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What Is Ghosting and How Do I Deal With It?

Female sitting in the dark looking sadly at her phone

What is ghosting?

Ghosting occurs in the early stages of dating when a person stops talking to you and suddenly disappears without any explanation. Maybe you’ve been chatting online for a while or even met up in person and it seems to be going well. But then they simply stop replying to you. They disappear, just like a ghost!
Woman texting on her phone

Why does ghosting hurt?

Ghosting can be painful for the person who gets ghosted because they don’t know why the other person vanished. Left hanging without an explanation, the person who was ghosted might feel confused and start worrying if they did something wrong. This uncertainty can really harm a person’s self-esteem.

I’ve been ghosted. What now?

First things first, chin up. If you’re feeling confused, sad or disappointed, know that you’re not alone! With the rise of online dating apps, ghosting is becoming more and more common, with 13% to 23% of adults reporting that they’ve been ghosted by a romantic partner. 

But just because it’s quite common, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. If it’s taken its toll on your self-confidence, it’s time to get you feeling wonderful again: recall all of your previous dating successes, blast some confidence-boosting tunes and remember that it’s their loss!

It’s also important to remember that, in most cases, ghosting says a lot more about the other person (and their communication style) than it does about you.

Woman facing away from the camera

Why do people ghost?

There are a few reasons why people ghost:
  • To avoid confrontation: It’s no newsflash that rejecting someone feels uncomfortable for everyone involved. So, to avoid that confrontation and protect their own emotions, the person decides to remove themselves from your life without any explanation at all.
  • It’s the easy way out: Maybe they weren’t feeling a connection with you and instead of taking the time and effort to communicate that to you, they go for the low effort route: ignoring you completely.
  • They simply forgot to reply: Let’s be honest, life can be busy, stressful and tough at times. Maybe they’re going through a rough patch and dating is no longer their top priority. 
Woman looking distressed

What should I do instead of ghosting someone?

Maybe you’re not feeling a spark with someone you’ve been talking to or dating. Instead of ghosting them, try to communicate your feelings with them honestly and respectfully. Let them down gently and give them a reason. Although it might feel uncomfortable at the time, they will probably appreciate an honest explanation instead of you disappearing into thin air. Don’t know how to reject someone nicely? Try these: 
  • I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you but I just don’t see you in a romantic way.
  • I think you’re an awesome person but I’m looking for something else right now. 
  • It was really great talking to you but XYZ is a dealbreaker for me. I don’t see this working out but I wish you all the best!

Is ghosting ever acceptable?

Are we saying you should never suddenly cut all ties with someone without explanation? No, not quite. As we all know, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies in the online world. If you ever feel that you’re being threatened, harassed or manipulated by someone online, it’s 100% okay to prioritize your own boundaries, safety and mental health. Remove yourself from the situation completely by blocking them if necessary.
Woman standing and looking at her phone

There’s no denying that ghosting sucks. If you’ve been ghosted, it might take a while to get over it. But (like with everything) there’s a silver lining to being ghosted… 

If the person isn’t able to communicate openly, honestly and respectfully with you, they’re probably not the one for you anyway! Maybe it’s better the relationship ended sooner rather than later. You deserve better – let that ghost float away!

Curious about other online dating terms? Check out our complete guide to online dating terms so you can date with absolute confidence.



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