Things to consider before you ghost someone.

Monday, 15 January 2018


[Ghosting (noun.) the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication] or, if you prefer, the act of being a total, utter douchebag.

Let me explain...

The first time I heard the term 'ghosting' I envisioned a scene in which a person jumps out at an unsuspecting friend, or lover, wearing a bedsheet over their body and flailing their arms whilst making whooshing noises (do ghosts whoosh?) when I discovered I was wrong, two things came to mind.

1. Millennials really do have an incredible talent for coining words to create maximum drama.

2. People are shit, aren't they?


It's a known fact that no two human beings will cope with any one one scenario in the same way, so if you want to get psychological about it, ghosting is ultimately an extension of the old-fashioned 'fight or flight' act that is imprinted in our DNA, so I suppose if you want to look at it like that, it's something that we can't technically help,  right?

Wrong. 

I'm trying not to get on my high horse about this subject too much because it is difficult to know for sure whether or not I've partaken in ghosting activities recently - although, it's almost certainly one of those things you know you're doing, hence, douchebag.

Still, perceptions are so different between the person dishing out shitty behaviour, and the person receiving it, that what I may see as me being scatty and innocently forgetting to reply to someone for months, they could see as me being a stuck-up bitch.

One thing is for sure though, if I have done this to someone, it never would have been intentional.

Which brings me to my main point: there is a monumental difference between no longer speaking to/seeing a person because you are busy, no longer compatible, or because life has simply caused you to drift apart, and choosing to break contact with a person, knowing fully that you are making an active decision to deprive them of a reason, or opportunity to fight for your relationship.

That, my friend, makes you a douchebag.

Exhibit A: 'Low maintenance friends' - the ones you haven't text in months, and are aware that you should, but at the same time they haven't text you either, but it's fine because you're confident that when you do eventually make contact again, whether that's via message or bumping into them in the post office, everything will be fine, you're just busy, busy people - that's life, not ghosting.

Exhibit B: Parting ways - when you decide that a person is no longer having a positive or healthy impact on your life, whether it's a partner or a friend, and you know to preserve your own happiness, you need to cut ties. But you explain this to them, it may be a mutual decision, it may be one-sided, and it'll almost definitely hurt them, and you, like a bitch, but at least you are providing them with the respect of an explanation, and the opportunity for them to tell their side of the story - you may even be able to fix things, isn't communication magical? Not ghosting. 

Then, of course, there are exceptional circumstances, for example, I had a couple of boyfriend's during different periods of my life that were controlling (to say the least) and lead to me breaking contact with some good friends. I didn't provide these friend's with an explanation, firstly because that would be involve communicating with them, which I wasn't supposed to be doing, and secondly because I was embarrassed to have to say; 'yeah sorry, I can't talk to you anymore, because I have a boyfriend, and you have a penis' so I just disappeared off the face of the earth instead.

Luckily for me, when I eventually had the opportunity to apologise for my behaviour, they both understood and forgave me and we're all hanging out again - on the condition that the next person I decide to date, has to go through an interview process with them both, which I guess is fair enough.

But I DID explain myself, so, is that ghosting? You can see why the whole thing is so confusing.

Anyway, I digress.

I think it's super important to be aware of the way you treat others, and the impact your behaviour may have on them, both short-term and long-term.

From the perspective of a person who has both ghosted, and been ghosted, I've delved into some of the effects, that you may, or may not have considered.

Take note, so that perhaps next time you decide that instead of telling that person you don't want to hang out because they can't handle their drink and it's embarrassing, or you no longer have space for them at your party, or you simply want different things, honesty really does hurt a lot fucking less than putting someone in a position of trying to guess why they are no longer worthy of being in your life. 


1. You are robbing that person of an opportunity to explain themselves, to justify whatever actions they may have taken that have lead you to the decision that you no longer want them in your life. Whatever you are going through, how do you know they aren't going through the same? Mental health professionals argue that silent treatment is a form of emotional cruelty, putting the victim in a powerless situation.

2. You are taking away someone's ability to have closure over a situation. You have decided on behalf of both of you that this chapter in your story is over, without allowing them to read the last page. Instead, this person that you once claimed to care about is destined to carry on, never knowing why they were cut short, and never completely able to move on or stop asking themselves why.

3. You've become the reason they sit up at night questioning themselves. "What did I say? What did I do? Let me just check back through my messages, there must have been something? Did I forget your birthday? Was it because I forgot to phone you back?" the list goes on, and on. I mean, if someone did it to you, you'd probably do the same thing right?

4. You are the reason they are scared to make new friends or go on other dates. "What if I really like him/her and it happens again? If it does, then I'll know for sure there's something wrong with me, and I don't know if I can handle that, so, I'll just give it a miss. In fact, I'll probably ignore them all together" - and so the ghosting cycle continues.

Moral of the story?

You can't necessarily blame someone for walking away, or even blame yourself for needing to walk away, you can however, blame someone for the way in which they decide to handle this decision, and you can take time yourself to consider whether your behaviour is a) acceptable and b) going to cause unnecessary harm to another person.

It's 2018. We have smartphones, computers, a million different forms of social networking, there is NO FUCKING EXCUSE NOT TO TALK TO SOMEONE WITHOUT GIVING THEM A REASON.

Ghosts are for rickety, haunted trains at theme parks, not friendships. If you're going to leave someone's life, at least have the decency to tell them why.

Elly xo

4 comments

  1. I agree with this in terms of a healthy relationship, but I do think there are times when it's appropriate to cut someone out of your life completely. But yeah, in a healthy relationship there isn't any need to not give closure.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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    Replies
    1. I agree, and that's what I'm basically saying, there are times when it's important to remove people from your life for the sake of your own happiness and health, but it's how you go about doing it that's the main point. If you're walking away from an abusive/toxic relationship, then obviously you shouldn't have to explain yourself, however, in that situation, if you do leave someone and never talk to them again, they should probably work out the reason why, and ultimately deserve it. I don't know - I just find it interesting to find out where people think the line should be drawn when it comes to this sort of thing. Thanks for reading my lovely! :)

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  2. I really hate it when people ignore messages. There are some circumstances when I chat to them again that make total sense, but other people it just confuses me. Really interesting discussion :)
    Amy xx
    www.goldenbooksgirl.wordpress.com

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  3. I agree, there is a difference between no longer being compatible and going out your way to completely ignore someone. I get that there are circumstances where you decide you no longer think it's healthy to have that person in your life but I think there are ways you can deal with it other than ghosting them. I can though understand people ignoring others once they've already explained why they no longer what them in their life, like they've already spoken to them about it a bunch of times but they keep going on about it.

    Such an interesting post pet :)!

    L xo
    www.lindsaymurrell.co.uk

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