Ghosting in this era simply means cutting all communication with someone as a means of ending the relationship. There is no discussing what happened or why; you simply stop texting, calling, Skyping, emailing, snap-chatting, and/or Instagramming. And, you ignore any form of communication from the person you’re ghosting so that they get the message that the two of you are through. It’s understood by everyone involved. And once you realize you’re being ghosted, you acknowledge it to yourself and anyone who cares to know, and you accept the fate of the relationship—it all over.
Someone of a previous generation will have at least two things to say about ghosting. The first is that it’s not new behavior—“igging” or ignoring would be the out-moded term for ghosting. Older generations had only a few modes of ghosting: refusing phone calls, ignoring written letters, and avoiding socially. So it’s not a new way to call it quits.
The other comment that might be said about ghosting is that it’s immature. But since it’s not a new response to quitting or ditching a played-out relationship then it would have been considered immature back in the day. And, “that’s all I gotta say about that”
Immature or not the question on the table is “Is ghosting gutless?” It is a way to protect the unwanted party from the hurt of the words “I’ don’t love you anymore,” I don’t want to be your friend anymore,” or “We’re going in a new direction”? Or, is it protection for the rejecter? In other words, “Is it that I don’t have the guts to tell you these things because I can’t actually bring myself to be this honest and straightforward? Am I protecting myself because I am afraid of the responses, which might hurt me more than my ghosting or words would hurt you?
What if your response to my words of rejections was something like “Thank you for moving on, I really wasn’t that into you.” Or, “You are such a loser; and a waste of my time.” Now, ghosting doesn’t sound immature or cowardice, right? The thought of someone saying such horrible things might do you much more harm than your simply going ghost. Ghosting, in this case, saves everyone. It saves the ghosted person from having to ‘break it down to you” and it saves you from having to hear it.
So ghosting can be considered a mutual gift. It’s a way out for both parties. It’s a way that you may (on some level) convince yourself that you actually “quit” the relationship when you were actually saving face or preventing a deeper embarrassment. In this sense, both are ghosting. And no long mature or immature discussion is even necessary.
So, ghosting has many sides and only those who are dancing that dance actually know the “real untold story.” Our lesson then is that relationships are complicated and intricate so the best any of us can do is to respect others’ chosen ways of managing the often stickiness of relationship break-ups.