One of the benefits, and also the potential pitfalls, of the always connected, always in-touch lifestyle people lead today is the ability to connect with people very easily and literally 24/7/365. A new friend or a potential partner could be just one social media post away, or you may meet someone on a trip to the local coffee shop or even one accidental meeting at a community event.
The downside to this constant interaction with people we don’t know and who are not part of our existing social network is the ease of these people, or ourselves, to simply disappear or go silent. This phenomenon of just vanishing from a relationship or interaction of any type is known as ghosting.
Ghosting is not just a behavior used by people that hardly know each other or perhaps have only “met” through social media and had no personal interaction. In a 2015 article in The New York Times, reporter Valeriya Safronova details how celebrity exes ghost each other, including Charlize Theron ghosting Sean Penn.
In a poll completed by the Huffington Post in 2014, of the 1000 people responding to the question of if they had ever ghosted someone, 11 percent self-reported they had simply disappeared from someone else’s life. Elle magazine also did a similar survey and found out of just under 200 respondents that almost 25% of the women responding reported using the behavior and just over 16% of men had done the same.
Researchers believe that the behavior of ghosting is based, in large part, in the inability of the person engaging in the behavior to set boundaries or to tell the other person they are not interested in pursuing the relationship. This can be a romantic relationship or just a friendship, but it is all about the inability of the individual to feel comfortable in saying “no” to the other person.
Another perspective that is commonly put forth by those who ghost is their inability to have to admit to doing anything wrong. By simply disappearing, they do not have to hear how their behavior has hurt the other person. They are able to internally justify this behavior as something that everyone does. In online dating situations, people who ghost often do not see the other person as “real,”instead they are a just a profile and there is no connection, therefore no empathy for any feelings the other person may have about the relationship. This allows them to simply stop communicating.
What To Do When You Are Ghosted
Today, it is more a question of when you will be ghosted and not if you will be ghosted. If you find someone suddenly stops interacting with you, consider the following tips:
- Recognize the normal reaction — it is normal to feel angry, hurt, ashamed or embarrassed in a ghosting situation. Allowing yourself to accept these feelings and to process them through talking with others can be very helpful.
- Do something you love — by focusing on positive aspects of your life and doing something you enjoy, you can refocus your mind from the potential relationship lost to the positive and real things in your life to enjoy.
- Let go — stop blaming yourself, it was the choice of the other person to end the relationship is this way. Practice forgiveness and mindfulness in moving forward with the positive relationship in your life, letting go of any negativity created by the experience.
Sherry helps singles navigate the dating process to find the love of their lives. Take her quiz to find out if you’re a love addict, sign up for a 30-minute strategy session, or learn more about how to get over a break up. Sherry maintains a private practice in Westlake Village, and is a sought after online dating and relationship coach. For more information, visit www.sherrygaba.com or sign up today for Sherry’s online group coaching program for $19/month https://wakeuprecovery.com/become-a-member-co/