A Conscious Rethink

14 Reasons Why People Ghost (+ How To Get Over Being Ghosted)

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girl who has been ghosted looking at phone

In the internet age, dating has changed almost beyond all recognition.

With new technologies come new behaviors, and new terms to describe them.

If you’re out on the dating scene, you might well have experienced ‘ breadcrumbing ,’ ‘slow fading,’ ‘benching,’ or a whole host of other things.

But one of the worst is most definitely ghosting.

If you haven’t come across the term, then either you’re lucky enough to have never had it happen to you before, or you just didn’t realize that there was a name for it.

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you deal with being ghosted by someone you liked. You may want to try speaking to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

What Is Ghosting?

Ghosting is when someone just disappears.

You might even wonder whether they’ve died, because they will suddenly show no signs of life.

Hence the ghost.

Ghosting can happen at pretty much any stage of a relationship.

It’s most common when people meet online or on an app and exchange messages, and one or both of them decides to stop speaking to the other without any explanation or goodbye.

Ghosting is taken to the next level when you’ve met the person face to face.

Someone might do it to you after one date, but it can happen even when you’ve met several times.

I once dated a guy for about three months on and off, and one day he just stopped answering his phone or responding to messages.

Granted, I was moving countries in a couple of weeks, but still, it was more than a little bit rude, and I was left questioning what I’d done wrong, and wondering if he was okay.

And you hear some crazy ghosting stories….

I’ve heard of people having had a relationship that lasted for months and months, with declarations of undying love being made, only for the other person to completely drop off the face of the earth.

But, for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the less drastic versions of ghosting, rather than the people that disappear to get out of a long-term relationship.

If you’ve been messaging someone or have been on a few dates and they disappear on you, why might that be?

And, if you really liked the person that’s ghosted you, how can you move on, process it, and not let it dent your confidence?

Read on to find out everything you need to know about ghosting.

Why Do People Ghost?

1. they don’t fancy you..

This might seem like a slightly brutal note to start on, but it’s important to accept that, whilst there might be all kinds of reasons why someone goes quiet on you, it’s likely they were not that into you in the first place.

That’s no reflection on you. It doesn’t mean you’re unlovable or undesirable. It just means that you weren’t their cup of tea, and that they weren’t right for you.

Accepting that fact will help you to move on from the situation faster than if you spend time dwelling on why it was that they never texted you back.

h3>2. They’re not good with confrontation.

Many of us will do absolutely anything we can to avoid a confrontation… with anyone, about anything.

I, myself, have been guilty of avoiding a situation and hoping against hope it will just go away so I won’t have to face up to it.

That doesn’t mean it’s the right way to behave, but it might go some way to explaining why someone might ghost you.

They’re not trying to be mean to you as such; they’re just incapable of biting the bullet and are firmly sticking their head in the sand.

3. They don’t want to hurt your feelings.

This one might seem illogical, but when have we humans ever been particularly logical creatures?

A person may convince themselves that disappearing will hurt your feelings less than sending a message telling you that they’re not interested in carrying things on.

It’s easy for someone to believe that they’re ghosting you for your benefit, despite the fact that the opposite is true.

4. They want an easy way out.

They’re not willing to take the time to put together a message or meet you face to face to tell you they don’t think it’s going to work out.

They see ghosting as the easy option, and they’ll happily take it.

5. They’ve lied to you.

Some people may lie to you via message or on your first couple of dates, about absolutely anything, from their job to their likes to their financial status.

If this is the case, and they know they can’t keep it up, they might have decided to ghost you rather than coming clean.

6. They’re busy.

We’re all busy people.

If they’ve got a lot going on in their life and are dating or talking to a few potential love interests at once, you might have just slipped through the cracks.

Whilst the truth is that they probably weren’t that interested either, they might not have deliberately ghosted you.

7. They can.

Modern technology is wonderful in a lot of ways, but it does, unfortunately, give anyone who wants it the opportunity to just disappear, rather than being honest with someone they’ve been dating.

This is particularly true if you’ve met someone online.

Traditionally, we’d all meet people through work or mutual friends, meaning that we couldn’t just disappear because we’d see the other person around and have people asking questions.

But if you can be sure that you won’t bump into someone you’ve met online, and don’t have any friends in common, then you can ghost them without having to worry about the consequences, and some people take full advantage of that.

8. They’re tired of dating.

Have you ever been on a real dating spree, going on lots of first dates, and then suddenly just not been able to face making the effort anymore?

That might be an explanation for why someone you’ve been dating has suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth.

9. They’ve got back with an ex.

If they’ve been telling you horrible things about their ex and then decide to get back with them, they’re going to be a bit embarrassed about it.

So, they might just decide not to give you an explanation at all.

10. They’ve met someone else.

It’s pretty normal for single people to be seeing multiple love interests at once, and it might be that they’ve decided to make things exclusive with one of those other people.

In an ideal world, they’d let you know about it, but unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, so this could be the reason they’ve suddenly gone silent on you.

11. They’ve got a lot going on.

If you’re going through a rough patch with your family, or with your mental health, the last thing you need is to be trying to maintain a new relationship.

It could be that the person you’ve been seeing has some big stuff going on in their life, meaning they just don’t have the mental space to dedicate to you right now.

The two of you haven’t got to a stage where they feel they can discuss these things with you, so they’ve just blocked you out instead.

12. They’re intimidated by you.

So, you’ve been chatting, or you’ve been on a date or two, and they’ve realized that the two of you are not on the same page.

You’re doing well with your life and career and have got your ducks in a row, or you’ve achieved a lot, and this makes them think that you’re out of their league.

But they don’t know how to explain that to you in a message or to your face, so they opt for the silent treatment instead.

13. They didn’t like something you did.

The fact that they’re ghosting you could be the result of something you said or did that didn’t sit well with them.

You might have a good idea of what that was, but you might not have a clue.

Either way, don’t worry. Hard as it might be to accept, you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

14. They’re inconsiderate.

Whatever their reasons for ghosting you, it’s not a nice thing to do.

They’re not particularly considerate of your feelings and don’t want to put themselves out for your benefit by ending things, so you can be very sure that you’ve dodged a bullet.

How To Get Over Being Ghosted

1. make sure you have been ghosted..

It’s been a few days or weeks since you’ve heard from them.

Before you totally give up on things, and if you haven’t already, make one last attempt to get in contact with the person you’ve been seeing.

Check in casually and ask how they are and if they’d seen that you’d called or messaged.

If they still haven’t got back to you within a few days, it’s time to accept that you’ve been ghosted.

(Optional) Feel free to send them a message letting them know that you’ve accepted it’s over, but that you’d wish they’d been honest with you rather than behaving so rudely.

2. Don’t be tempted to try to stage a meeting.

You’ve got to accept the situation and put it behind you.

Going to places you know they hang out and staging ‘coincidental’ meetings to remind them of your existence isn’t going to change anything.

Make a conscious decision to focus your energies on you, rather than putting any more effort into a dead relationship with a person who clearly doesn’t value you.

3. Take time to be sad.

It’s okay to be upset.

It’s okay to cry.

It’s okay to need a hug.

Even if it was early days, you might have been really excited about this person, so don’t be harsh on yourself for getting upset about it.

4. Acknowledge that it’s their problem, not yours.

The first step toward getting over being ghosted is to not blame yourself in any way, shape, or form.

Unless you behaved inappropriately, you didn’t do anything to deserve being ghosted.

It’s entirely their problem.

Try to steer yourself away from the temptation to blame yourself, and don’t waste time wondering what you could have done differently.

5. Move on, but don’t rebound.

Moving on and dating other people can be great when you’re ready…

…so long as you’re not getting desperate and just trying to find someone to date at all costs, no matter how unsuitable they might be.

Make sure you’re keeping those standards high, and not just dating in order to fill a ghost-shaped hole.

6. Focus on you.

Whether you choose to take a break from dating or go back to it, the focus needs to be on you.

Make sure you’re not compromising on time spent doing all the things you love and that you’re spending plenty of time with your friends and family.

Take the time to talk the situation through with people you trust, but make sure it’s not your main focus.

Focus your attentions on the good stuff in life whenever you can.

And, don’t forget to make sure you’re sleeping and eating well and getting some exercise.

7. Do unto others.

Many people complain about being ghosted and then go and do the very same thing to the next person they date.

If you want to break the vicious cycle and feel better about your dating life, you need to treat the people you meet with the same consideration that you’d want to be treated with.

Don’t succumb to the temptation to ghost any future dates, no matter how awkward you might feel.

Always be upfront and remember how it felt when it happened to you.

Still struggling to understand why you were ghosted? It’s not an easy situation to be in, and it might be all the more difficult if you don’t have anyone to talk to about it. Talking to someone is a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.

Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can listen to you and offer tailored advice to help you move on from being ghosted without it affecting your confidence.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

While you can try to work through this situation yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

You may also like:

  • 18 Reasons Why You’re Still Single, When You Don’t Want To Be
  • How To Get Over A Crush: 12 Tips To Help You Move On
  • Why Do Men Pull Away And Withdraw?
  • 18 Important First Date Tips After Meeting Someone Online
  • How To Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work: 20 Key Pieces Of Advice
  • When And What To Text After A First Date

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About The Author

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Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.

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Being Ghosted: Why It Happens and How to Cope

Barbara is a writer and speaker who is passionate about mental health, overall wellness, and women's issues.

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Verywell / Laura Porter

Why Do People Ghost?

  • How to Cope

What Does Ghosting Say About a Person?

Is ghosting emotional abuse.

Ghosting occurs when someone you are dating or getting to know disappears without a trace. This could happen at the very beginning of a relationship or in the middle of one, whether in person or online. Dealing with being ghosted is incredibly difficult—especially because you usually don't know the cause or know how to react.

The person suddenly quits all contact with you—they won’t respond to texts, emails, calls, or social media messages. The mental health effects of being on the receiving end of these actions can be very challenging.

Learn more about why people ghost and how to move forward if it happens to you or someone you know.

People ghost for a variety of reasons. Relationship experts and psychologists agree that people who ghost are avoiding an uncomfortable situation. This evasion, while perceived as a lack of regard, is often because they feel it’s the best way to handle their own distress or inability to clearly communicate .

Ghosters themselves admit they don’t want to hurt you or they don’t know what to do. Sometimes they don’t think discussing a situation was necessary or they became scared. Ghosting is a passive way to withdraw.

But some ghosters perceive that to disappear completely might actually be the easiest and best way to handle the situation for all. Others ghost because now that it’s common, it’s an almost justifiable way to exit a relationship nowadays.

In today’s dating culture, being ghosted and ghosting is common.

How to Cope When You've Been Ghosted

It's not always easy, and it often takes time, but there are things you can do to start to feel better even if you've been ghosted by someone in your life.

Rid Yourself of Blame

After someone disappears suddenly, it’s hard to not feel regret, embarrassment and shame. After all, you risked for the sake of growth and it backfired. While ghosting feels so personal, it’s not about you. It’s about them.

Because you usually can’t find a cause and there is no explanation furnished, you may blame yourself. You might want to put up walls so you don’t get hurt again in the future. Or you may tell your friends you will stop dating completely, using a cognitive distortion like all-or-nothing thinking .

