Written by Haley Adams
What is ghosting?
Why would someone ghost?
This manner of ending a relationship and the repercussions that ghosting has on both individuals who are involved are not simple, though. Important to note, ghosting is not used to describe individuals who seek to end an unsafe or abusive relationship by disappearing in order to find safety. The motivation in this case is both emotional and physical safety; whereas, the motivation for ghosting is avoidance (Borguets, 2016).
How do people react to ghosting?
Often, between bouts of insecurity, the victim of the ghosting situation views the ghost as the bad guy and as a coward. These conflicting emotions of anger and insecurity tend to build up and result in extreme behavior that often results in a confrontation with the ghost. Therefore, the very situation that the ghost was trying to avoid occurs tenfold when the victim tracks the ghost down and causes a scene, often in front of an audience that consists of family, friends, or coworkers (Borguets, 2016).
Breakups are difficult to handle, regardless of how they are implemented. However, ghosting is not the appropriate method to use when ending a relationship of any kind. Ghosting is viewed as cowardly and stems from avoidance. This avoidance tactic rarely works because the victim is left with conflicting negative emotions and a surplus of insecurity that often leads them to publicly confront the ghost. Therefore, ghosting should be avoided when ending relationships, and more gentle approaches should be considered.
Borguets, M. (2016). The Psychology of Ghosting: Why People Do It and a Better Way to Break Up. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lantern/the-psychology-of-ghostin_b_7999858.html.
Harasymchuk, C. (2014). Ghosting: The 51st Way to Leave Your Lover? Science of Relationships. Retrieved from http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/home/2015/10/6/ghosting-the-51st-way-to-leave-your-lover.html.
Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair
Social Psychologist, Relationships Researcher,
Ms. Chelsea Ellithorpe
Lab Manager of the Social Relations Collaborative and Blog Editor