This post is going to be about ghosting. And by ghosting I don’t mean that moment when you’re tired of witnessing the collapse of the world, so you throw a sheet over your head and wait for it to all be over. Anyone else feel like doing that right now? No one? Just me? Ok cool.
I want to speak a bit about this phenomenon called “ghosting.” The term has been around for a while, so most of us probably already know what it is. In case you don’t, ghosting is when you’re chatting with someone (presumably someone you’ve never met in person) on some kind of technology platform (most of the time it’s some kind of dating app), and one of you just stops talking to the other person all of a sudden with no explanation. It is as if they have fallen off the face of the planet or they never really existed at all in the first place, and you mind just made them up because you’re feeling lonely as fuck. Anyone else? No one? Just me? Ok cool.
Just as a bit of a disclaimer, I’m not writing this because I am scorned from someone ghosting me (although I have been ghosted). I just think it’s interesting and want to dive a little deeper into why people ghost in the first place. I’m not saying I’ve never ghosted anyone either. I definitely have, and it sucks. It made me feel like crap. Big ol’ turd over here.
So why do people ghost? I think screens are ruining everything. I don’t want to blame it all on technology, but I think ghosting happens because it’s so easy. If you’ve never met the person in real life and you’re not really that into them, it is easy to just cut things off. Just stop talking to them all together. The screen makes it easy. You know you aren’t going to run into them (most likely), and with that you know you won’t ever have to confront being a shitty person. Screens desensitize us. They allow us to disconnect from the shitty feelings that are involved in rejecting someone.
Technology aside, I also think honesty is hard. Especially because it requires vulnerability. No one likes being rejected. I don’t like feeling like I rejected someone because I know what it feels like to be rejected. Confronting our not so bright and shiny qualities is hard. It forces us to look deep into our hearts and minds, the places we like to avoid. It is a scary place to be when you feel like you’re a shitty person and that you’ve been shitty to a perfect stranger.
So is it ok to ghost someone? This is obviously for you to decide, but honestly I don’t think it’s ok. Again, I’ve ghosted someone before and I’ve been ghosted before. We have to remember that there is a living, breathing human on the other side of that screen. Someone with thoughts and feelings. Someone who has a heart. Someone who has seen something in you that they want to know more about. You might say, oh it’s just casual, and maybe it is. But we have to be kind to one another.
Is ghosting just something we should expect when we meet someone virtually? I don’t know. It makes me sad to think that. That we should go into potential relationships thinking that the person we are developing feelings for could stop talking to us and disappear any moment. Might as well end the relationship before it even starts. Might as well build the walls higher and higher around our hearts. Might as well be anxiety ridden for the remainder of the relationship.
So what can we do? We can be kind to one another. We can remember that the person we swiped right on is an actual person. That they have feelings and thoughts just as we do. We can choose to be honest even when it is difficult.
I’m not telling you not to ghost people if that’s what you want to do. Do what you want. Just remember that we are all people with struggles of our own. Choose kindness.