Now is the time to regroup, be kind to yourself and take a break. You are not to blame for someone walking away without a peep. Nor is it your fault that the other person couldn’t maturely give you the truth.

Nix the Shame

Shame comes about sometimes when we are reminded of previous rejections. But is ghosting rejection?

Meredith Gordon Resnick, LCSW

Ghosting carries an echo of old rejection. It's painful because it activates—and emulates—a previous hurt or betrayal by someone we didn't just think we could trust but whom we had to trust, often during our formative years. Here's the catch: It's not necessarily about the betrayal but about our not having processed and integrated that early memory, and what it meant to us.

Resnick, whose trauma-informed books about recovery from the effects of narcissistic relationships have helped tens of thousands of readers, reassures those who were ghosted and bids them to take care.

“Understood this way, we can see why self-compassion is in order,” she says. “Being dropped and feeling unseen is always painful, and there is never shame or embarrassment in feeling what is real.”

Choose Self-Care

How do you move forward? You need self-compassion and self-care. Invest in time with friends and family who can support you. Also, you might indulge in activities that make you happy like taking a yoga class or returning to a hobby that you love. You can also try homeopathic treatments or acupuncture.

Elena Klimenko, MD, and Integrative Medicine Specialist sometimes uses a "broken heart" homeopathic treatment for a heartfelt loss . She says, “In traditional Chinese medicine like acupuncture, the heart meridian—which starts at the heart and runs to the armpits, then down each arm—is responsible for heartfelt matters and some deep emotions. Proper acupuncture treatment can also facilitate recovery and take the edge off the difficult feelings."

When you think of the ghoster, be sure to reframe your ideas about them and the relationship. After all, they violated the contract of what it takes to be in a mature, healthy relationship. That includes mutual respect, good communication and thoughtfulness. Therefore, this wasn’t the right person for you, anyway.

Build Resilience

David C. Leopold, MD DABFM, DABOIM, and Network Medical Director for Integrative Health and Medicine at Hackensack Meridian Health says, “When patients experience any emotional or mental health challenges, I focus on helping them build resilience and enhancing their self-compassion and self-care."

Dr. Leopold uses a comprehensive approach, including engaging in physical activity, prioritizing sleep, optimizing nutrition, cultivating meaning and purpose, and, reducing stress through practices like mindfulness and meditation.” 

Therefore, if you’re emotionally exhausted and stressed, where do you start in taking care of yourself? “Multiple studies clearly show that eating healthy improves mental health—reducing stress, anxiety and even depression. And any form of exercise, even just walking, is a potent natural anti-depressant,” says Leopold. 

If you’re ruminating too much, use an app to increase mindfulness or begin a meditation practice . Leopold suggests you don’t forget about finding meaning and purpose. “Studies show focusing on meaning and purpose increases oxytocin, our 'feel good' hormone, which increases feelings of connection and improves mood.” Overall, he advises that you take this time “as an opportunity to focus on you and enriching your resilience.”

Despite ghosting being normalized, it's more about the problem the ghoster is having than it is about you. Ghosting says a lot about the person in many different ways. For instance, it could say that they lacked the courage to do the right thing by explaining why they could no longer continue a relationship with you.

The person or people who ghosted you didn’t treat you with integrity, therefore, did not consider the implications of their actions. It could also signal that they may not care about their actions and are inconsiderate or unreliable.

Or, it could be none of the above. The ghoster may be dealing with a mental health or medical condition (of a loved one or their own) that is making it difficult for them to reach out at the current time.

Whatever the case may be, being ghosted is not a reflection on you or your worthiness. Nor should it render you powerless.

Ghosting is a form of silent treatment, which mental health professionals have described as emotional cruelty or even emotional abuse if done so intentionally. You feel powerless and silenced. You don't know to make sense of the experience or have an opportunity to express your feelings.

This cowardly act, unfortunately pretty normalized by our culture, can cause immense pain. As you have no clue about what happened, your mind first jumps to many possibilities. Was your new love interest injured in a car accident? Is their family okay? Maybe it’s just a crazy busy time at work and they will contact you again soon? 

You might feel a wave of different emotions: sadness, anger , loneliness , confusion. Mental health professionals find that no response is especially painful for people on an emotional level. You feel helpless and shunned without information that could guide your understanding.

Being ghosted might result in exhibiting a variety of negative emotions and questioning yourself. Don't play the blame and shame game. Hold your head up high, hold onto your dignity, and let them go. Someone better could be out there looking for you.

Practice self-care and build your resilience during this painful time. If you’re still struggling to cope after being ghosted by a romantic interest, a friend, or someone in the workplace, reach out to a doctor or a mental health professional for assistance.

Press Play for Advice On Dealing With Negative Emotions

Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to stay mentally strong when you're dealing with negative emotions. Click below to listen now.

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By Barbara Field Barbara is a writer and speaker who is passionate about mental health, overall wellness, and women's issues.

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The ultimate guide to ghosting: why people do it, how to respond & more.

Kelly Gonsalves

Your date from last weekend still hasn't texted you back about hanging out again. A promising new lead at work suddenly stopped responding after you shared your rates. The guy on Facebook Marketplace who offered to buy your old television just never came to pick it up, and you never heard from him again.

It comes in many different forms, but the experience of being ghosted is universal. And most of us would probably agree: ghosting sucks.

What is ghosting?

Ghosting is when someone stops responding to messages and disappears from a relationship without explanation, usually in the context of dating. The term can also be used for any situation where a person abruptly stops communicating or showing up, such as when a friend starts ignoring your texts or when an employee just stops showing up to work without ever formally quitting.

"Ghosting exists on a spectrum and can happen at literally any part of dating, from disappearing from a chat on a dating app and unmatching, to leaving your text messages on 'Read' after a date, to cutting off all communication with you after years of dating," explains sex and dating coach Myisha Battle, M.S. "All of this is ghosting behavior."

Many relationship experts discourage ghosting because of the way it affects the person being ghosted. "It leaves the other person to guess at what they did or didn't do to cause you to ditch them. That guessing is the specter that looms in people's lives after a disappearance," Battle tells mbg.

According to clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D. , that lack of closure can trigger feelings of uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, and even reduced self-esteem in the person being ghosted. "In general, ghosting is disrespectful and tends to perpetuate patterns of dismissiveness and avoidance," she says.

13 examples of ghosting:

  • Ignoring or choosing not to respond to someone's texts or emails indefinitely
  • Leaving someone's text messages on "Read"...forever
  • Going on a date with someone and then never speaking with them again, despite them trying to follow up
  • Unmatching with someone on a dating app in the middle of a conversation without explanation
  • No longer responding to a friend or someone you'd been talking with regularly, even when they reach out multiple times trying to get in touch
  • Suddenly cutting off all communication with someone after dating for months or even years
  • Intentionally responding slowly, briefly, or noncommittally to texts so they eventually stop reaching out
  • Setting up a date with someone and just not showing up, with no explanation, follow-ups, or apology
  • Interviewing someone for a job and then never letting them know if they didn't get the position
  • Quitting your job without telling your employer
  • Suddenly stopping showing up to your sessions with a therapist, personal trainer, etc., without telling them that you're no longer wanting to work with them
  • Scheduling an appointment but then never showing up, without warning or explanation
  • Sending someone a DM but then never saying anything else after they respond

How the term became popularized.

The phenomenon of ghosting has likely been around since the dawn of time. Consider the cavewomen who had to start getting choosy with their sexual partners because they didn't want to birth a child with someone who could disappear without a trace shortly thereafter, or the lovelorn man in Colonial times pouring his heart out in handwritten letters to some distant lover, only to never hear back. Many a '90s rom-com, too, featured a despondent leading lady hovering over a landline telephone for days on end, waiting hopelessly for the guy who took her out a few days ago to call her up and ask her out again. (He often never did.)

While the behavior itself isn't new, the term "ghosting" itself rose to popularity in the early 2010s. In 2015, after online tabloids ran headlines about how Charlize Theron "ghosted" Sean Penn , the New York Times even wrote an explainer on the term, calling it "the ultimate silent treatment." Merriam-Webster added it to the dictionary in 2017.

It makes sense that ghosting would get a lot of people talking around this time: With technology rapidly transforming the speed and ease with which people could communicate with one another, ghosting behavior likely felt even more pronounced than ever. While mailing a letter just to reject someone may have been legitimately too much time and effort back in the day, the fact that people were still disappearing on each other without a trace even now that a kinder closure was literally just a few quick button taps away...harsh!

Dating apps were also just beginning to enter into the cultural mainstream, with Tinder launching in 2012. (Though to be fair, what's often thought of as the world's first online dating site, Match.com , launched in 1995, and we can only imagine people ghosted one another as much then as they do on today's best dating apps .)

In a world where it can feel like you have nearly endless potential people to chat with, it's become easier than ever to start talking to someone regardless of whether you're actually interested in continuing the conversation with them over time. People start to feel like just pictures on your screen rather than real-life humans whose feelings you have to care about. And more starts with less follow-through (and less care) unfortunately means more ghosting.

Why do people ghost?

There are so many reasons why people ghost , but here are a few of the main ones specific to dating:

They've moved on, and they don't care enough about the other person to tell them.

In most cases, people ghost because they're no longer interested in pursuing a relationship with the other person. Instead of telling them that upfront, they go for the easiest and most convenient route: just stop responding.

"Ghosting arises due to a lack of concern and empathy for others," Manly explains, and she notes that this is true in most ghosting situations. It's selfish, passive-aggressive behavior that is grounded, as Manly notes, in dismissiveness and avoidance.

They got too busy or stressed.

The other most common reason for ghosting? They just have a lot going on in their own life.

"Sometimes when people ghost us, it's because they are focused on other things or may be isolating themselves because they are feeling depressed," marriage and family therapist Patrice N. Douglas, LMFT , previously told mbg. "Everything isn't always about us, so we can't panic right away."

They may honestly just be too busy at the moment and distracted by other life happenings, Manly notes, such as work stress, mental health issues, or other challenges. And sometimes a person may forget to respond to a text initially or plan to respond to it later when they have time or energy, but then enough time passes that they feel like there's no point in saying anything anymore.

They're worried about hurting the other person's feelings.

In some cases, people ghost because they don't want to hurt the other person's feelings, Manly adds. But if that's why you're choosing to ghost someone, the truth is that it's counterproductive: "Unfortunately, being ghosted often causes far more irritation and pain than straightforward 'I'm moving on' or 'We're not a good fit' comments might create," she says.

They're uncomfortable with hard conversations.

Ghosting can also happen when someone is just anxious about ending the relationship because they struggle with hard conversations in general. According to licensed counselor Shae Ivie-Williams, LPC, BC-TMH, CCTP , people with certain backgrounds may be more likely to ghost: "[They] may not want to have those hard conversations because maybe their family didn't have hard conversations when they were young," she previously told mbg. "And so having those types of conversations involves vulnerability." 

But even though people may find it uncomfortable to reject someone, they may be making it worse by opting to ghost: "It also doesn't feel great to be the ghoster!" Battle points out. "Most people experience some amount of guilt for ghosting."

She adds, "I have coached people on how to communicate more directly rather than ghost. Most of the time it feels harder initially, but much better afterward compared to ghosting. I've even had cases where the other person has thanked my client for not ghosting them!"

