In today’s world, you can do almost anything with your smartphone. With a few taps of the screen you can order a pizza, watch a movie or even summon a complete stranger to pick you up and take you somewhere else. Smartphones have conditioned us to avoid communicating with other people and this impersonal relationship with other people has brought about a new trend in dating called “ghosting.” Ghosting is when the person no longer happy in a relationship just disappears, ceasing all communication with the person they were formerly dating. Is this approach an appropriate way to end a relationship? While some may argue that it’s okay if the relationship was primarily casual, I disagree. Ghosting is not an appropriate way to end a relationship, regardless of its status in your life.
There are many reasons that ghosting is not a good way to end a relationship, the first being that it’s just plain cruel. Whatever the reason may be that you’re unhappy, everyone deserves some closure. You may have seen a relationship as casual but the other person may have been much more invested than you. You cannot assume that because you don’t have legitimate feelings for someone that those feelings, or lack of feelings, are reciprocated. Withdrawing from all communication leaves the person being ghosted with several questions and no answers. The person being ghosted is left questioning what they did wrong or why they didn’t even deserve a response from you.
This form of rejection can have a lot of psychological consequences, especially if it was a long-established relationship. Many people, especially women, already struggle with self-esteem issues and leaving someone high and dry does even more damage to their already weak self-esteem. While you may ghost someone to avoid hurting their feelings, you’re really just being selfish by avoiding having the uncomfortable conversation of a breakup.
According to a study published by “Journal of Research in Personality,” ending a relationship by avoidance or withdrawing from communication was determined to be the least ideal breakup strategy. The study identified common breakup tactics including: avoidance and lack of communication, manipulation, open confrontation, becoming unpleasant, indirect communication such as Facebook or texting, and self-blame. Participants were asked to rate the tactics, and the study determined that being open and honest was the most ideal. This strategy is the most ideal because it encourages closure. Since avoidance and withdrawing communication is the very basis of ghosting, one can conclude that ghosting has been determined as the worst way to break up with someone.
To be sure, many believe that ghosting is okay if the relationship is casual, or implied to be casual. While this may make it seem justified, it’s still not an acceptable way to terminate a relationship. In life, you will be forced into uncomfortable situations and as adult, you will have to deal with them. This may be in both your personal or professional life. Being an adult means you should have the maturity to have these uncomfortable conversations regardless of the conditions or the consequences.
Technology and smartphones have perpetuated this fear of confrontation by making it easier to avoid all together. Since most people in today communicate either through text or social media, avoiding those conversations have become easier since there is no longer a personal connection. While it may be easy to avoid someone in the virtual world, in the real world that may not be the case. What would happen if you coincidentally run into the person that you have been actively avoiding? You’re probably going to wish you had had an open and honest conversation with that person, making that encounter and confrontation even worse than if you were to have had it to begin with.
To conclude, ghosting is hurtful and may end up backfiring on you. Avoiding someone because you don’t want to hurt their feelings is cowardly and immature. Most people agree that the best way to end a relationship is through open and honest conversation. If you have gone on dates, spent time together, been intimate with someone or any other implication of non-platonic feelings, you owe it to that person if you don’t feel the same. We all struggle with self-esteem and ghosting someone leaves them feeling hurt, confused and unsure of themselves. At the very least, send someone a text message letting them know how you feel and why furthering your relationship with them does not interest you. You’re not ghosting for the sake of the other person, you’re selfishly and cowardly doing it for your own good.