How to Get Over Being Ghosted: A Guide to Coping
Have you ever been left in a state of confusion, with your messages unanswered and your heartache multiplying? If so, then you know the lingering sting of being ghosted. Still, many of us want to know how to deal with being ghosted.
In 2023, about one in four people (Gen Z/Millennials) reported they were ghosted after the first date or after the first few dates. With the rise of technology and dating apps, ghosting has become a common experience in the modern world.
In this guide, we’ll explore some coping mechanisms to help you navigate through the aftermath of ghosting.
What is Ghosting?
Ghosting is a term that has evolved in the digital dating era. It refers to the sudden and unexplained withdrawal of communication from one person in a relationship without any apparent reason or closure.
This could mean unanswered text messages, ignored calls, or even blocked social media connections. Often occurring in romantic relationships, ghosting can also take place between friends or in professional scenarios.
The ‘ghost,’ or the person who initiates the cut-off, disappears without providing an explanation or opportunity for dialogue. This leaves the ‘ghosted’ individual in a state of confusion, frustration, and sometimes profound hurt.
Ghosting has become increasingly prevalent with the rise of online communication platforms. This is because it’s easy to hide behind a screen and detach from personal responsibility. Despite its prevalence, ghosting is often viewed as a form of emotional cruelty due to the significant emotional distress it can cause the individual left in the dark.
Examples of Ghosting
Ghosting can take many forms and can happen at any stage of a relationship. It’s not just limited to romantic relationships. It can also occur in friendships or professional connections.
Some examples of ghosting include:
- In a Romantic Relationship: Someone you have been dating for a few weeks, with whom you’ve shared intimate conversations and plans for the future, suddenly stops responding to your texts and calls. Their profile disappears from your social media feeds, and you’re left without any explanation.
- In a Friendship: A close friend whom you’ve known and trusted for years abruptly stops responding to your messages. They’re still active on social media, but they never reply to your texts or calls, and you’re left wondering what you did wrong.
- In a Professional Scenario: After a promising job interview, the recruiter fails to get back to you. They no longer respond to your emails and calls, leaving you in the dark about the outcome.
- In an Online Community: A person you regularly interact with on a social media platform suddenly disappears. Their account is either deactivated or they stop posting and responding to messages, leaving you wondering what happened to them.
- In a Mentorship: Your mentor, who has been guiding you through your career or personal life, suddenly goes silent. They stop responding to your messages and emails, and no longer schedule any meetings or calls, leaving you bewildered and unsure about your future direction.
It’s important to remember that ghosting is not limited to these examples and can occur in various forms and situations.
Why Do People Ghost Each Other?
People tend to resort to ghosting for a variety of reasons, often rooted in emotional discomfort or a desire to avoid confrontation. Here are some common reasons:
- Fear of Confrontation: Some people find it challenging to have difficult conversations or confront others about their feelings. They may choose to ghost as an easy way out, avoiding the discomfort of expressing their lack of interest or explaining their decision to end the relationship.
- Non-Verbal Communication: In some cases, the ‘ghoster’ may believe that their lack of response sends a clear message. They may feel that an explicit conversation or formal break-up is unnecessary, assuming that their silence is communication enough.
- Feeling Overwhelmed: Another common reason for ghosting is feeling overwhelmed by the emotional demands of a relationship. If a person feels they can’t meet these expectations or deal with the other person’s emotional needs, they might opt for the simplicity of disappearing rather than dealing with the complexities of the situation.
- Lack of Emotional Connection: Some people ghost because they don’t feel an emotional connection strong enough to warrant a conversation about ending the relationship. They may feel it’s easier to disappear than to explain their lack of feelings.
- The Anonymity of Online Interaction: With the rise of digital communication, it’s become easier than ever to disconnect from others. The anonymity of online interactions allows people to ghost without facing the immediate emotional impact of their actions.
- Manipulation: In some cases, ghosting is a form of emotional manipulation. By leaving the other person in a state of uncertainty and confusion, the ‘ghoster’ exerts a form of control and creates an imbalance of power.
- Low Emotional Intelligence: Finally, some individuals may not understand the emotional impact of ghosting. They may lack the empathy to consider how their actions can hurt others and fail to recognize the importance of closure and communication.