It's a power play.

Sometimes a person may choose to ghost someone because they enjoy the sense of power it gives them over the situation, says Manly. This may especially be true if the "ghoster" feels like they were wronged by the other person or if they just think the other person is a jerk, loser, or otherwise unworthy of their time. It can also just be an attempt to feel powerful, at another person's expense.

They're concerned for their own safety.

Last but not least, both Manly and Battle note there's actually one valid reason for ghosting: fearing for one's safety. "If a person is afraid that they are in an emotionally or physically dangerous situation, ghosting is often the safest exit strategy," says Manly. A person may be concerned that the other person may respond poorly to rejection by lashing out, and so leaving quietly feels like the safer thing to do.

How long does it take before it's ghosting?

There's not a set amount of time it takes before it's considered ghosting, and it doesn't matter how long you've known the person. If they stop communicating with you completely without a word despite your follow-ups, it's ghosting.

As far as how long to wait before moving on and assuming the ghost is officially gone, it depends. "If it is someone you recently met, it can be two weeks before it's time to move on. If it's a longer relationship, it ranges up to a month," says Douglas. "It truly depends on the circumstances around what was occurring before the ghosting occurred. Sometimes people just need space, and it's up to your comfort level of the time frame you want to allow for space."

Do people ever come back after ghosting?

Yes, people can sometimes come back after ghosting. This is sometimes referred to as getting  zombied , i.e., someone first ghosts you but then reappears out of nowhere as if nothing happened.

Even if a person does come back after ghosting, it's important to get clarity as to why they disappeared and why they're suddenly coming back before you decide whether to let them back into your life. They may have just honestly been busy at the time of their disappearance and earnestly want to give it another go dating you, or they could just be bored and lonely and using you to fill the time—with all intentions of ghosting you again later.

Should I reach out to the person who ghosted me?

You absolutely can! If the person who ghosted you is someone you're legitimately interested in or whose disappearance has really hurt you, you can reach out to them to ask what's going on. They may respond and give you a good explanation for their behavior, and if they're genuinely interested in you, you may even be able to pick the relationship back up.

"If you ghosted because of a personal reason that you just didn't know how to address with the other person, you can try to open the conversation again and let them know what happened," says Battle. "Starting from a place of honesty and vulnerability could help reanimate a previously ghosted connection."

However, there's also a chance that you reach out to the person who ghosted you, and they continue to be unresponsive. If nothing else, that will tell you all you need to know about how that person really feels about you.

Is ghosting abuse?

"Ghosting can certainly be emotionally abusive in nature," Manly says. "Especially if the relationship was deeply connective or promises were made, the person who was ghosted can certainly suffer from significant anxiety and depression related to the ghosting incident."

Is ghosting ever OK?

Yes, ghosting is OK in situations where you're concerned about the other person lashing out at you for rejecting them. "In cases where people are jerks to you, cross your boundaries in some way, or display characteristics that feel unsafe for you to engage with them again, ghosting might be the best option," Battle says.

How to respond to ghosting.

How you respond to ghosting depends on what you want out of the situation and out of your relationship with this person.

If you're not interested in this person anymore, just leave it be and move on. You really don't need to say anything to them, and the sooner you can get them out of your head , the better.

If this is a person you are still interested in dating or having in your life, just reach out again one more time and ask what's going on. Be direct.

Here are some things you can say:

  • "Hey! Haven't heard from you in a while. Are you still down to hang out again?"
  • "Hey, stranger. I miss you! Everything OK?"
  • "Hey, are you still interested in getting to know each other? It's OK if not—just wanna know what's going on!"
  • "Hey! I haven't heard from you in a while. I've been enjoying hanging out and would love to get together again. Where's your head at?"
  • "Hi, I know you've been really busy lately, but can you let me know if everything's OK?"

How they respond will tell you everything you need to know. If they're still interested, they'll respond positively—maybe they'll apologize, maybe they'll have a legitimate explanation for why they've been unresponsive lately, and ideally they'll show some indication that they want to keep getting to know you. If they're not interested, this will be their opportunity to let you know. And if they don't respond again—well, that's them letting you know they're truly done.

The takeaway.

When in doubt, talk it out. If you think someone is ghosting you, reach out one more time and ask them directly about what's going on and whether they're still interested in pursuing things with you. If you don't hear from them, it's time to move on.

And remember: While rejection stings, ghosting is almost always much more about the ghost's issues than it is about issues with the person being ghosted. In fact, getting ghosted says essentially nothing about you.

"Having someone ghost you says infinitely more about them than it does about you," spiritual teacher Monica Berg writes at mbg . "You're getting a firsthand look at how this person, who just days ago was so marvelous, actually handles their emotions, your emotions, and difficult circumstances in general. 'Runs away at any sign of conflict' typically doesn't make anyone's list of dream qualities in a partner, and you got to see that clearly and upfront."

And if you're the one doing the ghosting? Unless there are safety concerns at play, please know there are much better ways to reject people . Be brave, be kind, and be upfront. Don't ghost. 

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Why People Ghost — and How to Get Over It

Time to go ghostbusting.

By Adam Popescu

Something strange happened at the coffee shop the other day. The gentleman in line in front of me — mid-40s, suit, bad haircut — ordered a latte. “Whole milk,” he said before changing to half and half, then almond milk. “For here,” he mumbled, then shook his head. “No. To go.”

I ordered an espresso. Our drinks arrived at the same time and I picked up mine, added sugar, sat, sipped. The latte remained at the counter, the barista calling his name over and over. But the man in the suit was gone. Why would someone order a drink and disappear?

Ghosting — when someone cuts off all communication without explanation — extends to all things, it seems. Most of us think about it in the context of digital departure: a friend not responding to a text, or worse, a lover, but it happens across all social circumstances and it’s tied to the way we view the world.

Asking for a beverage and then jetting may not seem equal to ditching an unwanted romance, but it’s really the same behavior. Uncomfortable? Just don’t respond. A ghost is a specter, something we think is there but really isn’t. We’ve all probably acted like this if we’re honest. We’ve all probably been ghosted, too, though sometimes we probably didn’t notice. These are supernatural times.

Last week, my sister and I got in an argument and her boyfriend didn’t text me back — a micro-ghost move.

“There are different levels of ghosting,” said Wendy Walsh, a psychology professor named one of Time’s 2017 people of the year for her whistle blowing that helped promote the #MeToo movement. My sister’s boyfriend is what Dr. Walsh calls lightweight ghosting. Midweight is when you’ve met a person a handful of times and you engage in deep avoidance , which hurts their feelings more. “Third wave is the heavyweight, when you’ve entered a sexual relationship and you leave, blindsiding the other.”

The pace of modern life makes it hard enough to maintain real life friendships; it’s impossible to actually be friends with everyone you’re supposedly simpatico with online. (Here’s a good test: How many of your Facebook friends are real? If you’ve met someone once and now they’re on your feed for life, get rid of them! If a friendship feels like too much work, maybe it is. The good ones shouldn’t feel like a chore on your to-do list, or that one side is doing all the communicating). Sometimes the best course is to let someone go, even if you were once close. Growing apart can be a friendship’s natural evolution; ditto for lovers, an even touchier discourse. But it’s the way you let go that matters.

Belief, destiny and growth

Studies have shown that social rejection of any kind activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain, meaning there’s a biological link between rejection and pain. That goes for friends, partners and, if it had feelings, that lonely latte.

Staying connected to others has evolved as a human survival skill. Our brains have what’s called a social monitoring system that uses mood, people and environmental cues to coach us how to respond situationally. But when you get ghosted, there’s no closure, so you question yourself and choices which sabotages self-worth and self-esteem.

That ambiguity, said the psychologist Jennice Vilhauer , is the real dagger. She calls ghosting a form of the silent treatment akin to emotional cruelty (the pain it causes can be treated with Tylenol, according to multiple studies ). So, how do you avoid it in the first place?

“Well, I think I’m particularly choosy about who I tend to interact with,” said Dr. Vilhauer, the former head of Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center psychotherapy program. “You can get a sense early on of what kind of individual you’re dealing with.”

There’s no checklist, but watching how people treat others is a good indicator.

“Ghosting has a lot to do with someone’s comfort level and how they deal with their emotions,” she added. “A lot of people anticipate that talking about how they feel is going to be a confrontation. That mental expectation makes people want to avoid things that make them uncomfortable.”

When it comes to complex relationships, the ease and sheer volume of choice is making us numb emotionally, Dr. Vilhauer said.

“In the dating world where people are meeting a lot of people outside of their social circles, that creates a level of feeling that you don’t have a lot of accountability if you ghost someone,” she said. “Their friends don’t know your friends so it’s easy to do if you’re never going to run into them again in real life.”

What we really want

According to Dr. Vilhauer, who is in a long-term relationship that began on a dating site, the flip side is a subset of the population looking for real connection.

“People are craving authenticity,” she said. For those looking for love in online emotional echo chambers, “the more you date, the more it feels unsuccessful, the more you get discouraged.”

She added: “Being vulnerable is the number one thing that creates intimacy between people and if you worry about being hurt all the time, you’re not able to be vulnerable and it affects the quality of connection.”

That fear is the same thing causing so much ghosting, said Gili Freedman , who studies the language of rejections at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. One eyebrow-raising tip she offers when you’ve made a mistake and ghosted someone is to not say “Sorry .” Why, I wondered? It only makes the injured party feel more aggrieved, she said.

In a 2018 paper , Dr. Freedman discovered ghosting has a lot to do with how we feel about our future — or whether we think our mate is the “one,” which is a question of belief versus destiny. Either someone believes the relationship is capable of growing or they’re seeking an archetypal partner (what’s typically called a soul mate).

“Individuals who have stronger destiny beliefs are more likely to ghost,” she said. “If you’re with someone and you realize they’re not the one for me, you’re going to think it’s not much of a point to put in the effort, so you ghost. These people believe relationships are either going to work out or not.”

Those with less of a fixed mind-set exhibit fewer feelings of helplessness and express themselves in conflicts with romantic partners.

Her work’s most counterintuitive finding?

“People seemed to think it was more acceptable to ghost in a friendship than a romantic relationship regardless of destiny of growth belief,” Dr. Freedman said. “We think of friendship as these long lasting relationships that provide social support and it’s interesting to think people are saying it’s a little better if you do it in a friendship. How you look at relationships affects how you look at ghosting.”


“It’s really important to remember if someone ghosts you that behavior says more about them than you,” Dr. Vilhauer said. “It’s about their discomfort. You have to keep trying.”

One way to avoid this cycle is modifying how we reject people, suggests Dr. Freedman.

Don’t apologize, she said, but be honest about boundaries, whether it’s going to a movie with someone or spending the rest of your life together. Just be real.

“The good middle ground is explicitly rejecting someone and telling them ‘no,’ not ‘I’m sorry,’” she said.

It may sound harsh, but it’s better than being left in limbo. That may be why so many daters don’t get the hint and keep texting. That ostracism leads to rage, frustration and further alienation.

“If you’re apologizing, you’re enforcing a social norm and if you say ‘sorry,’ it’s very normal to say ‘that’s O.K., I forgive you,’” she said.

