As far as pop culture is concerned, the ghosting phenomenon reached its peak in 2015, when everyone and their mothers (and local newscasters!) were talking about it.
But here we are, 4, almost 5, years later and for people in the dating scene, unlike its heyday in the headlines, the concept of ghosting has yet to go away.
Ghosting is a passive-aggressive way of breaking up with someone where there’s no actual face-to-face or screen-to-screen breaking up. If you’re the ghoster, you’re ignoring the person you were seeing until they get the hint and go away. If you’re on the receiving end of this behavior, you’re wondering what on earth is going on (is she swamped at the office? Did he die?!) until you realize what’s really happening: you’re being ghosted.
Is ghosting more of a “thing” now or do we just talk about it more? While it may feel like ghosting is on the rise, especially if you’re in the throws of your single life, licensed New York City-based therapist Olivia Orley, LMSW, argues this is not the case.
“Ghosting,” as we understand it, is more prevalent now only because it is so specific to the way people date today, but more broadly people have been ghosting one another for as long as the modern concept of dating has been around and it is unlikely to end because it is so rooted in fear and insecurity.
For daters, that’s both good and bad news. On one hand, the amount of ghosters is not necessarily increasing, but on the other hand, the concept isn’t going away any time soon because it is so easy to hide behind our screens and remove ourselves from the fact that there was a person on the other end of the line.
Today, people aren’t just ghosting in the dating world, but in the professional world as well. There are increasing reports of employees flipping the script and ghosting their employers! Extreme examples are when people just stop showing up to the office altogether. (Don’t do this, by the way!). Other versions of workplace ghosting are more subtle, like when it takes a serial ghoster 2-3 days to get back to a colleague on something that is time-sensitive. The “oops, must’ve missed that email!” excuse is another variation of the more toned-down office ghost.
Whether the ghosting is taking place in a romantic scenario or a professional one, the underlying behavior is still the same. Olivia Orley, LMSW, explains:
People ghost because they are scared of confrontation and often find it easier to do nothing than to put in the effort of having a human connection or conversation. They might also be scared of what will come up for them in the process of having an honest conversation about their feelings.
At the end of the day, if you’re getting ghosted, it’s likely that the person doing the ghosting is avoiding a situation that makes them uncomfortable. Unfortunately, having a hard time with confrontation leaves people thinking that it is okay to just “disappear” and stop responding altogether. It’s no excuse, but rest assured if this happens to you, it’s most likely NOT your fault!
If you’re being ghosted, just remember, it’s not you. It’s DEFINITELY them!And if you’ve been ghosted and want to get back out there, check out some of our favorite looks for date nights here. And our guide to date spots in the city is pretty great, too.