Ghosted: How breakups have reincarnated in today’s society

Ghosted: How breakups have reincarnated in today’s society

Callie Cook, Staff Writer

Breaking up with someone can be difficult. But many people amongst the tech-savvy generation believe they have found the perfect solution to avoiding the uncomfortable face-to-face conversation — ghosting. Merriam-Webster Dictionary adopted this term in 2017 and defines it as, “The act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.”

It’s a painful, heartbreaking and often confusing way for a relationship to end. Sadly, ghosting has quickly become a popular technique to end a special relationship with someone.

In fact, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that about a quarter of the 1,300 participants had been ghosted by a partner. And ghosting does not just happen between romantic partners – the student also found that a third of participants reported that they had been ghosted by a friend or, in fact, ghosted a friend themselves.

While ending a relationship is nothing new to the human experience, using technology to do so adds a unique twist to the painful social experience.

Victims of ghosting have to deal with a rollercoaster of emotions like humiliation, self-doubt and anger. Since there is no closure and, usually, no face-to-face goodbye, many feel as if they are in some sort of relationship limbo.

Freshman Emma Lauritsen has many opinions on ghosting people, as she has been ghosted herself.

“I think ghosting someone is just rude because [the other person has] feelings too,” Lauritsen said.

It can be hard to get through this type of rejection, but Lauritsen feels that there could be a silver lining — a change in perspective. For her, this experience has made her a better person as she feel more aware of the thoughts and feelings of others.

“People who ghost other people must not really think much about it. It’s like they don’t really care about others’ emotions,” Lauritsen said.

However, being the person who is ghosting people is a whole other story and holds another side of opinions. Ghosting on both ends has been said to be difficult. It has never been easy having to end something with a friend or a special someone. Most of the time, it ends up being extremely awkward around each other and feeling uncomfortable.

Sometimes the person ghosting can be hurt more than the person who is being ghosted. Sometimes they have to make a tough decision, and they might perceive ghosting a certain person as being the best way to slowly end something with someone. In their eyes, it may look like the best and/or only option. Although they may not necessarily put themselves in the other person’s shoes, ending something that was once thought of as special can sometimes be very hard to cope with on both ends. A lot of the time, it ends up making contact with each other sometimes awkward and not wanted like it used to be.

On Snapchat, a multimedia messaging app, you sometimes are able to see if a certain person is currently using the app, and possibly even track their location. Because of this, it is easy for people to check to see if they are being ignored or ghosted.

“Being ghosted is honestly very hurtful. Many of my friends have been ghosted and they are always miserable. Sometimes they start acting different, and start to slowly distance themself away from many of their friends,” Lauritsen said. “From my experience of being ghosted, you lose the will to get many things done. You become more lazy and less happy. It took me, honestly, a long time to get over it. And sometimes, I still think about it. My friends have all been ghosted. It really sucks seeing how a person could automatically hurt someone who felt a certain way for them. It is a lot different today than it was in the 20th century. Ending friendships and relationships [was] so much simpler back then, and no one even thought about the idea of ghosting.”

Ghosting is like following the leader. If you have been ghosted, eventually you might become the ghoster because that was what you were taught in some way. No matter how you felt when you were being ghosted, you don’t process what you are doing until it is done. The outcome of ghosting is usually awkwardly walking past each other, making uncomfortable eye contact and remembering how things used to be with that one person.

“Worse is loving someone who disappears and never knowing if they’ll come back,” author J.M. Darhower wrote in her book titled, “Ghosted.” “Because how do you move on if you’re not even sure they’re gone? The answer is — you don’t. When you spend most of your life chasing ghosts, eventually, you become one.”