Taking a risk to tell someone how you really feel — even if it’s not what they want to hear — has benefits. Self-esteem, stress, blood pressure, spending more time with people you care about. And getting that time back opens up self-discovery. Maybe you’ll find what makes you most fulfilled is nature , which promotes alpha brain waves, fuels creativity and reduces depression (my personal fix).

Perspective can be a good path to empathy, Dr. Walsh said. Our always-on culture has eroded a lot of empathy, which is why we find ourselves stepping on each others’ feelings. Yet for all the choice, we’re all still seeking connections. The power of the internet and its ease in upsetting our lives is only poised to grow. It’s how we use this intoxicant that will determine its impact.

“We are wired to bond,” Dr. Walsh said. “The phenomenon of love, our greatest drug and delusion evolved for two people to get together and have offspring. The great survivors will be the ones who still figure out love.”

Adam Popescu is a Los Angeles writer whose debut novel, “ Nima ,” based on his BBC reporting from Mount Everest, publishes in May. Follow him @ adampopescu .

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When Is It OK to Ghost Someone?

Learn when disappearing from a relationship might be in your best interest..

Posted March 10, 2019 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

Bigstock with Permission

In 2015, I wrote an article on " Why Ghosting Hurts So Much ," hoping to encourage people to be a little kinder and more respectful of one another. Since then, I have received a large number of comments and emails from both those who have ghosted and those who have been ghosted, all wanting to share their stories. What is clear: This is a confusing and very emotionally charged topic on both sides, and indeed there are times when ghosting is an appropriate response to a situation.

Ghosting is defined as cutting off all communication and dropping out of someone’s life without an explanation of any kind . There are many situations when cutting off communication with someone is acceptable, necessary, and the healthiest thing to do. Ending a relationship with someone is almost always painful in some respects—one person will likely experience rejection, and the rejecter may feel guilty—but in my prior article , I explain the psychological reasons why it is the lack of explanation unique to ghosting that creates so much emotional distress. It is specifically the lack of clarity about the situation that can escalate someone’s emotional response from the disappointment that a relationship did not work out to distress over not having any information to understand what happened.

Most relationships in our lives will have a beginning and an end. People evolve, circumstances change, friends come and go from our lives. It's all part of the human experience. It isn’t necessary or even expected much of the time that we provide an explanation for the natural drift that occurs in many relationships.

It is in the established relationships, where there is an expectation and desire to continue the relationship by one of the parties, that it becomes exceedingly painful and distressful when someone disappears without explanation. What establishes a relationship where there is an obligation to communicate an ending? In a culture where hook-ups have become the norm, this is an area of debate and a lot of subjective opinion. Perceived obligation varies greatly depending on the extent and nature of the relationship.

In the world of dating , where ghosting is most prevalent, most relationships are not considered established in the early stages. Nevertheless, if you’ve decided not to continue the relationship, the kindest and most respectful thing to do is to offer a few simple words about your decision, so that the other person has clarity about the situation. If you’ve had less than three dates, a simple text or email with words along the lines of, “It was nice to meet you, but I didn’t feel the connection,” should generally suffice.

If two people have been on more than five dates and have been physically intimate, they are likely to have begun to develop some level of emotional attachment . At this point, cutting off contact without any explanation has the potential to cause distress, and the longer the relationship has existed, the more likely breaking up will be painful to the other person. While no one is ever responsible for someone else’s emotions, again, the kindest thing to do is to offer some clarity so that the other person has the appropriate cues to know how to respond.

When is it OK to ghost someone? Below are some specific situations where disappearing from a relationship is likely to be the best thing for your well-being.

1. Abuse: If someone makes you feel unsafe, or there has been any type of abuse, then disappearing without any explanation may be in your best interest. Just after you leave an abusive relationship, there can be a high danger period when the abuser may become enraged. It is often best to be out of contact and in a safe place where the abuser doesn’t know your location.

2. Violating Boundaries : If someone engages in a clear boundary violation, such as showing up unexpectedly at your workplace, contacting your ex, stealing from you, or acting in any way that is clearly out of line, it can feel very threatening. When someone causes you to feel unsafe, they are showing a lack of concern for your feelings. Your priority is to regain your sense of safety, which may involve cutting off contact. In situations where you’ve told someone repeatedly that you want to end the relationship, but they continue to contact you or won’t take no for an answer, then it isn’t ghosting if you cut off communication.

3. Lying or Manipulation: If you catch someone in a lie that is intended to manipulate you in some way—say you find out the person you are dating is married—then that person has shown a direct disregard for your emotional well-being, and you don’t owe him or her an explanation for ending the relationship.

someone ghost you meaning

Facebook Image Credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock

Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D.

Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D. , is the Director of Emory University’s Adult Outpatient Psychotherapy Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science in the School of Medicine.

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Ghosting In Relationships: Everything You Need To Know

Anna Drescher

Mental Health Writer

BSc (Hons), Psychology, Goldsmiths University, MSc in Psychotherapy, University of Queensland

Anna Drescher is a freelance writer and solution-focused hypnotherapist, specializing in CBT and meditation. Using insights from her experience working as an NHS Assistant Clinical Psychologist and Recovery Officer, along with her Master's degree in Psychotherapy, she lends deep empathy and profound understanding to her mental health and relationships writing.

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Educator, Researcher

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

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Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

On This Page:

The term “ghosting” has become a well-known dating and social term in recent years. It refers to the practice of suddenly and abruptly cutting off all communication with someone, typically in the context of a romantic or interpersonal relationship.

“Ghosting” was first mentioned on Urban Dictionary in 2006, and it has since become a recognized term in popular culture.

In a 2014 survey of 1,o00 U.S adults by the Huffington Post on ghosting, around 13% of respondents reported being ghosted by someone they were dating. Another 2018 survey found that 72% of respondents had experienced ghosting.

Considering the prevalence of this behavior, discussing the effects of ghosting, understanding why people engage in this behavior, and knowing how to cope when you’ve been ghosted is important for anyone navigating the world of dating and relationships.

Ghosted on mobile phone on table with glass of wine and tissue, Ghosting to cut all communication without explanation, ending a relationship. Social media dating.

What Does It Mean to Ghost Someone?

To “ghost” someone means to abruptly cut off all communication with them, effectively disappearing from their life without explanation.

While this term is commonly used in the context of dating , ghosting can also occur between friends, family members, or colleagues.

Being ghosted can lead to significant emotional distress, including feelings of rejection, confusion, and self-doubt as it leaves the other person feeling rejected and misguided without any closure or explanation.

Signs That You Have Been Ghosted

Being ghosted can be a confusing and emotionally challenging experience.

The most obvious sign of being ghosted is when the person you were communicating with suddenly stops responding to your calls, texts, messages, or emails. They go from being responsive to completely silent with no explanation or reason for their sudden disappearance.

Even if you initiate contact multiple times, they don’t engage in conversation or make any effort to continue the relationship. Or, if you had plans to meet up or do something together, they will cancel without a valid reason.

Other early warning signs that hint at impending ghosting include:

  • They are still active on social media but are not responding to your messages.
  • They may unfollow you or remove you from their friends or contacts on social media.
  • When they do respond, their messages are often brief and vague.
  • You may get a gut feeling that something is wrong because of the sudden change in behavior.

Ghosting Example

Here is an example of a ghosting story from a 2020 Washington Post article :

“I had been dating a guy for almost two months. Everything seemed like it was going well — we had made plans to go out the following weekend. Then he texted me that he was in the emergency room and would need to cancel our date. Of course I was worried, so I texted and called him numerous times to see how he was doing, but he didn’t respond. Eleven days went by and I constantly went back-and-forth between worry, confusion and anger that he might be ghosting me.”

How Long With No Contact Is Considered Ghosting?

The duration of no contact that is considered ghosting can vary depending on the nature of the relationship and the prior communication patterns.

There’s no specific time frame that universally defines ghosting, as it can occur after just a few days of no contact or after longer periods.

It’s essential to remember that each relationship is unique, and what constitutes ghosting can differ from one situation to another. Ultimately, you should pay attention to any noted changes in behavior or communication patterns.

For example, if they typically respond immediately, a few days of no contact could indicate ghosting. However, if they usually take a several days to respond, a few days without a response might not mean you are being ghosted (they could just be a ‘bad texter’ ).

The key aspect of ghosting is the sudden and unexplained disappearance, leaving the other person in a state of confusion and uncertainty. If someone has stopped responding to your attempts at communication without providing any reason or closure, regardless of the specific duration of no contact, it may be considered ghosting.

What Does Ghosting Say About a Person?

When you have been ghosted, it is common to question yourself and wonder whether you did something to make them disappear. But, in most circumstances, ghosting primarily reflects the actions and choices of the person doing the ghosting rather than the person who is ghosted.

Ghosting may suggest that the person has difficulty with open and honest communication. They may be uncomfortable with confrontation, conflict, or vulnerable conversations, so they choose to avoid them altogether. This is particularly prevalent in individuals who have an avoidant attachment style .

Some people ghost simply because they lack empathy. They may not fully understand or care about the emotional impact of their actions on others.

In dating contexts, ghosting can indicate a fear of commitment or an unwillingness to invest in a relationship. Some may be hesitant to take the next step or they may be exploring other options.

While it can be hurtful and frustrating to be on the receiving end of ghosting, it’s also important to recognize that people may ghost for a variety of reasons, and one instance of ghosting may not provide a comprehensive picture of someone’s character.

How Does It Feel to Be Ghosted?

Being ghosted is often an emotionally challenging and distressing experience.

Ghosting often leaves individuals feeling hurt, rejected, and confused as they may struggle to understand why the other person suddenly stopped communicating without any explanation.

They may begin to question their self-worth and desirability, as they may interpret the ghosting as a rejection of who they are.

Being ghosted can also lead to frustration and anger. The lack of closure and unanswered questions can make people feel disrespected, mistreated, or taken for granted.

Additionally, the loss of a relationship, even if it was not deeply meaningful, can lead to feelings of sadness or grief. People may mourn the potential or the connection they thought they had.

If the person who ghosted was a close friend or partner, the sense of loss can be feel overwhelming and can cause intense emotional pain.

Emotional Stages of Ghosting: Surprise, Responsibility, and Anguish

The emotional stages of ghosting can be complex and challenging to navigate. While there is no one-size-fits-all experience, there are some common emotional stages that many people may go through when they realize they have been ghosted.

The initial reaction to being ghosted is often surprise or confusion as one suddenly realizes that the person they were communicating with has stopped responding or has disappeared from their life without explanation.

One participant commented, “The not knowing the reason was the thing that hurt me the most.” Another noted, “When such an event happens, one feels confused. You begin to ask many questions to which no or multiple answers are plausible.”

After the initial surprise, some individuals may start to internalize the situation and question whether they did something wrong. Victims spend a lot of time speculating on whether they said or did something to cause the ghosting, leading to feelings of self-blame or responsibility.

One participants said, “I’ve never been able to find an explanation for what happened, I thought about what faults I could have had.” Another stated, “Several times, I thought I had done something wrong without realizing it.”

As you come to terms with the fact that you’ve been ghosted, the emotional impact often intensifies, leading to feelings of anguish or emotional pain.

