Ghosting: The Most Brutal Form of Break Up?


So you’ve been seeing someone for a few weeks, you’ve been on a few dates, been round their house; you may have even slept together. Then all of a sudden – radio silence. Out of the blue, you no longer hear from them, they’ve disappeared off the face of the earth.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic example of ‘ghosting’.

A relatively new term for something that many of us have been doing for years, the word essentially sums up the ending of a relationship by someone completely disappearing from the other person’s life. Whether it be by cancelling plans, not responding to texts or basically stopping all forms of communication, is ghosting really the most brutal way of breaking up?

And ghosting isn’t just a sport played by men – women are equally as responsible.  

Whether you agree with it or not, the truth is, most of us have been a ghost at one point or another. If you’ve ever gone on an unsuccessful date and not called them back; ignored a friend request from a guy from your past or tried to get away from a guy in a club using the line, ‘I’m just going to get a drink – I’ll be back’ only to completely disappear, the facts are clear: you’re guilty of ghosting.

That said, the fact that most of us are guilty of it doesn’t make it any less hurtful when you’re on the receiving end. What’s worse, the fast paced ‘onto-the-next-one’ mentality of dating apps like Tinder seems to only be making things worse. We’re only ever one click of the ‘block’ button away from severing ties with someone without a second thought.

It’s true though isn’t it? When you’re bored of a conversation with someone on Tinder, what do you do? Rightly or wrongly, you block or ignore them without any explanation and strike conversation with someone else. Technology seems to provide us with the perfect screen to hide behind literally and emotionally.

However, ghosting isn’t purely black and white. Do you really need to tell someone you’ve only just met that you’re not into them? Does the guy who fancies you from your office really need to know that you find him boring and don’t fancy him? Maybe saying nothing and disappearing is kinder in some instances.

It’s a tricky one to call: it depends on so many things like the nature of the relationship, how long you’ve been together, how serious things are and so on. Add to that the fact that intimacy is always subjective: what, to one person was nothing more than a fun one-nighter could have been a life-changing event for another – which is both an excuse and a valid explanation for ghosting.

I’m still undecided, but instinctively I sit more on the anti-ghosting side. In the majority of cases, ghosting seems to be a get out of jail card for people who get what they want and want a quick escape. In my eyes, there’s no question about it – if a relationship has advanced beyond a casual date, you better start explaining. We’re all grownups here doing grownup things, so let’s treat each other that way.

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