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What Does It Mean To Be Ghosted?

Guys, I owe you a massive apology. I started this little blog back in the first lockdown to help people struggling with being alone or finding it hard not being able to see their significant others because of all the restrictions that were in place. And then, on my 36th birthday, I published one last post and vanished into thin air without so much as a goodbye. Basically, I ghosted you. And I’m not proud of it.

In all fairness, I do have a good reason for disappearing. My dad had started complaining of not feeling well, and as he had limited mobility from a stroke he’d had back in January 2015, mum needed quite a lot of help looking after him (both my parents were in their mid-late 70s at this point). As the weeks went on, dad didn’t get any better, and whenever he mentioned not feeling well to his doctor, he was just sent home and told not to worry. Sadly, we found out months later that he had a brain tumour, and there was nothing that could be done to save him.

He deteriorated fast after that, and when my grandma (his mum) passed away, he wasn’t strong enough to go to her funeral. This broke his heart, and he died a few days after we scattered her ashes. Since then, I’ve struggled to come to terms with what happened and why nobody could help him. But I’m back, and I’m determined to give my little online space a new lease of life. Hopefully, it will be a much-needed distraction from everything I’ve been going through over the last year and a half, and I’ll start to feel like my old self again. Goodness, that got a little emotional there, didn’t it!?

And since I mentioned that I’d unintentionally ghosted you at the beginning of this post, I thought that would be a good subject to talk about now I’m back. So grab yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit, and let me tell you exactly what it means to be ghosted …

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all done all ghosted someone for one reason or another. But in all honesty, it’s not big and it’s not clever. It’s just downright rude and bloody ridiculous.

The term ‘ghosting’ originated in the early 2000s and typically referred to dating and romantic relationships. In the decade that followed, however, the media reported a rise in ghosting, which I guess we can blame on the increasing use of social media and online dating apps.

Ghosting may still be a fairly new word, but let’s be honest, the act of ghosting people has been going on for years. It’s just a shiny new buzzword for that age-old trend of avoiding someone in the dating world when you don’t want to see them anymore. Some people would pick up the phone and say, “Hey, I don’t think we should see each other anymore,” while others seemingly disappear off the face of the Earth. It’s a real shame this still happens in this day and age, but hey, here we are.

I’m pretty sure most of us can think back to a time when we’d been dating someone we found incredibly attractive in every way, only to have them disappear after a few dates. Super disheartening, huh? Nine times out of ten, you’ll be left wondering whether it was actually real – or whether you dreamt up the whole thing – but you didn’t, and that’s the cruel reality of being ghosted.

How do people justify this sort of behaviour? It’s simple – it doesn’t matter that you’ve been seeing each other on the reg because you haven’t sat down and had ‘the talk’ yet, therefore you aren’t official. This leaves you in relationship limbo – a state of commitment confusion that’s ignored because you’re still in the honeymoon phase and having way too much fun to focus on the particulars.

And here’s the catch. You aren’t officially boyfriend and girlfriend so if one (or the other for that matter) decides that they just aren’t that into you, rather than ‘breaking up‘ or having the balls to say it, they simply cut you out of their life. They disappear. When the texts, the meetups, the reciprocal romance and the phone calls suddenly vanish into thin air, chances are you’ve been ghosted. All forms of communication and commitment will cease from here on in. Gone into nothingness. Poof.

Ghosting can (and will remain to be) pretty devastating, especially when the bond you’ve worked so hard to build with someone becomes broken. Of course, the natural instinct here is to assume that if you get ghosted once, chances are you’ll get ghosted again, and again, and again, so why should we trust anyone?

Ghosting causes confusion, no matter how casual your hookups are. Just because you’ve only been on a couple of dates with someone doesn’t mean that you should disappear if you’re not interested. Telling the truth isn’t easy, but if someone asks you out again, you should respond with a yes or no, and provide closure by laying your cards on the table. It may seem harsh, but it’s the right thing to do. They’ll appreciate your honesty and will find it much easier to move on as they won’t be wondering what the hell happened to you!

If you choose to ghost someone, please stop. There’s nothing wrong with going out with someone a few times then just not feel it anymore. Ghosting should not become an acceptable part of dating etiquette. As a nation, we need to grow some balls and start being honest with each other. How hard can it be!?

Generally speaking, the warning signs of a ‘ghoster’ are fairly recognisable – they’ll disappear from dating apps, start ignoring your texts, and they’ll always be busy if you want to make plans. A combination of any of these things tends to suggest that the person you’re dating just isn’t into you, so don’t be afraid to bring it up or even call it a day from there yourself. Remember, you’re a bloody diamond and you deserve to be treated like one. But more importantly, you deserve to be treated with respect. Don’t ever forget that.

The sad reality is that it’s become a ‘thing’ now and it’s always going to happen. But if it does, don’t take it to heart. Just be thankful that someone who cared so little about your feelings made an effort to cut themselves out of your life. Never mind dodging a bullet, you’ve swerved a bloody minefield. Oh, and don’t do this to others. It’ll only make you feel crap about yourself, and deep down, you’re not a bad person so don’t give people the wrong impression. Be honest about your feelings, and I promise you’ll feel a whole lot better for it.

So there you have it, you’ve learnt what it means to be ghosted, why it happens, and how to deal with it if it happens to you. Unless, of course, the ghost in question is Patrick Swayze with his arms around you at a potter’s wheel. In that case, ladies, embrace it for all it’s worth!

What does it mean to be ghosted?

Louise x

2 Comments

  1. May 15, 2022 / 8:03 pm

    It’s so true about trying to remember not to take it to heart. Like you say, you’re probably dodging another issue entirely if it had continued! I do agree though, if you’re not into someone, just tell them!

  2. Rhian Westbury
    May 18, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your dad, you deserved to take some time off. I’ve been ghosted quite a few times after dates that I thought had gone alright, I just wish guys felt like they could be honest and say I wasn’t feeling it or something x

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