Participants commented:

“I felt very angry because I found his behavior absurd, unfair, and irrational.” “I felt very alone, devalued, desolated, and very sad, as if any hope for a better future was impossible.”

Personal Experiences: Emotional Impact and Reflections

Holmes (2022) conducted an analysis of young adults’ stories of being ghosted. These real-life experiences illustrate how different people may respond when they have been ghosted.

“At first I was pretty upset,” Emily said, “just because I didn’t know what I did wrong.”

Heather noted that being ghosted “made me second guess myself and doubt a lot of how I communicated with [the ghoster] and, you know, what I did wrong.”

“I see myself as very naive, first of all. I look back at it, and I’m like, you idiot.” She even recalled being angry with herself “for not figuring it out sooner and for actually believing what [the ghoster] had said.”
“I’ve never lost sleep over a guy before,” she said, “but this time, I was staying up late. When I was lying in bed, my mind was just like a hamster running in a wheel. I just could not stop thinking about it.”

Here are a couple more real-life accounts documented in a 2020 Washington Post article :

“[…]I was ghosted by a woman I had thought of as my best friend for six years, and that was more hurtful by far. When someone who has called you every day, professed undying friendship and sisterhood, supported you, advised you, defended you and included you in everything they did for years, suddenly locks you out of their orbit with no warning and no explanation, it’s easy to feel really misused.”
“We met through an online dating app in July 2017. Instant connection, lots of emails and texts. First date was at his house. Talked for hours, first kiss. Then he left to travel, which he did frequently. After a few perfunctory texts, he disappeared. I was a wreck for weeks, having never been ghosted before. I got over it, just by the passage of time.”

Long-Term Effects of Ghosting

Experiencing ghosting can have various long-term effects on an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being.

Some research has compared the effects of ghosting to those of social exclusion as both experiences involve the feeling of being rejected or excluded from a social connection. Humans are inherently social beings, and our brains are wired to seek social connection and belonging.

When we experience rejection or exclusion, whether through ghosting or other forms of social rejection, we often respond in similar ways.

Both ghosting and social exclusion can lead to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and even depression. This sense of being unwanted or unimportant can be deeply distressing.

Research has also found that being ghosted can negatively affect one’s self-esteem and self-worth. Many people report lower life satisfaction, feelings of helplessness, and loneliness. Some may begin to question their attractiveness, likability, or value in relationships.

Ghosting can also erode a person’s trust in others, particularly in future romantic relationships.

Participants in the analysis by Holmes (2022) reported: “Because of being ghosted, [they keep] their distance from potential partners and [are] more afraid that someone will leave ‘just like that.'” Others said they “try not to get serious too fast with anyone” and are “definitely less trusting and more suspicious.”

Interestingly, another study by Navarro et al. (2021) found that those who had previously been ghosted were more likely to ghost others in the future.

How to Respond to Ghosting

Responding to ghosting can be challenging, as it often involves dealing with a situation where communication has abruptly and unexpectedly ended.

Feeling like you are being ignored can be extremely frustrating and hurtful. Many people respond to this frustration by persistently attempting to reach out to the other person in the hope they will eventually respond.  

However, this is not the best way to respond to being ghosted as it will only exacerbate your sense of helplessness and shame.

Here are some steps and strategies you can consider when responding to ghosting:

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Allow yourself some time to process your emotions and reactions before taking any action. It’s natural to feel hurt, confused, or angry when you’ve been ghosted, and taking a step back can help you gain perspective.

Reflect on your feelings and the impact of the ghosting on your well-being. How has it affected you emotionally? Understanding your own emotions can guide your healing process.

You can also consider talking to friends, family, or a therapist about your experiences.

Once you have allowed yourself to grieve and voice your feelings, you should begin to move forward and let them go.

Let Them Go

Not responding is a form of response – they have chosen to respond with silence to let you know they are no longer interested or prefer not to communicate with you.

Being rejected in this way is a hard pill to swallow as it hurts your pride and self-worth.

But trying to force someone to respond when they clearly do not want to talk will not make you feel better – it will only make you feel more desperate and distressed.

Therefore, you must accept that the person who ghosted you may not ever provide the closure you seek.

If you feel like you have something left to say, you can consider sending a single, polite, and non-confrontational message to them. However, if they do not reply, you should not keep chasing them.

You should aim to move forward and focus on building healthy relationships with others who value and respect you.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

Try to avoid blaming yourself for the ghosting. Remind yourself that ghosting is primarily a reflection of the other person’s behavior and choices, not yours.

When you’ve been ghosted, it’s natural to want answers and to question what you might have done wrong. You may never know the reason for their behavior, but most of those reasons likely have nothing to do with you.

They could be dealing with their own issues, fears, or relationship challenges that led them to this decision.

Remind yourself that you are a valuable and worthy individual regardless of how someone else chose to end the relationship.

Instead of placing blame, focus on learning from the experience. Reflect on what you want in future relationships and how you can communicate your needs and expectations more effectively.

Avoid Over-Analyzing

When something happens that we cannot explain, it is normal for our minds to spiral and over-analyze every interaction and behavior in an attempt to reach some sort of clarity.

While seeking closure from the person who ghosted you is understandable, recognize that true closure often comes from within.

It can be challenging not to have clear answers or closure about why the person chose to disappear, but you must learn to accept the situation and embrace the uncertainty.

Not everything in life can be neatly explained or controlled. Instead, acknowledge that you may not get all the answers you seek and find a way to be okay with that lack of clarity.

Prioritize Healing and Self-Care

Prioritize self-care during this time. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and take care of your physical and emotional well-being.

If you are feeling low and devalued, remind yourself of your strengths and positive traits. You could ask your friends and family what they love about you, or make a list yourself.

Reconnect with hobbies, interests, and activities that you enjoy. This can help you regain a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Should I Ask Them Why They Ghosted Me? Should I Ask the Ghoster for Closure?

Whether or not you should ask the person who ghosted you for an explanation or closure is a personal decision.

While asking for closure may provide you with some insight into the reasons behind the ghosting, there is no guarantee that the person who ghosted you will respond or provide the closure you seek. If the response is unsatisfactory or if they continue ignoring you, this can lead to further disappointment and emotional distress.

Additionally, seeking closure may extend the emotional process and delay your ability to heal and move forward.

If you decide to reach out, make sure to set realistic expectations and understand that you may not receive a response or the response you were hoping for.

Regardless of the response, be prepared to move on with or without closure. Closure often comes from within and through the process of accepting and processing the situation.

Should I Give the Ghoster a Chance?

Deciding whether to give the person who ghosted you a chance depends on various factors, including your own feelings, the nature of the relationship, and the circumstances surrounding the ghosting.

Before deciding to give the ghoster a chance, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind the ghosting. Was it a one-time occurrence related to personal issues or circumstances, or is it a pattern of behavior?

Evaluate whether the ghoster has taken steps to communicate with you, provide an explanation, or express remorse for their actions as open and honest communication is crucial for rebuilding trust.

Additionally, if ghosting is part of a pattern of unreliable or hurtful behavior, it’s important to consider whether this is a person you want in your life. Try reflecting on your past experiences with this person.

Have they consistently demonstrated care, respect, and consideration in the relationship, or have there been other issues? Do you believe that open communication and transparency can be reestablished in the relationship?

To illustrate, here is a personal experience :

“[…]After a few perfunctory texts, he disappeared. I was a wreck for weeks, having never been ghosted before. I got over it, just by the passage of time. Spring 2019, our paths cross again. I’m cynical, but he makes all the effort. He asks me out to dinner. He comes over to my house for wine a few days later. He suggests we have coffee Saturday mornings at my house, after his bicycle riding group is finished. He comes over to my house to cook me dinner. On a Friday night, about three months after we are reacquainted, he texts me a picture of himself presenting that week at a conference, from the plane, as he was coming home for the week. No text from him Saturday morning about our standing coffee date. I text him at noon. I text him later that day. By Sunday late morning, I’m in a panic, thinking that he’s been hit by a car on his Saturday morning bike ride. No response from him. By Monday, I sent my final text, saying that I had no idea where he was, if he was even still alive, but that I didn’t want to move forward until I was important enough to him for him to respond to me. Turns out, he was still alive, very much so. I later learned that his “roommate,” whom he described as his ex-girlfriend in the process of finding a new place to live, was NOT his ex.”

Rules for Texting Someone When They Ghosted You

Navigating communication with someone who has ghosted you can be tricky and emotionally charged.

Generally speaking, if someone has ghosted you, they likely do not want to hear from you or engage in further communication. 

Thus, it is often best to avoid reaching out and instead, seek closure within yourself.

However, if you think seeking clarity can help you make sense of the situation and move on more effectively, here are some guidelines to consider.

When you are sending them a message make sure you:

  • Allow some time to pass before reaching out
  • Keep your initial message calm, polite, and non-confrontational
  • Share your feelings honestly but without overwhelming the other person
  • Encourage open and honest communication by asking open-ended questions
  • Be mentally prepared that the person may choose not to respond

If they do not reply, you must respect this decision.

Avoid doing the following things when you send them a message:

  • Accusing, blaming, or using aggressive language
  • Issuing ultimatums or making demands
  • Rushing into things
  • Calling or texting incessantly

Some examples of texts you could send include:

  • “I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to talk to you about something that’s been on my mind. I felt a bit confused and hurt when our communication suddenly stopped. Can you share your perspective on why that happened?”
  • “I understand that life can get busy, and sometimes we lose touch. I just wanted you to know that I hold no hard feelings, and I’m open to catching up if you’d like.”
  • “I hope you’re okay. I’ve been trying to understand what happened between us, and I would appreciate it if you could give me some closure. It would mean a lot to me.”

What Should You Not Do When Responding to a Ghoster?

When responding to someone who has ghosted you, it’s important to avoid certain behaviors and actions that can be counterproductive.

Although the ghoster’s behavior was unkind and unfair, it’s important not to respond with anger, blame, or confrontation. Accusing the person of wrongdoing or being hostile can escalate the situation and reduce the likelihood of a constructive conversation.

  • Let out your anger
  • Beg for a response
  • Send a barrage of messages
  • Issue threats or ultimatums
  • Publicly shame or humiliate them
  • Engage in guilt-tripping

Instead, responding to a ghoster with understanding, respect, and emotional maturity will help you foster a constructive dialogue and navigate the situation more effectively.

How to Respond When the Ghoster Comes Back

Responding to a ghoster who comes back into your life is a decision that should be made carefully, considering your own feelings and what you want from the situation.

Take some time to reflect on how you feel about the person’s return. Are you open to reconnecting, or do you still have reservations and concerns about the past ghosting experience?

Also, pay attention to how the person responds to your communication. Are they apologetic, sincere, and willing to address the issues that led to the ghosting? Evaluate whether their response aligns with your expectations.

If you decide to respond, initiate an open and honest conversation. Express your feelings and concerns about the previous ghosting incident using “I” statements to convey your emotions without accusing or blaming.

Try to encourage the person to share their perspective and reasons for ghosting if they are willing to do so as understanding their viewpoint can provide valuable insight into the situation.

Ultimately, if it seems that both parties are on the same page regarding the nature of the relationship, communication, and boundaries, and you decide to give the person another chance, take things slow. Rebuilding trust and a healthy connection may require time and patience, and rushing into things may lead to future problems.

