Ghosting, social rejection

“The opposite of love isn’t hate: it is indifference”. Elie Wiesel

Ghosting is having someone you are in a relationship with – a friend, relative, someone you’re dating, even an employee, stop all contact with no explanation. To me, it is a cowardly way to behave, a quick and easy way out.  When you think someone cares about you, and they stop all contact with no explanation it is hurtful and selfish. Those who ghost are trying to avoid their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t giving a thought to how it feels to be ghosted. Unless they’ve been hit by a bus, there is no excuse for such bad behavior. While it is usually associated with dating, ghosting has spread to the professional world. Employers are increasingly reporting being ghosted during the hiring process, and even after someone has been hired – employees just stop showing up.

Why it hurts

According to an article in Psychology Today, 50% of men and women have experienced ghosting and the same amount have actually done the ghosting.

Ghosting makes people feel disposable and dispensable. “Social rejection activates the same pathways in the brain as physical pain” according to a Psychology Today article. One can actually reduce the emotional pain with a pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol! The one who has been ghosted has no way of knowing how to react. Should they be hurt, should they be worried, are they over- reacting, did they do something wrong? Since they don’t know what has happened, they don’t know what to feel or how to act. Once the situation appears to be ghosting, the victims question themselves. What did they do wrong? What is wrong with them? Why didn’t they see this coming? A rejection affects one’s self-esteem and prevents any closure.

I always told my children that dating serves the purpose of helping them learn what works and what doesn’t work for them in a relationship. What behavior they like and what they didn’t like. The silent treatment prevents that learning from taking place.

How to recover

It’s important to remember that ghosting says volumes about the person doing the ghosting and nothing about the ghosting victim. The ‘ghoster’ has basically informed you that you don’t want anything to do with that type of person. Try to consider yourself lucky that you dodged a bullet, if possible.   Take the high road and continue to treat people with respect and consideration and maintain your dignity.

Once in a while a phenomenon called haunting occurs. This is where the ghoster returns. The experts advise being honest about your feelings about having been ghosted and ask for an explanation. Do not accept bad behavior and weak excuses. No one needs that in their life. The experts  also advise extreme caution. Ghosting was very bad behavior and it sends a strong warning about the kind of person the ghoster really is.