As a child, ghosts were a symbol of entrancing fear for me. Being “ghosted” on Halloween meant finding candy and a note from a friend on my doorstep. I would make it my mission to find out who “ghosted” me and plot who to spook next.
It’s funny how words can acquire so many meanings — in its most common modernized context, “ghosting” refers to when a person whom you are seeing or talking to suddenly leaves the relationship without a trace, never to be heard from again. Many millennials no longer associate ghosts with white sheets and two cut out holes for eyes — they are now associated with broken hearts.
78 percent of millennials claim that they have been victims of ghosting, according to Fortune.com.
Ghosting has become so prominent among young people because we can hide behind screens instead of working through a conflict face-to-face. We no longer have to break off a relationship in person — we can do it with a call or text message instead. Someone who normally replies to messages instantaneously can drive another mad by leaving the message on “read” indefinitely, forcing the other to wonder what they did wrong and why they haven’t received a reply.
It is common for people to ignore messages or even block someone’s number. It’s all a huge game of manipulation, and it hurts deeply when you know the other person could be acting this way out of spite.
What makes ghosting especially painful is that it can happen at a time that you would otherwise think the relationship was going well, and it feels like all those ghosts from your childhood have come back to haunt you. It can be difficult to decide how to approach the situation or how to move on.
When a relationship ends, there must be closure for both parties. The only way for this to be done fairly is face-to-face, giving each person an equal chance to express his or her feelings. When someone is consistently and inexplicably ignored when trying to reach out, that person is denied any semblance of closure or clarification.
It is concerning that the increasing popularity of online dating has made ghosting more popular. Dating apps make ghosting much more common and socially acceptable than in relationships that begin without any communication over the internet.
While the hook-up culture commonly associated with apps like Tinder existed long before anyone ever set up an online dating profile, today’s technology makes it much easier to exit a relationship, as people can easily hide behind their phones and refuse to return calls or texts.
Being ghosted is never easy, and the confusion and uncertainty that the victim is burdened with is both frustrating and devastating. Life is a culmination of experiences good and bad, and such experiences develop your character.
Reflecting on such an experience with peace, as opposed to hostility or fear, makes you a stronger person. In the end, it is most important to recognize your own self worth and not let anyone affect the respect and love you have for yourself.