Most importantly, trust your instincts and prioritize your own happiness and well-being. If you feel that the reconnection is unhealthy or causing distress, it’s okay to disengage and move forward.

Julia Simkus edited this article.

Is Ghosting Ever Acceptable?

Ghosting is generally considered to be a behavior that lacks empathy and communication, and it can have negative emotional impacts on the person being ghosted. However, there are a few exceptions where ghosting could be understood or justified.

If someone genuinely feels that communicating with a person could lead to harm, then limiting or cutting off contact can be a valid choice. But in the majority of cases where safety isn’t a concern, open and honest communication is usually the best approach.

Do Ghosters Ever Come Back?

People who have ghosted someone in the past may decide to come back for a variety of reasons, depending on their individual circumstances and motivations.

Some of the reasons a ghoster might return include: – Having regrets or second thoughts – External motivations, such as advice, a favor, or information – Loneliness and a yearning for connection – Genuine desire to reconnect

Is Ghosting a Form of Manipulation?

Ghosting is often considered a form of passive or indirect communication, rather than outright manipulation. However, some aspects of ghosting can be perceived as manipulative depending on the circumstances and the motivations behind it

For example, if someone uses ghosting as a means of keeping the other person guessing or insecure, it can be seen as a form of emotional manipulation.

Additionally, ghosting can have a significant emotional impact on the person being ghosted, leading to feelings of rejection, confusion, and self-doubt. In this sense, it can be seen as manipulative because it can cause emotional distress.

Is Ghosting Always Narcissistic?

Ghosting is not always narcissistic. While ghosting can be a hurtful and inconsiderate way to end a relationship or communication, it does not necessarily indicate narcissistic behavior.

Nevertheless, research has found that those with Dark Triad traits (e.g., callousness, selfishness, manipulativeness) are more approving of ghosting as a strategy to end a relationship. Those who have high scores of narcissism and psychopathy are likely to use ghosting as a way to discard people and avoid commitment.  

That means, while not everyone who uses ghosting is narcissistic, people high in narcissism are more likely to ghost .

How Do You Respond to Being Ghosted by Your Employer?

Being ghosted by an employer can be a confusing and frustrating experience, especially if you were expecting communication regarding job-related matters.

In the initial stages, try to stay calm and patient. It’s possible that there are legitimate reasons for the lack of communication, such as internal processes or delays.

If you still do not hear, send a polite and professional follow-up message to your employer or the relevant contact within the organization. Express your understanding of their busy schedule and inquire about the status of the matter in question.

If your direct supervisor or manager is the one who has ghosted you, consider reaching out to the HR department or a higher-ranking supervisor to seek assistance or clarification.

While addressing the situation with your current employer, it may also be prudent to explore alternative employment opportunities or maintain connections with a professional network to ensure your career progression.

What is Soft Ghosting?

Soft ghosting refers to a behavior where one person gradually reduces their level of communication or interaction with another person without fully cutting off contact. Unlike  traditional ghosting where all contact abruptly stops, soft ghosting involves a more gradual and subtle reduction in communication.

Bonos, L. (2020). We asked for your ghosting stories. Here they are — including one guy who can’t stop ghosting women. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/02/21/ghosting-stories-dating  

Holmes, K. (2022). “Something Would’ve Been Better Than Nothing”: An Analysis of Young Adults’ Stories of Being Ghosted.

Koessler, R.B., Kohut,T., & Campbell,L. (2019). Data and Analyses. Retrieved from https://osf.io/gfdzs/

Navarro, R., Larrañaga, E., Yubero, S., & Villora, B. (2020). Psychological correlates of ghosting and breadcrumbing experiences: A preliminary study among adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3). 

Navarro, R., Larrañaga, E., Yubero, S., & Villora, B. (2021). Individual, interpersonal and relationship factors associated with ghosting intention and behaviors in adult relationships: Examining the associations over and above being a recipient of ghosting. Telematics and Informatics , 57.

Pancani, L. & Mazzoni, D. & Aureli, N. & Riva, P. (2021). Ghosting and orbiting: An analysis of victims’ experiences. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 38.

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 Style of Laura Jane

Style of Laura Jane

UK Love and Relationship Blog

When someone ghosts you - Style of Laura Jane

  • Relationship
  • July 2, 2021

Ghosting: What it Means when Someone Ghosts You

There are two times I remember crumbling in bed. My ego shattered as quickly as the wine glass I recently smashed in the dishwasher. Two guys had chosen to vanish out of my life, even when I had welcomed them in. Without warning, they cut communication and left me confused. I couldn’t help but ask myself: What does it mean when someone ghosts you?

It’s a question that plagued me as I began dating again post-ghostup breakup. For those unaware (people who haven’t tried online dating), ghosting is when you’re dating someone who then cuts contact without warning . It can happen at any stage in a relationship, from arranging a first date to even walking out of a marriage. On some level, all of us are guilty.

the fault seems to lie with the person who wants to stay

We engage in short-term ghosting by avoiding on purpose. How many of us have let friendships drift because we haven’t reached out. I’ve even ghosted a café – I promised the owner I’d return but have since avoided it on purpose. I have also ghosted dates. Perhaps karma has given me my own medicine.

How to deal with ghosting

When it first happened to me, I was in my early twenties. Me and a friend when out to party in London where we met a good-looking guy who introduced us to his mates. After downing some shots and sharing a drunk kiss, we exchanged numbers. Over the next few days, we texted throughout work and arranged to meet up. On the day before our agreed date however, his WhatsApp picture disappeared. My texts went unanswered – it was like he had hadn’t existed beyond some deep dream.

The second time (or the second ghoster), hurt more because we’d been dating. Everyone knew about him – I’d described his best traits to my family. The day he went, my first thought was: What do I tell people? I know that sounds bad – you’d expect me to miss him and cry about my feelings. But my ego felt the most pain. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, insecure, rejected.

When someone ghosts you, it’s them taking action. YOU’RE wrong, YOU did something, YOU’RE the one being left. Regardless of how imperfect your date/partner may have been, the fault seems to lie with the person who wants to stay . We can easily use ghosting as an excuse to beat ourselves up. But the truth is, while a ghosted individual may have acted needy, selfish, desperate etc., they cannot put themselves at fault for someone’s cowardly behaviour.

To accept being ghosted:

  • Delete their name and number. Once you’re sure the person has gone, you don’t need a reminder. Avoid the habit to keep checking for messages by removing their details.
  • Stop Google searching – yes, put down your phone as soon as you’ve read this post. Don’t research if ghosters come back. Why would you want someone who doesn’t respect you enough to communicate properly back in your life?
  • Separate your personal issues from theirs. If you feel you’re too open or insecure, work on that internally. Do not link anyone to how you feel about yourself.
  • Switch the blame from, ‘Why did they ghost me?’ to ‘why do they ghost?’ As a Bustle piece says, ‘Do not blame yourself’.
  • Let yourself grieve the breakup. Your feelings are still valid and real.

Image of lonely street with steps for blog on when someone ghosts

When someone ghosts, what does that mean?

There are many reasons why people choose to cut communication without explanation. Some include:

  • They’re cowards (plain and simple).
  • They have a strong belief in destiny. A New York Times article features Dr. Vilhauer, who described how some people perceive relationships on black-and-white terms: they either work out or they don’t. If a person thinks an individual isn’t part of their destiny, they may be more likely to ghost and avoid effort.
  • They have issues dealing with emotions. A GQ piece on why men ghost women shares input from therapist Gordon Wax who says some people put ‘on a pretend invisibility cloak’ which makes them think ‘they won’t suffer emotions of guilt after parting ways.’
  • They may be emotionally abusive. Women’s Health reported on ‘ghostlighting’; a manipulation technique which sees a ghoster go from incredibly romantic to barely around in a short span of time. When you ask about their disappearance, they make you feel as though you’re somehow imagining it.
  • They like to avoid conflict.
  • They have been hurt before. Some people are more cautious and may see any potential breakup signs as a que to make a swift exit.

What it means when someone ghosts you

To answer this, I’ll explain why ghosting happened to me – well, at least why I think. When the second guy ghosted, I spoke to my sister and expressed how irritated I felt at this guy not responding. I said, ‘I must be bad at dating’. Upon this line, she gave me a half quizzical, half humorous look and replied, ‘Laura, when have you ever gone out with someone actually looking for a relationship?’

Dumbfounded, I read out several names and with each one, my sister noted how they backed up her point. She then spoke about my ghoster, which led to us laughing. This guy couldn’t have been more incompatible and yet I carried along, expecting miracle chemistry to form. Of course, we weren’t going to be a couple – he wanted to play rugby, drink beer and ride his bike – we had zero in common other than the bar where we met. He didn’t want a relationship – I avoided all the warning signs.

Too often, I get comments on this blog from people ignoring multiple signs showing someone isn’t right for them. They say how they’re charming, funny, friendly, almost ideal, except they feel bored or they have no attraction.

While I can’t say exactly why an ex or date disappeared, I can argue that when someone ghosts you, it shows they’re unsuitable.

How to get closure after being ghosted

In a normal breakup situation (when you’re told it’s over) there is usually a reason why. This helps us to gain closure and move on. But when you are ghosted, you don’t receive an explanation. You’re left to only wonder what you could have done wrong.

Although closure can be difficult, try to reflect on the people who you’re attracted to.

  • Do they want what you want?
  • Are you ignoring red flags?
  • Do you make excuses for them?
  • Have they shown signs of emotional immaturity?

Recognise that even if you are the person that’s been left, it does not mean that you are in the wrong. Ghosting is a horrible break-up method that has become too common in our quick, technology-based world. What I have learnt however through being ghosted, is how to solely challenge my own insecurities and better decide what I want in a partner.

How do you react when someone ghosts? If it’s happened to you recently, be sure to read these posts: How do You Glow Up After a Break-Up

The Ultimate Guide to get Back into Dating

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Reader interactions.

' src=

June 29, 2022 at 6:11 am

I was ghosted, twice, by the same guy. Luckily, the second times was a couple years later, and I caught on quickly, and ended it quickly. If you can’t, or won’t, communicate, then there’s no reason to go on.

' src=

July 2, 2022 at 3:45 pm

I’m glad you ended it the second time. Some people seem to have no idea what they really want. They seem to think they can pick people up whenever it suits them

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someone ghost you meaning

What is ghosting and what does it mean when someone ghosts you? The dating term explained

  • By Alana Moorhead
  • Caroline Peacock
  • Published : 6:13, 8 Nov 2023
  • Updated : 12:46, 8 Nov 2023

HAVE you ever been messaging someone for a few months, spent hours together, created memories, then out of the blue, they stopped texting you?

Sorry to break it to you, but may have been ghosted - here's the lowdown.

 Ghosting is a term used in dating which is becoming more and more common - here's what we know

What is ghosting and what does it mean when someone 'ghosts' you?

Ghosting is an expression used in dating terms and it's when someone suddenly cuts all ties and communication with the person they've been seeing.

To put it simply, ghosting is basically rejection without the closure.

The theory behind it is that the person who is being ignored will just "get the hint" and realise their partner is not interested in dating anymore so the subject should be left.

Anyone can be a ghoster, it's not specific to either gender, but people sometimes find the behaviour is related to a person's maturity and communication skills.

