What is ghosting and why is it so prominent in modern day dating?
What is ghosting?
A recent You Gov/Huffington Post poll in the States revealed that 11% of adults had ‘ghosted’ someone over the course of their lifetime, while, according to PsychologyToday, 50% of Americans have experienced some form of ghosting. Evidently, ghosting is a likely reality if one in two of us experience some shape of it during our dating years. But what exactly is it and how do you know if you’ve been ghosted?
Ghosting put simply is when you’re seeing someone (be it your first date or your seventh) and the person you were dating suddenly disappears into thin air (like a ghost!). They give you the extreme silent treatment and fail to respond to any of your messages. It can be particularly frustrating for the person being ghosted, especially if they felt like the relationship was going well.
What is ghosting? Why is it so common?
Modern technology certainly facilitates an increase in communication and enables us to connect with people quickly and easily. But by the same logic, it’s also extremely quick and easy to stop communication with someone. As a result, individuals feel disconnected from their actions and from the people they’ve met online. This plays a huge part in the uprise of ghosting – people simply feel no loyalty or obligation to treat someone properly who they’ve met on a dating app.
Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. writes on PsychologyToday, ‘Ghosting is the ultimate use of the silent treatment, a tactic that has often been viewed by mental health professionals as a form of emotional cruelty. It essentially renders you powerless and leaves you with no opportunity to ask questions or be provided with information that would help you emotionally process the experience.’ So while the ghosters arguably feel little remorse for ignoring someone, the people ghosted can be left feeling abandoned and rejected.
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What is ghosting? Why do people ghost?
There are a number of possible reasons as to why people ghost. Unfortunately, in many cases the person is actually already in a relationship and flirting with the idea of maybe having an affair. They then tend to suddenly change their minds and ghost the person they were messaging, realizing that it’s in fact not something they want. Sadly, many people get caught up in the middle of this and wound up being ghosted as a result. It is however an explanation as to why contact is suddenly cut.
However, the most common reason for ghosting is simply that the individual in question is not interested and doesn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. For want of a better phrase ‘he/she’s just not that in to you’. Often, it is that straightforward – perhaps they didn’t feel any chemistry or have decided your relationship isn’t going anywhere. Of course saying this to someone is awkward and uncomfortable, so cowardly individuals find it easier to just ghost. They then don’t need to go through the process of explaining themselves and upsetting someone.