What Is Ghosting?

Sad woman.

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Ghosting is quite common in today’s dating world. But what does it actually mean? You may have heard the term mentioned in different contexts and various scenarios, and it’s important to be able to understand what ghosting really is if you want to find success in dating. Whether you're someone who got ghosted or if you’re the person doing the ghosting, it's time to take a closer look at what this ghosting phenomenon is all about.

1. What Is Ghosting?

In the most basic sense, ghosting is when someone cuts off all contact with someone else, typically without any warning. For those on the dating scene, ghosting is a common way for people to show that they’re no longer interested in someone, and they’re able to seemingly disappear by never responding to calls, texts, or Facebook messages again. For example, even if you went out with someone a few times or for a few months, he or she may cut off all contact with you and basically become a “ghost.” 

2. Why Do People Choose to Ghost Each Other? 

For many people who are in today’s dating world, ghosting is an appealing way to end things with someone else because it requires no messy, awkward, or painful discussion or breakup. Rather than sitting down face to face with someone and having an in-person and in-depth conversation about why you no longer want to see him or her again, you can skip that uncomfortable step and simply end things at once.

You don’t have to explain your reasoning, defend your point of view, or try to make the other person see where you’re coming from—you can just walk away. Ghosting is an attractive option because you can end things without ever having to tell the other person why you're doing it. 

3. How Can I Get Over Being Ghosted? 

If someone ghosted you, one of the most important and vital lessons you can take away from the situation is that it has more to do with the person who ghosted you and not you.

When it comes to getting ghosted, you don’t and won’t know why someone chose to end things with you because he or she never gave you an explanation. However, rather than sitting and dwelling on what you think the reason could have been and settling on the worst possible scenario, the truth is you’ll never really know. Perhaps this person wasn’t looking for a serious relationship, got back together with an ex, or is too swamped with work to date anyone at all. Since you’ll never have the real answer as to what happened between the two of you and why this person chose to ghost you, it's important to accept what happened and put yourself back out there. Just because you got ghosted doesn’t mean you should take it personally, it just means this wasn’t the right person for you.  

4. Is it Okay to Ghost Another Person?

If you’re wondering if you should ghost someone, take a moment to think about how you’d feel if the situation were reversed. While it may be easier and less awkward to just disappear and stop responding to this person altogether, it can be hurtful and cruel to just leave someone hanging without an explanation or clarification. Even if it may seem more challenging and unpleasant, having an actual conversation with this person about why you’re ending things can help provide much-needed closure to him or her.

It doesn’t have to be a long, in-depth, and drawn-out conversation, but choosing to be honest rather than simply vanishing into thin air is definitely an option worth considering if you want to break up in a mature fashion. On the flip side, there are certainly instances when ghosting someone is completely appropriate, such as if this person was abusive in any way, gave you a weird vibe that made you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, or if you repeatedly warned someone that you'd cut him or her off if this person's inappropriate behavior didn't change, and yet this type of negative behavior persisted.

5. Does Ghosting Only Happen With Dating?

It’s not just dating where ghosting is a common practice, as there are other kinds of close and personal relationships that can end in this same way. For instance, it’s not uncommon for friendships to come to an end when one person decides to cut off all contact with someone else.

For example, you may have a toxic friend who is mean, argumentative, or rude to you in person or online, have a flaky friend who is unreliable and unable to keep plans with you, have a self-centered friend who only reaches out when he or she needs something and is never there for you, or have a friend who betrayed you and your trust. Whatever the reasoning is behind the decision to ghost someone, courtships and friendships alike can end via ghosting.