“I thought we had a great time. He told me he wanted to go out again. We texted over the course of a few weeks, and now he won’t return my calls or texts.” In the digital age of texts and tweets, “ghosting” is becoming more common in relationships.
“Ghosting” is the act of abruptly ending contact with a friend, employer, or love interest often without warning or explanation. Those performing the disappearing act “leave” without so much as a call, text message, or email. Some even erase the person they’re ghosting on digitally – social media included.
“Ghosting” is the act of abruptly ending contact with a friend, employer, or love interest often without warning or explanation.
A staggering 88% of American millennials use social media, and, according to a survey by the dating site Plenty of Fish, 78% of single millennials have been ghosted at least once. Of those surveyed, 75% of them use dating apps because they want to find a serious relationship.
Although this behavior isn’t completely new to our dating culture, the added aspect of disconnecting digitally shows a kind of indifference that can substantially damage someone who already has low self-esteem. In fact, some mental health professionals consider the practice to be a passive-aggressive form of emotional abuse.
And in a country where an estimated 8.3 million American adults suffer from serious psychological distress like anxiety, depression, and stress, giving the silent treatment to a friend or love interest can be incredibly hurtful. Although your chances of getting ghosted in the digital age are pretty high, there is a way to move on so you’re not stuck sulking if it happens to you.
Pull a full-blown, Rory Gilmore wallow. Put on a sad movie, eat a tub of ice cream, and cry it out – but don’t call him! Give yourself enough time to let your emotions run, then get it together and work on letting it go.
Focus on You
You’ve wallowed, re-watched “The Notebook,” and eaten enough ice cream. Now, focus on yourself and what makes you happy. Set five to 10 short and long-term goals and figure out what it will take to achieve them. Go for a walk, take a pottery class, or try out a new hobby. Facebook events and Eventbrite are great ways to find free or inexpensive events in your city. Go out with your friends and discover new places and faces.
Talk It Out
Mental health is just as important as physical and emotional health. If you haven’t already, talk out your relationship woes over brunch with your girlfriends, and consider seeking out professional help.
42% of American adults have seen a counselor at some point.
The stigma around mental health is changing, and according to research, 42% of American adults have seen a counselor at some point. Millennials and Gen X have more interest in counseling than older generations. 21% of millennials and 16% of Gen X are currently in therapy.
Confidently Confront Him
No one really likes confrontation, but confidently and calmly confronting the “ghostee” about their behavior can not only help you answer some open-ended questions but can also help you find closure. Talking to the person over the phone or in person can be super intimidating. A text or an email can take a lot of the emotion out of the conversation. Consider a line like this:
“Hey, I noticed you never responded to my last few texts, and then communication stopped. I thought things between us were great, but if not, I’d like to know so that it doesn’t happen moving forward. Can you clarify for me?” If you get a sincere response, great! If you get a weird response – or no response at all – then you dodged a bullet. Remember your worth and know that anyone who treats you this way doesn’t deserve what you have to offer.