The Ghosting Epidemic

Ghosting is defined as the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone suddenly and without explanation by withdrawing from all communication. In short, Ghosting is the modern term for what was previously referred to as shunning. The main difference is that today you are not only shunned- but often digitally erased or blocked as well.

A quick Google search seems to indicate that the term “Ghosting” originated around 2006 or 2007. It became a more widely used term in 2014 following Hannah VanderPoel’s parody video on YouTube entitled “Ghoster’s Paradise” and has grown in practice ever since.

Being Ghosted causes a lot of emotional pain, but the lack of closure is what really stings. This is what makes it much more difficult for the victim to let go and move on with their life. All dissolutions are challenging, but when you are left with a multitude of unanswered questions, it serves to magnify the pain and bewilderment.

If you are familiar with my work, you probably already figured out that I am not a fan of Ghosting. It goes against pretty much everything I teach my clients. One of the main tenants of my work is that good things happen when you learn to take responsibility for everything you do, good or bad.

Ghosting is an extreme form of avoidance and I have never seen anyone get better through avoidance. I have never Ghosted anyone, so I cannot speak from direct experience, but I have avoided things before, and I always paid a price later on for doing so. This is why I make it a priority to do the more difficult thing now, and save the easy stuff for when I get to the point where I am less capable than I am right now.

One of my best friends growing up (CW) was an early adopter of Ghosting. I saw him Ghost quite a few people throughout our over 20-year friendship. I naively thought I was immune to this type of treatment from him, but eventually, things caught up to me, and my turn came.

I initially blamed outside sources (like his new girlfriend) in an attempt to ease my pain. Then I fell into the trap of wondering what I did “wrong?” It took me a long time to realize it was inevitable and accept that it is just the way he is. I learned a long time ago that all I can control is my actions and reactions, so I keep my focus on them.

I see far too many people get angry when they are Ghosted. I have come to realize that anger may feel good at the moment, but it is a counterproductive emotion. I prefer to use empathy when met with situations like being Ghosted. I feel badly that CW never learned a better way to end relationships and is stuck in this cycle. I feel badly that he missed out on so many things as a result of all the Ghosting he has done, but I remain thankful for all the time we spent together.

If you Ghost people and want to stop… there is no time like the present. It can be as easy as (in dating) telling them they are a cool person, but you just don’t feel a spark. In a friendship situation, you can thank them for the time spent together and let them know that you have new priorities going forward. These approaches may not be easy, but they are kind.


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


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