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Many believe that ghosting is actually better for the person they're ignoring because they aren't hurting their feelings by telling them they don't want to date anymore.

While the ghoster may benefit from avoiding an uncomfortable situation and any potential drama, they’ve done nothing to improve their own conversation and relationship skills for the future and often leaves the ghostee feeling confused and upset about the subject.

According to Fortune , a huge 80% of us in the UK have experienced ghosting in our dating lifetimes.

"Ghosting is inevitably part of the dating journey, and since sparks won’t fly with every match or date, it’s often the go-to method of ending things when you’ve only shared a conversation or a couple of dates,” said Eva Gallagher, the resident dating expert at the dating app, Plenty of Fish .

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Where did the dating term come from.

Ghosting isn’t necessarily new although the word itself didn't become popular till early 2010.

In 2015, online tabloids ran headlines about how Charlize Theron "ghosted" Sean Penn, the New York Times even wrote an explainer on the term, calling it "the ultimate silent treatment."

Merriam-Webster added the term to the dictionary in 2017.

The term was coined from the online dating culture we have today.

Since 2012, dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Elite Singles and Happn have become a lot more popular and they all give the impression that there are plenty of fish in the sea.

How does it affect people?

While some might react to ghosting with mild annoyance, for others it can cut a whole lot deeper.

Ghosting can actually have quite a serious impact on a person's mental health, claims PsychologyToday.com. 

The social rejection apparently can activate the same pain in the brain as physical pain, fortunately, this pain can be treated with medication but the psychological distress can be more difficult to heal.

It can affect your self-esteem and negatively impact your current and future relationships, both romantic and otherwise.

Mental health professionals argue that the silent treatment is a form of emotional cruelty as it leaves you powerless to the situation and you're unable to find out any answers.

The first thing you should remember, whether you’ve been ghosted or are the ghost in question, is the so-called golden rule: treat others how you would want to be treated.

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While ghosting is the easiest way out of a relationship, it is also the harshest - when someone ends a relationship this way it will show their true colours and intentions.

So, next time you're thinking of ghosting anyone, think carefully about what you're doing.

someone ghost you meaning

The Psychology of Ghosting: Why People Do It and a Better Way to Break Up

Online and mobile tool that empowers people to conquer anxiety, stress, and eating disorders


By Maya Borgueta, Psy.D and Senior Coach at Lantern

Chances are you've been "ghosted" before. "Ghosting" is when someone you're dating ends the relationship by cutting off all communication, without any explanation. And we're not talking about not getting a text back after one awkward OKCupid date, but receiving the ultimate silent treatment after several dates, or when you're in a committed relationship. And while this post focuses on romantic relationships, it's worth noting that ghosting can also happen -- no less painfully -- in platonic friendships as well.

Even though the silence probably left you at best confused, and at worst, diving into your deepest insecurities for answers, an Elle.com survey found that you've also likely been the ghost yourself at some point. The survey shows that 26 percent of women and 33 percent of men have both ghosted and been ghosted, while 24 percent of women and 17 percent of men admit to ghosting (but not being ghosted on).


So, you may already know from experience that we can't simply categorize ghosts as bad people with no respect for others' feelings.

There are many psychological reasons why someone ghosts, but at its core, ghosting is avoidance and often stems from fear of conflict. Which means, at its heart, that ghosting is about wanting to avoid confrontation, avoid difficult conversations, avoid hurting someone's feelings.

To learn more about how all that avoidance can increase your anxiety and the amount of conflict in your life, keep reading.

It's important to distinguish the "ghosting" phenomenon from escaping an unsafe or abusive relationship. You have every right to escape the latter without further communication, in whatever way keeps you physically and emotionally safe. However, if your motivation for disappearing is avoidance, then you might want to consider a better way to break up.

Scientific studies on ghosting show it's costly for both parties

Relationship research shows that ghosting (a.k.a. avoidance) is the worst way to end a relationship , according to the recipient, and can actually lead to bigger confrontations down the line. While ghosting seems to have become pervasive over the last decade, and many people point to more online dating apps and fading decorum around courting as causes -- ghosting is nothing new.

According to a study on preferred relationship ending strategies conducted in the 1970s, when one person ends a relationship through avoidance, it's likely to trigger more anger and hurt for the recipient.

Surprisingly, avoidance also costs the ghost much more in the long run, because frustrated recipients often track down and confront the ghost, sometimes in embarrassing situations like at work or in front of family.

For someone who chose to avoid conflict in the first place, a showdown is the worst outcome a ghost could hope for--and it ends up being more destructive for both parties than just initially communicating during a breakup. The study also explains the lasting cost of guilt that a ghost feels, finding that "even if the other party passively accepts the avoidance action, the terminator faces the lingering cost of knowing that he or she took the coward's way out of the relationship."

Avoiding conflict reinforces anxiety

Most people don't look forward to tough conversations, and breaking up certainly falls in that category. Fear of disappointing someone, looking like the "bad guy," or dealing with someone's direct anger can cause anxiety. But the more you avoid conflict, the more anxiety builds over time.

Each time you think about having a tough conversation, your anxiety and fear of conflict take over, and you avoid the conversation to suppress your fear.

The more you back down from your anxiety, the more likely you are to avoid anxiety-producing situations in the future. In fact, a frequent ghost is probably avoiding conflicts throughout their relationship. And many of the issues they avoid are likely problems that might have been sorted out through open communication.

By working to overcome fear of conflict, you can reduce anxiety, and build courage and communication skills that are important in many types of relationships--from friendships to the workplace. Here's how to overcome your fear of conflict:

Practice with someone safe to face your fear

One of the best ways to confront your fear of conflict is with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) technique called exposure. Exposure means putting yourself into the situation you fear in real-life to gradually lessen your usual anxious responses to the situation. You don't have to tackle the scariest conversations first. Build up to the toughest ones -- like relationship discussions -- by practicing with someone you trust and feel comfortable around, like a close friend or family member. If you struggle with disagreements, you can start by expressing your opinions about impersonal things like a movie or a restaurant when they differ from your friends' thoughts.

Confronting your fears gets easier the more you do it. So, after practicing with someone safe, you'll be ready to start exposing yourself to more difficult conversations. These could include small disagreements with your significant other. Over time, you'll conquer your fear of conflict and tendency to avoid hard conversations.

Take care of yourself

Exposure will probably be uncomfortable or difficult, so take care of yourself before and after. Breakups can also be as hard on the person ending the relationship as the person being broken up with. You may feel guilt over initiating a breakup, or even guilt over your sadness it ended, since you initiated the split. Keep in mind that caring about someone and wanting to be in a relationship with them are separate things.

After exposure or a difficult relationship discussion, try taking a relaxing 10-minute walk, practicing a breathing exercise, or enjoying a long bath. Give yourself credit for confronting your fear.

To uncover the thoughts contributing to your fear of conflict and learn how to challenge them, try a free 7-day trial of Lantern here . You'll be paired with a professional coach that can guide you through anxiety-reducing techniques, or listen and give you feedback on your specific relationship concerns.

-- Maya Borgueta, Psy.D and Senior Coach at Lantern

This article first appeared on Lantern's blog , which shares expert advice and research on strengthening emotional well-being.

___________________ Also on The Huffington Post:

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What Does It Mean to Be Ghosted and What Should You Do?

Published by editorial team on april 20, 2022 april 20, 2022.

The internet is one of the best places to meet new people and share exciting new experiences. It’s fun, exciting, and captivating to be able to meet someone at the comfort of your phone on your mobile device or whatever device you make use of. However, some people abruptly end the relationship; these people ghost you, and you wonder where things went wrong. 


A lot of people even wonder if there is something wrong with them, and this leaves them in a bad emotional state, something which a lot of people find difficult to recover from. Have you been ghosted before? Are you wondering what to do when someone ghosted you? In this article, we will be looking at ghosting, what it means, why people ghost, and what you need to do when someone ghosts you. The information here will make it relatively easy for you to understand when you are in this situation and what you need to do next, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this informative ride.

What Does Ghosting Mean?

So, we’ve been talking about ghosting for a while now, and some people might be forced to ask, does it mean talking to a ghost on the internet? Humorously, there are no ghosts on the internet; however, you can be ghosted by an actual person. So, enough about the theories; what exactly is ghosting? Ghosting is a relatively new dating term that happens when someone cuts off all ties and communications without any prior explanation. Even when the person who is ghosted tries to initiate contact, the other person remains silent as if he/she just disappeared off the face of the earth. Some consider the other person hurt, injured, or worse, dead, but there are other reasons why you find people ghosting you ; we’ll take a look at that in the next section.

Why Do People Ghost?

So, from the previous section, when asked, “ what does it mean to ghost someone ?” you definitely have a couple of answers for this question. However, the main question now is why do people do it? Why do people ghost? According to a survey from a dating website conducted in the first quarter of 2022, more than 80% of people between the ages of 18 to 30 have been ghosted (that would really hurt), and a lot of people are wondering why. Why should such a sweet conversation which feels like it is heading somewhere end abruptly? Here are some of the reasons why people ghost you:

  • Change of priorities: for a lot of people, life gets in the way of their personal relationships, and rather than endure the agony of explaining why they can no longer continue with the conversation, they’d rather end it altogether. 
  • Short timing: if they have not gotten deep into the relationship, they might not feel the need to explain themselves to you if they need to end it, and this is why they ghost.
  • Technology: as easy as it is to get on a dating app and make a conversation, that’s how easy it is to end it abruptly, and this is the freedom technology brings. Being ghosted, meaning a loss of contact, is easy because technology makes it so.
  • They’re not into you: it might seem like a hard pill to take, but when people ghost you, most times, it’s because they’re not into you. This might seem like a hard pill to take, but it does not have to be because it does not mean that there’s anything wrong with you. 
  • They do it to protect themselves: as ironic as it might seem, some people ghost people because they want to protect themselves from getting hurt. But, you might ask, what is ghosting someone and what does it have to do with protection when you’re the one being ghosted. However, the fact remains that you can only speak for yourself and not for others. If someone sees a red flag he/she has experienced before and does not want to take a chance, being convinced otherwise, they ghost.
  • They did not see it working out: does this sound weird? Then read it again. How can they predict if it will work out or not; are they psychic? Well, they are not, but they have a mental picture of who they want to spend their lives with, and once someone does not fit the bill, they feel ghosting is the best course of action rather than explaining themselves. So if they do not believe that both of you are meant to be, they will ghost.
  • They have something to hide: we know you have been waiting to see this option, which is why we saved it for the last. Why do some people ghost you? Because they have something to hide. It might be a spouse they never talked about, children they want to keep hidden, or any other lie they must have told you, and if they feel the cat is almost getting out of the bag, they yank the ropes and say goodbye – oh wait they don’t.

What Should You Do When Someone is Ghosting You?

ghost someone

Let’s be honest; getting ghosted can be painful. It’s like getting hitched on this fascinating rollercoaster ride and all of a sudden getting dropped fifty feet off the ground. It’s a massive blow, and many people find it difficult to recover, especially when they have been ghosted by a lot of people, but you need to understand that there’s nothing wrong with you. 

