“Ghosting” or cutting all communication without so much as an explanation, is becoming increasingly common, with a survey in 2018 showing that around 72% of people had been ghosted by a partner at some point. With the world of technology making it ever-easier to disappear into a sea of social media profiles, it’s no wonder vanishing is the most common escape-method when faced with a difficult situation. Those who have been ghosted before know that you’re often left without closure, feeling like you said or did something wrong to offend the other person, but the reality is that it’s usually a reflection of the other person’s state of mind.
One of the most common reasons why someone will ghost is because they just aren’t interested in you. It might hurt to hear but when a person is interested in you they make the effort to get to know you, through talking to you or perhaps arranging to meet up in person as soon as possible. If someone suddenly starts ignoring your messages or your calls, it’s most likely a sign that they although they were interested before, they’re now no longer interested, for whatever reason that is.
Findings from a 2018 study suggest that a person’s perception on destiny is related to how they typically end a relationship. Those with a stronger belief in destiny, i.e., they believe that the future is fixed, are more likely to have ghosted someone in the past to end a relationship than those with a weaker belief in destiny. They are also 60% more likely to deem ghosting as acceptable. A possible explanation for this is that a person who believes in destiny is typically looking for confirmation signs which indicate that their partner is or isn’t “the one”. As soon as they find an incompatibility, they cut the other person off to prevent wasting further time. In contrast, a person with a weak belief in destiny typically has a growth mindset, meaning that they believe through effort and consistency a relationship could be worked on.
“But why not just communicate how you feel to the other person”, you may ask. Well, many people prefer to avoid awkward breakup conversations, perhaps because they’re afraid of the possibility of confrontation. A nice side effect of today’s online world is the anonymity that it brings, especially with online dating where most people you talk to will be outside of your everyday social circle. Rather than admitting “I’m just not that into you”, it’s sometimes easiest to just fade away, without any social consequences such as running into the person at the supermarket the next day.
There’s also the possibility that they are ghosting you because they like you too much. It might defy logic but many people are afraid of being vulnerable and opening themselves up to someone, especially if they’ve been hurt badly before. The defence mechanism is often to distance themselves, particularly if things are progressing in the relationship fairly quickly and they need a moment to reflect. However, if they’re emotionally mature, they should be able to explain their feelings to you and should return to talking to you before long.
Finally, it’s possible that they’re simply busy. If this is the first time they’ve ghosted you, they might have genuinely forgotten about the message or maybe they have a family emergency. Sometimes they will get back to you when they can but, especially if you met them online and you haven’t been talking for that long, they might just continue swiping and move on to another person.
So as you can see, there are many different reasons why someone might be ghosting you. Although you might not know the exact reason, the most important thing to remember is that it’s outside of your control. You might have the best sense of humour, the funniest jokes or the kindest heart but someone can still not see your value and continue to ghost you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is close this chapter and move on.