long period of time, you are probably ghosted. If this happens, try to think if there is something you might have said that triggered their reaction or if there’s a major event in their life that made this emotional distance grow. Although ghosting might seem the easiest explanation, sometimes this silence can be something temporary, especially if it’s the result of a traumatic life event that left them grieving or a major work project that occupies all their time.
What should I do if I’ve been ghosted?
When someone suddenly disappears from your life, you might not be able to cope with the strong emotional response linked to the loss. Most people feel rejection when they’re being ghosted and sometimes even physical pain. Their self-esteem it’s affected and this might impact their future relationships, making them feel isolated or alienated.
How do I move on?
Although everyone has a different way to move on from ghosting, these advises might help you accept your feelings easier and cope with the situation better.
It is very important to learn how to set boundaries. Honesty and proper communication can help the other person know when lines are crossed, ensuring that your relationship is appropriate and based on mutual respect.
If you’re tired of waiting, give the other person an ultimatum. Even if it might seem harsh, it is the only way to restore the feelings of power and control and to gain closure in this relationship.
It is very important to not assume that it is your fault. Blaming yourself will cause further emotional harm and make you second-guess your worth. You don’t know why the other person decided to end the relationship so you have no evidence to automatically blame yourself.
Don’t try to cope withy the situation with substance abuse. Alcohol and drugs won’t numb the pain, they are only temporary fixes that will affect your general health without solving your situation.
The best way to cope with ghosting is to seek companionship of people whom you love and trust, experiencing positive relationships that might help you put this situation into perspective. If you believe that your friends and family can’t help you manage your feelings, seek the help of a therapist or a counselor. They can teach you the right coping strategies, helping you articulate your feelings as you get stronger and less affected by this situation.
Although none of the explanations above should excuse this behavior, ghosting became a trend in online world and affects more and more people. Don’t allow this behavior rob you of a better future and always keep your heart open and treat other people with kindness, respect and integrity.