Getting ghosted, meaning that you lost the opportunity of a relatively great relationship – at least you thought so – should not be the end of the world. You need to always have the mindset that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you, and it’s their loss when they ghost on you. 

Think of it this way; the Ferrari is a great ride; almost everyone loves it, and if someone who is in the process of getting a Ferrari backs out, does the brand feel bad thinking they are not good enough? No, so if they switched bandwagon, it’s their loss. However, ghosting meaning a lot of things to a lot of people requires a recovery process. So here are some of the things you need to do when someone is ghosting you:

  • Don’t blame yourself: if someone ghosts you, avoid blaming yourself. You need to understand that it’s not about you but the other person who is incapable of successfully navigating a relationship without hitching on the next bus away when they’re scared. So, as sweet as the relationship might have been, do not blame yourself. Rather, brush yourself up because the next best thing is around the corner – you just need to be happy enough to see it.
  • Avoid chasing them: if someone ghosts you, the chances of them coming back is relatively low, and this is more reason why you need to avoid chasing them. However, if you feel pushed to do so, then distract yourself with something you love, and you will be happier you did.
  • Cry if you must: if you feel pained about getting ghosted, do not bottle things up. If you feel hurt, you can express yourself by crying. This allows you to get all those emotions out and makes it possible for you to easily let go – believe me, it works.
  • Take care of yourself: if people ghost you, it is not because something is wrong with you, but it is a chance for you to reflect on how well you are taking care of yourself physically and mentally, and this is a call to take care of yourself. If you feel like there’s anything you need to change, then, by all means, change them.

How Can Radaris Help?

Radaris is a public record and people search company with the database, personnel, and tools to get you every information you might need. So, you might be wondering about ghosting and how a public record and people search record company such as Radaris can be of help? 

With a comprehensive database like ours, we can help get information about the person who ghosted you so you can either get closure or confront the person depending on how deep it goes. For example, if you suspect that the reason someone ghosted you is that the person is married and lied to you about it, then you can use our online background check service to check their marriage status, thereby confirming or dispelling any of the fears you might have. 

Have you been ghosted, or are you going into the online dating world trying to understand what to expect, especially when it comes to the topic of people ghosting you? With all the information provided here, you can easily understand ghosting, why people do it, what to do, and when to seek professional help. Hope this was pretty helpful; leave a comment below, and bye for now.

What are the reasons people ghost?

People may ghost for various reasons, including expediency, a loss of interest, unpleasant impressions, or safety concerns. Ghosting is more attractive to people with higher levels of selfishness, egoism, and psychoticism.

Why would someone ghost you for no reason?

People who ghost might be trying to escape unpleasant circumstances. While this may appear to be a lack of respect, it is sometimes the greatest method for them to deal with their distress or difficulty in speaking adequately.

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7 Signs Someone Is About To Ghost On You

someone ghost you meaning

Ghosting, as you probably know, is the wholly unpleasant phenomenon when someone you are dating decides to simply fade away into the ether rather than have an upfront, honest, adult conversation about why he or she no longer wants to keep seeing you. If you're actively involved in the dating game — particularly online dating — there's a solid chance you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you've been on the receiving end, you know that it's a confusing and frustrating experience that most likely left you wondering why people ghost in the first place. Despite the fact that there are many other, better ways to break up with someone , it seems that people can't seem to retire the pesky habit of ghosting.

If you're a newcomer to the ghosting scene , I would first like to offer my condolences. It's never easy to wrap your head around why someone would cease all communication and pretend you don't exist — at best, it's mega-frustrating and, at worst, it's degrading. Though there are endless reasons why someone might opt to ghost, chances are, the guy or girl in question is simply trying to avoid conflict or awkward questions about why things aren't working out. Sure, it's immature, but unfortunately there's not a lot you can do about it except hold your head high and move on. (And although it's not ideal, there are actually times when it's totally OK to ghost someone.)

It may sound cliche, but if someone wants to date you and/or hook up with you, they will make an effort to see you and talk to you as much as possible — flakiness and shadiness never bode well of a healthy, blossoming relationship. If you're in a fairly new relationship and are worried Potential Bae is about to back out, check out these seven signs that could forewarn you that the person you're seeing is about to go AWOL.

1. They Never Message First

No one likes to play texting games ("I'll wait two hours to respond because I don't want to seem too eager"), but it's also a red flag if you consistently feel like the only one to initiate contact. There's nothing fun about waiting to see if someone reaches out to you, only to realize after a couple days that it seems unlikely, so you just give in and text first again , against your better judgment. If you see a pattern and truly feel in your gut that they're uninterested, beware that this person could easily just cut off all contact with no notice.

2. They Cut Dates Short

If every time you hang out, he or she suddenly has a reason to disappear even though you've only had one drink, there's a chance that they're mentally preparing to hit the road. Why would they meet up with me in the first place, then? you might ask. There's a possibility that they're hoping for a hookup, or that they're simply biding their time and appeasing your desire to see them before making the Big Exit. Not that every date has to turn into a 24-hour sleepover followed by brunch, but if you're always left wanting more when they cut and run, it could mean they're not that into you .

3. They Vanish From Dating Apps

This is a tough one, because if things are genuinely going well, someone might deactivate their Tinder or OkCupid because they like you a lot and want to stop the search. But if, in general, they're flaky or unresponsive towards you and you notice they've abandoned online dating, it might mean they're trying to literally disappear on you. If you can't reach them post-ghost via text or OkCupid, it's much easier for them to avoid your questions. Similarly, if they constantly disappear and reappear — either on dating apps or in your inbox — it's clear that they're indecisive and haven't yet made up their mind about whether or not they want to date you (or maybe date, period).

4. They're Always Busy

Repeat after me: "If a guy/girl wants to see me, they will, no matter how demanding their schedule is." Seriously. If I text someone and ask them if they want to hang out in the near future, I fully expect an interested person to say, "I'm free on this day at this time." If I request a specific day and they're unavailable, I fully expect him to say, "Sorry, I can't that day, but how about this day?" It's not hard to make plans, and even if you're busy, you should be able to find some time that works for both of you.

5. They Feign Deafness When You Mention Hanging Out

Alternatively, you could be with someone who flat-out ignores any mention of a date. If you're texting someone and they're totally keen to chat with you but somehow miraculously don't see your next three texts about grabbing dinner, that's a warning sign. Maybe they just want the convenience of a hookup buddy without any of the actual work, and if that's not what you're looking for, you might be better off finding someone who seems eager to see you IRL.

6. Their Texts Are Short And Simple

This is the unofficial precursor to ghosting. Maybe things were going swell at first and the two of you had long, memorable conversations about your college days or family life. But then after a couple dates, you noticed he or she getting shorter and shorter with you. Not to be dramatic, but I'm almost positive that this is always a sign of bad things to come. Sure, every text doesn't have to be a novel, but if you feel like you've had longer conversations with Siri than this person lately, there's a chance they simply lost interest and are now bringing communication to a slow, painful stop.

7. They Have An Arsenal Of Far-Fetched Excuses

I once was attempting to plan a date with a guy whom I had yet to meet, and out of the blue, he came up with some wild story about his mom having a stroke and then I never heard from him again. To be fair, this might have been true (in which case I am mortified), but I am 99 percent sure that it was a fabricated story, because the timing was just too bizarre, and he had already canceled on me once before. If you're with someone who repeatedly seems super pumped to hang out and then cancels at the last minute because their dog fell down the stairs, they got their foot stuck in a sewer drain, etc., it could be a sign that they're just flaky AF and might soon just cease talking to you altogether.

Images: Pexels.com ; Giphy (7)

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Definition of ghost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of ghost  (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

intransitive verb

  • bogie
  • familiar spirit
  • hant [ dialect ]
  • haunt [ chiefly dialect ]
  • materialization
  • fantasm
  • poltergeist
  • spectre

Examples of ghost in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ghost.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Noun and Verb

Middle English gost, gast , from Old English gāst ; akin to Old High German geist spirit, Sanskrit heḍa anger

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Phrases Containing ghost

  • ghost kitchen
  • ghost / shadow of one's former self
  • ghost pepper
  • ghost of a chance
  • ghost story
  • give up the ghost
  • ghost chili

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Dictionary Entries Near ghost

Cite this entry.

“Ghost.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ghost. Accessed 10 Jan. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of ghost, medical definition, medical definition of ghost, more from merriam-webster on ghost.

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Britannica English: Translation of ghost for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ghost

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    Ghosting is a relatively new colloquial dating term that refers to abruptly cutting off contact with someone without giving that person any warning or explanation for doing so. Even when the person being ghosted reaches out to re-initiate contact or gain closure, they're met with silence.

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  9. Ghosting In Dating: Why People Do It, How To Respond

    According to clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., that lack of closure can trigger feelings of uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, and even reduced self-esteem in the person being ghosted. "In general, ghosting is disrespectful and tends to perpetuate patterns of dismissiveness and avoidance," she says.

  10. Ghosting

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    Ghosting — when someone cuts off all communication without explanation — extends to all things, it seems. Most of us think about it in the context of digital departure: a friend not responding to...

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    Ghosted in a Romantic Relationship Breakups are always harder during the early stage of a romantic relationship. It's devastating to be ghosted during this romantic phase, but that's usually when...

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  14. What Ghosting Says About You

    To "ghost" someone means to abruptly cut off contact with them without warning or explanation. Ghosting can involve various actions that essentially cut off all forms of communication, including ignoring phone calls, not responding to text messages, blocking on social media, and avoiding in-person contact.

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    What Does It Mean to Ghost Someone? To "ghost" someone means to abruptly cut off all communication with them, effectively disappearing from their life without explanation. While this term is commonly used in the context of dating , ghosting can also occur between friends, family members, or colleagues.

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    When someone ghosts you, it's them taking action. YOU'RE wrong, YOU did something, YOU'RE the one being left. Regardless of how imperfect your date/partner may have been, the fault seems to lie with the person who wants to stay. We can easily use ghosting as an excuse to beat ourselves up.

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    Ghosting is when someone pretends to be interested in you but abruptly stops replying to your messages or calls without any explanation whatsoever. It's frustrating, confusing, and downright weird. So what do you do? What should you say to your ex when they ghost you? Should you just accept it?

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    There are many psychological reasons why someone ghosts, but at its core, ghosting is avoidance and often stems from fear of conflict. Which means, at its heart, that ghosting is about wanting to avoid confrontation, avoid difficult conversations, avoid hurting someone's feelings. To learn more about how all that avoidance can increase your ...

  21. What Is Ghosting: Meaning, Reasons and What to Do?

    Here are some of the reasons why people ghost you: Change of priorities: for a lot of people, life gets in the way of their personal relationships, and rather than endure the agony of explaining why they can no longer continue with the conversation, they'd rather end it altogether. Short timing: if they have not gotten deep into the ...

  22. 7 Signs Someone Is About To Ghost On You

    4. They're Always Busy. Repeat after me: "If a guy/girl wants to see me, they will, no matter how demanding their schedule is." Seriously. If I text someone and ask them if they want to hang out ...

  23. Ghost Definition & Meaning

    especially : the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness 3 : spirit, demon 4 a : a faint shadowy trace a ghost of a smile b : the least bit not a ghost of a chance 5 : a false image in a photographic negative or on a television screen caused especially by reflection 6