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Modern Problems: Is It Okay to Ghost People?

Updated on May 6, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Social issues can only be remedied by a collective acceptance of those opinions we view as opposing our own.


With the introduction and increasing prevalence of communication through electronic mediums, we are also coming across novel social issues such as ghosting. These things, as it goes with so many novel experiences, are slowly making their way to the level of being important enough to be taken seriously and get the sort of constructive attention that solves such issues. I'm here to say that ghosting is a very big problem, causing many individuals great distress, and these individuals don't deserve to be made fun of nor ghosted in the first place!

Man, I really hate when people don't message me back. Maybe it's the Cancer in me but I just automatically assume something is terribly wrong or they're somehow mad at me for some unknown reason. Anyone else? Just me?

— Anonymous influence for this piece

What Is Ghosting?

To ghost someone, or the act of ghosting is, "the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication."

Now because many people have come out to defend the act of ghosting, it is important that we clarify what the act actually is by breaking down the definition a little bit further. Please take notice of the specification that ghosting is the discontinuation of personal relationships and not casual relationships. Thus, simply ignoring a stranger isn't in full cooperation with the definition of ghosting; but for the sake of argument we are going to say that this behavior applies to any relationship no matter the level of intimacy.

Colloquial definition of ghosting: The act of leaving any sort of conversation through an electronic medium, and willfully ignoring any subsequent message and ongoing attempt at dialogue. Basically, entertaining a conversation with someone then pretending they don't even exist anymore. Often this behavior is accompanied by an excuse such as, "sorry I was busy," or, "I forgot we were talking," but this is rarely a representation of truth.

We live in an age where 81% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone, and 72% of those individuals are on social media pretty much non-stop. A majority of the time the ones who are ghosting are the same type to post forty memes an hour, but also claim they are busy! What a crock!


It Is Never Acceptable

Going off of the literal definition I'd say that any sane, fair, and impartial individual would agree that intentionally ignoring people you care about is unacceptable in any situation; especially when you had started a conversation to begin with. The people you claim to care about, at least enough to humor their desire for conversation, do not deserve to be ignored out of the blue with no warnings. There are those who will have a panic attack, worry about you, or even feel slighted by such behavior; especially when this behavior becomes habitual and proof starts to arise contrary to the claims of, "necessity."

Whenever I hear about ghosting these days, it is usually concerning dating or from the interpersonal interactions between close friends. People are being made fun of, even called psychos and other misnomers for hating the act of ghosting and trying to ensure it doesn't happen. In an age where everyone is tonsils deep in their phones, computers, iPads, and other forms of media there really isn't a valid excuse not to offer some warning.

It doesn't take longer than about three seconds to add in before you disappear, "Hey, gotta go ttyl!"

Something that takes less than three seconds for me to type on the keyboard, it will take you even less time to offer someone this kindness on a phone or iPad with auto fill features or even a gif response. Your excuses are invalid as it concerns the definition of ghosting. Give that person a warning, and hopefully you care enough about the personal relationship to give a real explanation as to why you're dipping out.

The one exception is when ghosting is for your own safety, in which case you should block them from your life and accounts. Blocking is not ghosting.

Have you ever been ghosted by someone you care about?

See results

Open and Accepting Communication

Here comes the hard part, the real solution to ghosting. We have established that ghosting is the intentional act of ignoring someone and that someone can be a personal friend or an impersonal acquaintance. Equally, we have set the grounds for the realization that ghosting is inherently damaging to a myriad of different people and relationship dynamics.

As I said in the previous section, before you consider ghosting someone, just tell them why you are leaving the conversation! Ghosting is never reasonable, but saying, "Hey, I am done talking for now. I'll message you later!" takes you about five seconds or less and can avoid emotional upset on both sides. Even better, if you don't like the person then say that too!

It doesn't hurt so much to hear that someone isn't really into you and your relationship dynamics, but what does hurt is being lead on and convinced that this other person is just busy despite evidence to the contrary. Grow a pair, be an adult or adult-like, and be honest about your feelings with people. This goes for both sides as well, it never hurts to tell someone you feel like you are being ghosted and to express your emotions to them in a fair and calm manner.

Anyone worth speaking to in the first place will respect your feelings, and probably won't ever ghost you! If you feel you can't communicate your feelings with the other person without emotional upset, they aren't worth your time!

Take the time to care, whether you're the ghoster or the one being ghosted. Care about yourself and the world around you, and accept that open and accepting communication is key to long-term happiness for all!


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