Where are you? Hello? Are you there?
It’s not a great feeling – to be ignored or dismissed without reason.
How often has someone you meet in your everyday life stopped talking to you, for example, a neighbour, a partner, a colleague etc.? Yet online, the abrupt ending of communication happens to thousands of people worldwide.
It doesn’t seem fair, but why does it happen? (Maybe you have done it yourself?). So, if you are left wondering, why she ghosted me and what to do now?, first let’s understand what is ghosting.
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What is Ghosting?
It sounds spooky, but ghosting is a modern term that, according to the definition on Wikipedia, refers to the behaviour of ceasing communication or contact with someone without warning or justification.
The person will also ignore subsequent follow-up attempts at communication.
As you can imagine, it can come as a shock and, quite frankly, an insult if you are on the other end of this baffling communication style.
And it’s becoming ‘normal.’ A study from a dating platform reports 80% of its younger demographic have experienced the behaviour.
So why do people do it? Could some reasons justify this? Here, we discuss a few possibilities for this confusing and upsetting behaviour.
Why Do People Ghost
1.Different expectations of the conversation
More often than not, people have certain expectations from each other. For example, you are on a platform known for dating, so it would be reasonable to expect the conversation to go in that direction at some point.
But what if her expectation of dating is getting to know someone over weeks or months, but you expect to start talking more intimately at the start of the relationship?
This clash of expectations could result in a communication mismatch and cause her to withdraw from the conversation fast! And that’s why she disappeared eventually.
What about another scenario where she forms an initial impression of you from the conversation? She thinks of you in a certain way: friendly, with no interest in politics and fitness. Then something in the discussion (tone? language? expression?) makes her change her impression and expectation from the exchange. Did you say something political?
Did you inadvertently make fun of something important to her? Now she thinks you are someone else than the person she first met. This is another reason why someone may choose the ghosting strategy.
2.You Didn’t Get the Hint
Ghosting is not your fault – it is a choice made by another person. But we are trying to think why someone may have made that decision.
One reason may be that she tried to hint to you first that her interest was not there, but you did not pick up the hint.
Now think back to a time when this happened to you. Was there a warning? Did she start responding slower? Or maybe the answers were shorter? Sometimes people like to let others down without saying directly, “No offence, but I am not interested.”
Many people may take offence and even get angry, so some try to drop hints instead to let people down easier.
Except if that doesn’t work, as people cannot always pick up hints (or read minds), then the subsequent ghosting will ensure that someone is indeed offended!
Communication and misinterpretations can be a big problem, which leads me to the next heading.
3.Lack of Confidence or Communication Skills
Not everyone has great communication skills. Healthy communication is usually not taught; therefore, we learn from observing others and sometimes learning bad habits.
Projection, invalidation, attention-seeking or any number of unhealthy communication habits can cause someone to say something offensive or miscommunicate their feelings.
A lack of confidence or self-esteem can further exacerbate communication problems as a person struggles to feel equal in a conversation or communicate their needs. Thoughts such as “I feel tired, ‘I am busy right now, ‘I don’t feel comfortable with this conversation etc., are not always easy for people to say.
You can see how all this might lead a person to stop communicating altogether – it’s ‘easier.’
So to avoid the tough talk, they might ghost you. It’s not fair and not your fault, but it could be a significant reason you may never hear from someone again.
4.Sad Reality – Is It a Scammer?
Sadly, not everyone is friendly and well-meaning like you! Sometimes people fool others to gain something and leave distressed people in their wake.
Unfortunately, terms like ‘catfishing’ (fooling someone with a fake identity) are as common as ghosting on the internet these days.
Since these scammers are out to fool you, it’s possible that if they perceive you are becoming suspicious, they will cut you off! It could be your keen observation skills saving you, but it could also be why you find yourself mysteriously ghosted by that swimsuit model — again!
It’s a cruel world sometimes.
The Effects of Ghosting
At first, ghosting may appear benign or simply an annoyance. However, the behaviour can negatively affect some people.
Imagine if someone you know in person just disappeared from your life. Then you can understand the loss, grief and even depression that could result. One minute you have a great conversation and reveal personal vulnerabilities, and the next, silence.
What about trust? Could this experience cause you to lose confidence in people? It may make you suspicious, which could, in turn, upset your subsequent relationships! Trust is hard to develop but easy to break.
And this could all very easily turn into self-blame. Without an explanation of what went wrong, you can be left to your imagination about why your new best friend is not talking to you anymore. It might be a wholly innocent explanation – but you will never know.
Chance to Self-Analyse
It’s not your responsibility to control others people’s reactions. They choose to ghost – it’s their decision of how they wish to end the relationship (and it’s possible they feel very guilty!). But suppose it’s happened to you regularly. In that case, you can analyse your communication style and conversation threads to see if there is anything you might be doing that is contributing to the situation.
Do you listen to others or mostly talk about yourself? Do you get angry if you do not like someone’s opinion? Are you too familiar with people too soon and cross boundaries? Maybe we all need to check our communication and behaviour from time to time.
Have you ghosted someone yourself in the past? You are not a bad person, yet occasionally, for whatever reason, you may be guilty of ghosting someone. Relationships are not easy and moving on in a less ‘painful’ way happens.
Remember – if you are ghosted, it is someone else’s response and choice, but we can become aware of our behaviours through relationships and always learn something new.
What to Do & What to Text After Being Ghosted
1. Don’t rush to judgment that it’s your fault
2. Reflect on your conversation and analyse
3. Leave a polite message( if you feel like it) to see if they are okay, and leave it at that. Something like:
- Is everything all right? I noticed it’s been a while since you responded.
- I’m assuming you’re no longer interested. While I would have liked to have been told this directly, I still wish you the best in your future dating pursuits.
- I totally understand if you’re not feeling this anymore, but I can’t read your mind and would love some clarity on what went wrong, if you’re willing to provide it.
- Are you OK? You haven’t texted in a while, and I wanted to make sure you were doing all right.
4. Accept that not everyone can communicate healthily
5. Meet up with supportive friends and reconnect with people who make you feel good
6. Know that you are not alone. If you need helpful resources, also check out this Comprehensive Guide To 150+ Helpful Resources For Men
Why Did it Happen to You?
The problem with ghosting is that you won’t know why it happened!
Was it something you said?
Was there a better person waiting in the wings?
Was the person in crisis?
The net result is that you might be left feeling lousy. You might lose trust in people and blame yourself. Rather than be defeated by the behaviour, be prepared, hope you can communicate from your side in a healthy way, and wait to meet someone who deserves your friendship.
Jennifer is the co-founder of menPsyche. She holds an Applied Science degree in Public Health & Health Promotion and authored the ‘Personal Disaster’ book series.
Jennifer has a vast range of experience across many domains, including extensive international exposure.