Being Ghosted – What it Means & How to Move On

Being ghosted can be hurtful and confusing. Learn why it happens and how to deal with it with our tried-and-true tips.

From love bombing to situationship, there is a lot of modern dating lingo to keep up with. But one that you should definitely understand is “ghosting.” What is being ghosted, and how do you deal with it if it happens to you? 

We’re here not only to talk about this unfortunate situation and what it means but also to give you some tried-and-true tips for how to handle being ghosted so that you can find peace and move on.

What Is Being Ghosted?

Let’s say that you’ve been texting someone for a few days or maybe a few weeks. You feel that you’ve been connecting and getting to know each other. When you ask to meet up in person, they don’t give you a direct answer. The next time you ask, they straight up don’t reply. Then, you don’t hear from them again. 

That’s what we call “being ghosted.” It takes on different forms in different situations (like in a casual vs. serious relationship), but the gist is always the same: the person stops communicating. 

Why Do People Ghost?

In addition to the heartache of being rejected, one of the most frustrating things about being ghosted is the fact that you often don’t know why. Learning why means that the person is communicating with you again—but in that case, they wouldn’t be ghosting you. As you can see, communication is everything, and the other person isn’t willing to do it. That’s one of the first reasons why people ghost. Here’s the complete list: 

  • They’re not good at communicating. Maybe they never learned appropriate and healthy forms of communication, or they are dealing with several emotions and don’t know how to express them.
  • They fear confrontation. Oftentimes we label some people “nonconfrontational” as a way to describe their avoidance of dealing with or talking about certain issues. While being nonconfrontational isn’t always a negative trait, in the case of a ghoster, it is. They might be afraid of how you’ll respond to a spoken or written rejection and think that not responding is the best way to avoid it.
  • They think ghosting is normal. These days, we hear about people being ghosted quite often due in a large part to the digital age in which we live. The more that someone hears about ghosting, the more they might be likely to do it themselves, thinking that it’s an acceptable form of letting the other person know that they’re not interested.

How Do You Respond to Being Ghosted?

When you’re ghosted, your first reaction may be to unleash your thoughts and feelings and let the person know that they’re in the wrong. But inciting anger isn’t the way to go about it. Even though it might feel good in the moment, venting doesn’t help either of you. Getting ghosted is hurtful, frustrating—even agonizing—but don’t let these feelings bubble up into your response.

Here are a few productive ways to respond to being ghosted: 

  • “Hey, [name]. I hope everything is okay. I’ve been trying to reach out but haven’t heard anything back. If you’re no longer interested, just let me know. Thanks.”
  • “Hey, [name]. I’ve noticed that you haven’t been responding lately, and I take it that you’d like to move on. I really enjoyed getting to know you and wish we could have continued, but I wish you all the best.”
  • “Hi, [name]. It’s been awhile since I’ve heard from you. Judging by your silence, I assume that you’re no longer interested. I feel hurt that you wouldn’t just say so, but I respect your feelings. I wish you the best.”

The first option is a way to reach out when you realize that someone is ghosting you and give them the opportunity to respond. If they don’t, go with the last two options, which provide you with the opportunity to call out the fact that they’re ghosting you, briefly share how you feel, and close the possibility of future communication. 

How to Deal with Being Ghosted

Being ghosted is a form of rejection, so it’s never easy to handle. But learning how to deal with being ghosted can give you the confidence boost that you need if the situation ever happens to you. 

1. Face Reality 

Don’t get stuck in the “will they/won’t they” confusion. It’s not in your best interest to keep holding onto hope, especially if they have shown you that they won’t be reaching out. In fact, not responding is a response. Face the reality that you’re getting ghosted so that you can start to move on.

2. Feel Your Feelings

Check in with yourself after you’ve faced the reality of being ghosted—just like a friend would do for you. Don’t push the negative feelings away. Instead, recognize, process, and learn from them. The one feeling you shouldn’t feel? Guilt. Being ghosted is in no way your fault, so don’t let yourself take the blame.

3. Don’t Contact Them Again

After you have responded to the person who ghosted you (see examples of productive responses earlier in this article), end the communication there. Make sure to position your message as a goodbye—this will essentially let them off the hook and protect your future self from being strung along. If it’s helpful, you could also delete their number from your phone and stop following them on social media. Again, these can be healthy boundaries to set for your future self.

4. Do Something Soothing

Prioritize your mental and emotional health by practicing self-care. It’s important to put yourself first as you learn how to deal with rejection—recovering from being ghosted included. Book a massage, light some candles and enjoy a long bath, watch the sunset, go for a run in your neighborhood—whatever helps your mind and body reset.

5. Reach Out to Loved Ones

Get the support you need by asking friends and family to listen—whether you need to vent, ask for advice, or just sit in the presence of others. Friends and family can be wonderful reminders that you are valued and worthy of love. 

6. Let It Go

When a dating or long-term relationship ends (or even if you never dated), it’s always helpful to have closure. But in the case of ghosting, you’ll probably never get an explanation. Learn to be ok with that reality, and let go of the situation. Every time negative thoughts or what-ifs pop up, repeat to yourself, “Let it go.”

7. Practice Gratitude

Why is practicing gratitude on this list of how to cope with being ghosted? No, we’re not telling you to be thankful that it has happened, rather to be grateful for dodging a bullet and getting the chance to find your person

If someone ghosts you, that means they’re probably emotionally unavailable, and that’s the type of person you don’t want to be with in a long-term relationship. Try to reframe the situation by thinking about how now you don’t have to put in more effort and time just to figure out later on that this person can’t be there for you emotionally. Now you’re free to start dating with intention again and finding someone who will respect you.

8. Don’t Generalize This Experience

Just because this happened to you once doesn’t mean it will happen again. It’s so hard not to worry that whoever you date next will do the same thing. But try not to generalize this experience because doing so will affect your ability to get close to future potential partners. It’s perfectly natural to have your guard up, but don’t let fear keep you from trusting someone with your feelings.

9. Get Back Out There

Start getting back out there and going on dates again, understanding that you have great qualities and so much to offer. If your confidence feels shaky, try saying these statements out loud before you head out for a date: “I have great qualities. I have so much to offer. I am worthy of being loved and respected.”

Ghosting is never an appropriate way to end things, and when it happens, it can be challenging to deal with. Keep these tips in mind as you navigate the dating journey, so that you know exactly what to do if you’re ever in this situation. And remember—being ghosted is not your fault. You can rise from this difficult situation as a more resilient human being.

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