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The psychology behind ghosting

college culture


Boston University


The psychology behind ghosting

Disappeared like Houdini

Valeria Villalobos


The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. If you hate someone, you still care, they still matter, and it still hurts. If you’re indifferent, it means you don’t give a shit and nothing the person says or does affects you. Someone once told me your two biggest weapons in life are indifference and ghosting. The person couldn’t have been more right.

What does ghosting mean?
It’s the ultimate silent treatment. It means ceasing all communication with a person you’re dating or talking to, as opposed to telling the person upfront how you feel. Poof! From one day to the other the person just disappears without reason like Houdini (hence the term ghosting).

It's seen as an easy let down. If you’ve been ghosted you know that it feels like shit and it basically makes you go bat-shit crazy. We’ve all been guilty of hoping someone will get a hint and go away (don’t lie) but those of us who have been ghosted know it feels shitty AF and it's incredibly common.

The ghost doesn’t offer or give any explanations leaving the ghosted wondering where he or she went wrong: "I shouldn't have double texted. Was I too clingy? Maybe I said something wrong." These are just a few of the questions that go through peoples' heads because they have no clue as to why all of a sudden interest disappeared.

We’ve all been there (if you haven’t you’re one of the lucky ones). We’ve all been the person justifying the situation, telling ourselves things like: “Maybe he/she hasn’t seen the message, maybe his/her phone broke, maybe he/she has been super busy. Accepting the truth is hard and so is grasping the fact that the person just stopped looking for you because it leaves you without closure.

A lot of times it's not personal, it might have nothing to do with you, but other times the truth might be he/she is just NOT that into you and doesn't want to tell you. Ghosting a person is the easiest way to handle the situation in the short run. Whatever a ghost's reasons are, it isn't fair but in all honesty, we've all ghosted and we've all been ghosted.

Ghosting sucks because rejection sucks. It's a strong emotion that makes you angry and leaves you hurt but it hurts because our brains don't really handle the process well. It leaves you with questions. Why would someone end a relationship without saying anything? You can choose to see it two ways. 1) the person has a lack of empathy and is unable to face conflict OR 2) the person might be doing both of you a favor. It doesn't feel good but the message is as clear as when a person calls you and says they're not interested.

Most ghosts claim that this is better because in this way they don’t hurt the other person. In my opinion and by analyzing why I’ve done it, it’s just a selfish and easy way to avoid an emotional conversation. It’s not really about taking the other person’s feelings into consideration. The ghost is only thinking of him/ herself. In this way you avoid awkwardness and a difficult confrontation. Technology has helped us avoid confrontations. Through a screen you can choose to answer or completely ignore a person. When you ignore them you’re avoiding having to see their reaction.

The ghosts reasons are all mostly internal. Ghosting is avoiding an uncomfortable situation, fear of conflict, and a difficult conversation. The person isn't thinking of YOU when taking this into consideration. The person is being selfish because he/she doesn't want to put him/herself in that position. Sadly, it's a lack of empathy as well and the person believes that they don't owe anyone an explanation. The thing is once ghosted, the ghostee begins to blame him or herself.

“ Did I do something wrong? Did I respond to fast through text message? Ugh I'm so annoyed, I feel so pathetic. Should I text him? No they said they would text.”

It literally drives you crazy because you have absolutely NO idea as to why the person stopped talking to you. People spend, hours, days, weeks, months trying to put the puzzle together and sometimes never get answers. Lack of closure sucks.

In conclusion, it's not cool but STOP BLAMING YOURSELF. Don’t be too hard on yourself because most of the time it's not personal. Ghosting speaks a lot about the other person and way you react to it speaks about you. So like I said earlier, indifference hear is your weapon because the person was indifferent toward you.