Ghosting: What is Ghosting and Why Do People Ghost on Others? Am I being Ghosted on?

The best piece of advice ever given to me was that you can never experience success without first experiencing failures. Experiencing being ghosted could be one of those moments that make you feel like you’ve failed. I hope that this article would help you handle such situations more differently. 

In this article, we have explained the intricate meaning of ghosting, why people ghost, what to do when you’re ghosted. We have also shared some of the effects ghosting can cause the ghosted.

What is ghosting? 

Ghosting - why, what, who

Ghosting simply means intentionally ignoring and cutting off all communications with a person you’re in a relationship with without offering any explanations. 

A ghost is a person in a  relationship who switches off, disappears, fades away, leaving the other  (ghosted) in limbo, second-guessing themselves if they’ve done something wrong. 

Ghosting causes embarrassment and disorganisation mostly for the ghosted. However, it tells more about the ghost’s personality than it does of the ghosted.

Ghosting is the ultimate use of silent treatment, a tactic that has often been viewed by mental health professionals as a form of emotional cruelty. It essentially renders you powerless and leaves you with no opportunity to ask questions.

It silences you and prevents you from expressing your emotions and being heard, which is important for maintaining your self-esteem.

Regardless of the ghost’s intent, ghosting is a passive-aggressive interpersonal tactic that can leave psychological bruises and scars.

Why do people ghost?

There are many reasons people ghost on others in their relationships. Although psychologists are yet to give an accurate explanation on this phenomenon, it is worth noting that ghosting is not new, however, this awkward behaviour has become more noticeable perhaps because of technology where it’s now easier to contact and communicate with friends and family. 

The following are few known reasons why people choose to ghost on others…

When there is a complete disregard for the consequences of actions ghosting thrive.

Relationships are the key, when people feel they have not invested a lot in terms of emotion, time and money, they feel they haven’t got much to lose. They are better off without the relationship as such they don’t need to explain.

People use it to re-establish or assert themselves in the relationship, especially when they perceive they’re not being treated fairly by the other party. They use it to bring the person to the negotiation table. I had a boss who used ghosting to get the attention of the MD whom he perceived to be taking his position in the firm as leverage.

People who tend to avoid their emotional discomfort love going for ghosting, they are indifferent to the feelings of others, they are selfish, cowards and have chips on their shoulders. They lack that mutual social connection.

Some people also simply do not like confrontations. Therefore they tend to adopt the quiet strategy, hoping that if they ignore the other long enough, they will get the message. 

The discourteous act of ghosting is no longer confined to romantic and intimate relationships only, both family and professional relationships are all feeling the heat too. 

Recently, both employers and employees have been ghosting each other, while also some business owners have expressed concerns where customers abandon a business conversation or agreement. 

Employers are concerned about the growing trend of candidates who don’t show up to scheduled interviews, don’t arrive on the first day of work or even quit without giving notice.

An article published by USA Today reports that 20 to 50 per cent of job applicants and workers are pulling no show or ghosting in some form.

Clutch’s survey found 41 per cent of workers found it acceptable to ghost employers, while 35 per cent found it unreasonable for an organisation to ghost an applicant. When there is low employment the applicants tend to ghost more than when there is an increase in employment.

Effects of Ghosting

Whatever the reason for ghosting in a relationship, like any other social rejections, it activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain. Ghosting gives you no cue for how to react, it creates an air of uncertainty, doubt, misunderstanding and confusion for the ghosted. 

For many, ghosting can result in feelings of being disrespected, used and disposable. If you have known the person beyond more than a few dates then it can be even more traumatic. 

Even in the corporate world, ghosting can wreak havoc, be demoralising and has some financial implications.

When someone we love and trust disengages from us it feels like a very deep betrayal. Ghosting sometimes makes one feel like a failure.

Erosion of trust, to say the least. Ghosting is mind-boggling as well as insulting. Anyone who has been in a genuine relationship and has experienced ghosting can attest to this. 

It makes the ghosted question their judgment. What have I done wrong?

What did I do to cause this? Why did I not see this coming?

This self-questioning is the result of basic psychological systems that are in place to monitor one’s social standing and relay that information back to the person via a feeling of self-worth and self-esteem. When rejection occurs your self-esteem can drop. However, it’s important to understand that this phenomenon is more about the ghost than it is about you.

Economically, ghosting can be a great challenge for business.  Workers who ghost on the first day or who resign their position without notice, and customers who ghost on a business meeting, conversation or agreement, can cause financial loss to an organisation. 


The important thing to remember is that when someone ghosts you, it says nothing about you or your worthiness for love; rather, it tells everything about the person doing the ghosting. It says more of their dysfunctional habits of thoughts and behaviour.

It also goes against our values and what we stand for both in romance and business relationships. The starting point towards seeking solutions is to realise the negative effects of ghosting, instead of denying them.

Don’t allow someone else’s bad behaviour to rob you of a better future by losing your vulnerability and shutting yourself off from another relationship. Keep your energy focused on doing what makes you happy

It requires a shift from reactive recruiting to a more proactive approach. The organisation’s mindset should switch from recruiting to fill an open position to thinking about who your organisation should hire in the future.

To curb and deter this behaviour, organisations should start the onboarding process early to build an emotional connection with new hires and customers.

Making ample opportunities to engage them and develop closer and more personal relationships. The most important thing here is to be positive.

You have to accept a bad situation, but the problem comes when you brood on it. Let the ghost go because they are a distraction.

 Finally, one has to view ghosting as one of the bad things that happen to them that helps them build up their resilience in life and prepare them well enough next time when they encounter difficult situations.

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