The Only Situations Where It's Okay to Ghost Someone
by Thao Nguyen
When I was growing up, ghosting had nothing to do with communication - or lack thereof. I always related it to the adventures of Casper The Friendly Ghost, or to Bill Murray and his ghostbusting buddies. But for millennials, ghosting has a totally new definition.
Now, if you Google “ghosting,” the second definition that shows up is “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.”
Ghosting has become so prevalent that it’s probably happened to everyone reading this. But whether you’re the ghoster or the ghosted, it feels horrible. If you’re the ghoster, you have to live with the guilt of leaving someone hanging. Everything your phone pings with a notification from them wondering what’s up, that I’m-a-terrible-person feeling pops up. If you’re the ghosted, you get to spend weeks, if not months, wondering what you did or said wrong. There’s no closure on either end.
I’ve stated before that ghosting isn’t healthy for anyone. Being honest about your lack of feelings for someone maybe difficult, but it definitely makes you a better person than if you were to stay silent. That being said, I will admit that there are a few situations where ghosting is okay.
You’ve already told them how you feel. If you already made it clear to the other person that you aren’t interested and they’re continuing to bother you and reach out to you in a romantic context, go ahead and stop communicating with them. They’re not respecting your wishes to keep things platonic, so you have no obligation to respond to their attempts to keep things going.
They’re a horrible person. Maybe they were exceptionally rude on a date, maybe they treat you terribly. If you’ve been hanging out with someone who doesn’t have what it takes to be a decent human being, then it probably isn’t healthy to stay in contact with them anyway. I would strongly advocate for telling them how they’ve messed up, so they can learn to improve, but sometimes that isn’t an option.
You literally can’t. The fact of the matter is, being honest with someone about how you do or don’t feel will always be better than going silent on them. So unless there’s been a major tragedy, or you’re physically unable to communicate with others, don’t ghost anyone.