We All Know Ghosting Is Bad – So Why Do We Still Do It?

Image source: man repeller.com

When I first heard the term ‘ghosting’, I thought it was some newfangled millennial speak for something I could never be bothered to try and understand. Sorry millennials, but you lost me at daredevil selfies. I figured ‘ghosting’ was just another fad that wasn’t really of any concern to me. Of course, curiosity always gets the best of me, and a quick search on Google revealed that while the term ‘ghosting’ is new, the act of ghosting someone has been around for a long time.

What Is Ghosting? 

Ghosting is the act of ending a personal relationship by completely withdrawing from any form of communication with the other person. In other words, leaving them on read until they somehow get the hint that you don’t wish to be associated with them anymore. Anyone who’s been ghosted will tell you that it generally sucks; you don’t know what’s happened, you don’t ever get an explanation, and slowly but surely it eats away at your self-confidence – not really a situation any of us would like to find ourselves in.

Why Does Ghosting Happen?

In the true spirit of investigative journalism, I decided to do a little research of my own. I set up a small poll on my humble Instagram account, asking people if they’d ever ghosted someone as a way to end a relationship (for the purposes of my *ahem* research, relationship refers to both the platonic and romantic types). I wasn’t really interested in the results, as my ulterior motive for the poll was to see who answered “yes”, after which I’d casually slide into their DMs to ask a few questions.

Most of the people I asked who’d answered “yes” to having ghosted someone said that their main reasons were to avoid confrontation, and the responsibility of having to sit down and give a lengthy explanation. Of course, some of the respondents’ experiences of ghosting were when they were teenagers, and expressed their regret in having handled the situation that way. Others who had ghosted someone said that they believed the other person was going to ghost them, and so wanted to beat them at their own game and avoid getting their feelings hurt unnecessarily.

Why Ghosting Doesn’t Seem To Be Going Away Anytime Soon

The thing is that every single person who admitted to having ghosted someone knew that it was wrong when they did it – but ended up doing it anyway. Which begs the question: why are we so quick to take the easy way out? Is it simply because we hate confrontation? Or have we forgotten how to confront someone without being able to hide behind the comfort of a computer screen?

The ability to confront someone without anger or fear, with the intention of reaching a mutual and amicable understanding is something that we, as a species, are still learning. Until this ability becomes a common trait within every human being, ghosting is unlikely to die out anytime soon.


If you’re currently being ghosted by someone, don’t let it shatter your self-confidence. Accept that these things happen from time to time, dust yourself off and move on. There is also no harm in taking a night off and curling up with a cup of your favourite hot beverage (and maybe one or two of our Weekend Watchlists) to help heal your soul and get you fighting fit.

About Sunita Soh

Hello! I’m Sunita, a proud “dan lain-lain” Malaysian with a passion for feminism and really good char kuey teow. When I’m not rescuing cats or making endless playlists on Spotify, you can find me with my nose buried in a book or glued to my laptop watching cooking tutorials.

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