It’s essential to remember that while these reasons might explain why people ghost, they don’t justify the emotional distress caused by this act. Ghosting denies the other person closure, leaving them in a state of confusion and hurt.
Effects of Ghosting
Being ghosted can have significant effects on an individual’s emotional well-being.
- Confusion: The sudden disappearance of another person can leave an individual feeling confused. They may struggle to understand why they were ghosted, what went wrong, and if there’s anything they could have done differently.
- Lowered Self-Esteem: Ghosting can make a person question their self-worth and desirability. Being rejected without any explanation or closure can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.
- Trust Issues: Being ghosted can make a person hesitant to trust others in future relationships. The sudden loss of communication can lead to feelings of betrayal, making it difficult for the individual to open up and be vulnerable with others.
- Emotional Pain: Ghosting can cause significant emotional pain, especially if the relationship was meaningful and had potential. The sudden loss of contact with someone can feel like a rejection, leading to feelings of heartache and sadness.
- Impact on Mental Health: Being ghosted can also have an impact on an individual’s mental health, causing symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However, it’s important to note that the effects of ghosting can vary depending on the individual and the relationship. It’s essential to prioritize self-care and seek support from loved ones or a mental health professional if needed.
Is It Ever Okay to Ghost Someone?
Ghosting is generally seen as a largely unacceptable practice because it leaves the other party in a state of uncertainty, confusion, and emotional distress. Open and compassionate communication is the cornerstone of any relationship, be it personal or professional, and ghosting undermines this principle.
However, there are some rare cases where ghosting may be seen as the lesser of two evils. This includes situations where the person being ghosted poses a threat to the physical or emotional safety of the ghoster.
In such scenarios, ending communication abruptly may be a necessary protective measure. Nevertheless, in a majority of situations, it’s more respectful and humane to have a straightforward conversation about ending the relationship.
How to Deal With Being Ghosted
If you have been ghosted, it’s essential to take care of yourself and your emotional well-being. Here are some tips on how to cope with being ghosted:
Strategies for Overcoming Ghosting
- Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s okay to feel hurt, confused, or angry after being ghosted. Don’t suppress your emotions; instead, acknowledge them and give yourself the space to process them.
- Take a Break from Social Media: Seeing the ‘ghoster’ active on social media can be painful and prolong the healing process. Consider taking a break from their profiles or even blocking them if necessary.
- Reach Out to Your Support System: Lean on your friends and family for emotional support during this time. Talking to someone you trust can help you process your feelings and gain perspective on the situation.
- Don’t Blame Yourself: Remember that being ghosted is not a reflection of your worth as a person. Don’t blame yourself or question what you did wrong; sometimes, people’s actions are more about them than you.
- Focus on Self-Care: Engage in activities that bring you joy and take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can include exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, or pursuing a hobby.
- Don’t Seek Closure from the Ghoster: It’s natural to want closure after being ghosted, but remember that it’s not your responsibility to seek it from the other person. Focus on finding closure within yourself and moving on from the situation.
- Be Open to New Connections: While being ghosted can be hurtful, it’s essential to remember that not everyone will treat you this way. Be open to new connections and give others a chance, trusting that there are people out there who will communicate openly and honestly with you.
Remember, being ghosted says more about the other person’s character than it does about you. Don’t let someone else’s actions define your self-worth and keep moving forward with an open heart and mind.
Ghosting & Self-Esteem
Ghosting can profoundly impact a person’s self-esteem, primarily because it involves a sudden and unexplained rejection. The absence of closure can stir up self-doubt and lead to introspective questions like, “Was I not good enough?” or “Did I do something wrong?”.
The ‘ghosted’ individual may even start to internalize this rejection. They might believe that their worthiness of love and connection is inherently flawed. This negative self-perception can then permeate other aspects of their lives, influencing their self-confidence.
In my book, Life After Low Self-Esteem, I provide practical tools to rebuild self-worth and confidence. It’s crucial to recognize that our worth as individuals does not depend on others’ actions or opinions. At the end of the day, we have the power to define our self-worth.