Call me crazy, but the answer to this question should always be “not to ghost.”
Yes, almost every relationship has an ending point. It’s an inevitability.
But why must you ghost? Why can’t you just be upfront, have a conversation, and then move on with your life?
I have two theories on this. Bear with me, because before I get into them, I just want to define a few things for the purpose of my discussion:
- Ghost: See above graphic, courtesy of urbandictionary.com
- Relationship: Not just physically intimate interactions, but any interaction on a romantic level between two interested parties for the purpose of getting to know each other and sharing things. For the purposes of my discussion, this does not include relationships featuring domestic abuse, cheating, mental disorders, any sort of criminal activity, or anything that would necessitate one party from vanishing from the relationship in order to protect his or herself.
- Conversation: The act of speaking to another human being for the purpose of communicating any sentiment, in which the other party is given the chance to respond. We call this catching the ball, and then throwing it back.
Okay, so onto my theories. The question, to refresh your memory, is why must you ghost, rather than having a conversation to end the relationship?
Theory 1: Cowardice
As stated in the urbandictionary.com definition, ghosting typically occurs based on the “subject’s maturity and communication skills.” One must assume that a person who chooses to ghost someone with whom they are in a relationship does not have the tools at their disposal to handle a “break-up” conversation.
With that being said, I would put forth this question to the ghost-ee: “why didn’t you realize the person you were in a relationship with had such poor communication skills?” If you did realize this, then, in all honesty, you were kind of setting yourself up for failure. It may protect you in the long run to pay closer attention to your person’s communication skills and maturity level…
Theory 2: Miscommunication
Let’s say the ghost-er is not actually a coward, but just really does not care enough about you to do anything more except stop talking to you. So then, the question becomes: “what egregious miscommunication occurred to make you think there was something more to this relationship than what was?”
Ah, that’s a tough one. You see, it could be a multitude of things. Maybe the you were mishearing some of the things the ghost-er was saying, lowkey blowing a few things out of proportion. Maybe the ghost-er was just having a laugh at your expense, trying to see how far you would fall for them before they disappeared. Maybe the ghost-er was a quasi-sociopath who was just saying whatever came to their mind, and you were, unfortunately, taking them at their word. That’s one of those things you will probably never know- hence the sense of “no closure.”
* * * * *
Regardless, here’s my thought for either of those theories as they apply to ghost-er:
Let’s say you do ghost. Let’s say you block their number, unfollow them on social media, the works. Let’s say the ghost is 110% successful, and BOOM, you’re out of the relationship like you wanted to be, no bubbles, no troubles on your end (it’s not like you’re super concerned about the damage you may have caused to the other person, anyways, right?). Let’s say you barely give them a second thought after that.
But then, let’s say you run into them a year or so later. Let’s say from the look they give you across the room, they are not pleased to see you.
Oh. How awkward is this?
I mean, chances are, they probably kind of hate you. They probably spent a solid amount of time trying to get over you – not because you were the love of their life or anything, but more so because they didn’t get any closure, and then had to spend a decent amount time rectifying their confused pride and snubbed self-esteem. So… what do you do now?
Do you go say hi? Will they even say hi back? Are they mature enough to just be nice to you despite how much they don’t like you? Are you getting a drink thrown in your face? Are they going to want to bring up your ghosting from a year ago? Should you just try and escape out the back door? Inquiring minds want to know!
Whew. I got exhausted just typing that. ‘Cause, I mean, you won’t know… until you chance it.
So… maybe instead of all that extra angst, here’s another idea:
Don’t ghost. Be a grown-up. Have a conversation. Tell them it’s over, you’re no longer interested, it just isn’t working for you anymore… whatever it is. Just say it.
Resentment builds, and a ghost-ee typically has quite a bit of resentment, whether from their bruised ego, their perceived wasted time with you, their constant state of “why did this happen,” or their sense of betrayal from sharing private things with you.
So, look… if you had the time to engage in the relationship, trust me, you have the time to give the other person the courtesy of a conversation to express why it’s not for you anymore. Catch the ball… and throw it back.
Oh, obviously if you tell them all that and then they’re still acting like you’re in a relationship, then yeah… ghost away. That’s a whole different issue right there.