Hi all! Time and time again I've seen people on here ask questions about ghosters, if they're being ghosted and what they can do about it. Today I decided to write this simple myTake on ghosters, as a little guide for what you can do when faced with one.
But first: what is ghosting/a ghoster? Urban Dictionary defines it like this:
When a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they're dating, with zero warning or notice before hand. You'll mostly see them avoiding friend's phone calls, social media, and avoiding them in public.
Ghosting also extends to potential love interests and people you're dating, and it doesn't necessarily have to happen abruptly or without warning. It can also stretch out over a longer period of time, where the ghoster gradually responds less and less to your attempts at contact.
So, what can you do about it?
Step 1: Notice the signs.
Like I mentioned previously, a ghoster is simply a person who is trying to cut you out of their life without outright telling you that they're doing it. It takes them a really long time to respond to text messages, or maybe they just don't respond at all. If they do respond, they often keep their answers short and passive; they don't like contributing anything to the conversation and prefer killing it over keeping it going. If you try to get them to hang out with you (either as a date or just a friend, it doesn't really matter), they might accept the offer but cancel last minute. They would probably give a really basic excuse, such as "I'm swamped with work", "I don't feel well", "I forgot I had this other thing I need to go to" etc. Other than that, they also refuse to take the initiative to reschedule, and would likely turn down any other dates in a similar fashion. If the ghosting is happening over a longer period of time, they might agree to hang out with you and actually follow through. However, those occasions are few and far between, and most of the time they'll try their best to not spend time with you. They never, or very rarely, initiate any conversations with you.
As a rule of thumb; if you feel like you're the one putting all the effort into keeping the connection alive, and they wouldn't try to talk to you at all if you stopped all communication with them, you're being ghosted.
Step 2: Confront them...? Not the best idea.
The problem with confronting a ghoster is that they likely won't be straightforward with you. I mean, the whole point of trying to ghost someone is avoiding conflict, and cutting contact without having to explain why. If you try to confront a ghoster, they would most likely act completely clueless. They would reassure you that they genuinely do like you and want to hang out with you, but they've "just been so busy with work" etc. For a while they might pretend to be interested again and keep the conversation going, but at some point they'll just go back to not responding and showing no interest whatsoever. Or, they'll just ignore your attempt at a confrontation entirely.
Unfortunately, when most people have reached the point of wanting to confront a ghoster, they're already feeling hurt, confused, angry and sad. That's not a good starting point for a constructive conversation, and things could easily escalate into quite a difficult situation if you're not keeping your feelings in check. I've seen many questions on here where people explain that they want to aggressively call out the ghoster and make them feel shitty for what they're trying to do. While I understand where those feelings are coming from, I just don't think it's the best approach. If anything, you'll end up looking like a crazy person for being so angry, and the ghoster will simply get a "confirmation" that they did the "right" thing by ghosting you. At the end of the day, if you try to argue with them or if you try to make them feel the way you're feeling, you likely won't succeed. So to save yourself from the embarrassment: just don't.
Step 3: Accept and move on.
Easier said than done, for sure, but I really don't think there's anything else you could do that would be a better or more satisfying option. I know you want closure. I know you feel confused and hurt. I know that you just want them to tell you why they're doing this. I know you want them to realize that what they're doing is wrong and hurtful. But unfortunately, due to the nature of ghosters and ghosting, that likely won't ever happen. They'll never have the balls to tell you why they don't want to talk to you anymore. They'll never be straightforward about their own thoughts and feelings. They just don't think they owe you anything. Is it shitty? Yes. Is it wrong? For sure. But instead of being angry, trying to confront them, trying to make them interested again, or jealous, or feel shitty over what they've done, just let go. Let them go. If they don't want to talk to you or put the effort into keeping in touch, then they're not worth your time and energy.
The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to accept that you'll never know why they did that to you, and that you can't change them. They won't understand the pain they're causing people until they experience it themselves. That sort of pain can't come from you, because they don't care about you. The faster you let go and drop all communication with them, the faster you'll be able to move on. If you cling onto them and try to force them to keep talking to you, or force them to explain why they're ghosting you, you're only postponing the inevitable.
Ghosting is a shitty thing to do to a person and I don't think anyone deserves to be ghosted (unless they're literally harassing and bullying someone), but at the end of the day I don't think there's much you can do about it. Learning how to spot the red flags and dropping the person when they come off as disinterested and passive is the easiest way to protect yourself from getting hurt. If someone is genuinely interested in you, they will put effort into spending time with you. And if they don't have a lot of time for you, they'll make it up to you by showing their interest in other ways and making sure you're aware that they still like you. Those are the people who deserve your attention, not people who can't be honest about their feelings and half-ass conversations with you out of fake "politeness".