Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Ghosting leaves us wondering

A form of social anxiety that affects dating lifestyles of the 21st century
Collegian File Photo

Imagine you have been talking to a crush for a while. You think that the connection is there and that you would like to start spending more time with that person. Then, almost out of nowhere, they stop responding to texts and you never hear from them again. Two possibilities arise in your mind: They have either moved far, far away or you are being ghosted. Then, when you see them walking down the street a few days later, it becomes clear that the latter is true. They have torn out your heart and you are left sad and alone… again.

A torn out heart may be a bit dramatic, but this is an issue that deserves some explanation. Social ghosting is the act of ignoring a person’s texts, calls and avoiding possible future interactions in order to exit a relationship. It lacks any final conversation. It just ends with no indication why. According to a YouGov and Huffington Post study, out of 1,000 participants, 11 percent had ghosted someone in the past. That is a lot of unexplained heartbreak for so many.

Ghosting doesn’t take the traditional route of a breakup. Normally, there is the talk in which one explains to the other that it is over. There may be a period of coping, and finally both people move on. It isn’t always that simple, but at least there is a defining event to move on from. I don’t think anyone is asking for a Casablanca-style declaration about why the relationship is ending, but at least a reason would be nice. Instead of

Expressing that you aren’t interested is always hard, so it makes sense that people would move toward the easiest way to call it quits. We don’t want to disappoint each other, but it is often inevitable. People want to take the quickest way out with no disappointment by the person doing the ghosting. Once out of the situation, many like to assume that since they can’t see the emotional reaction of the ghosted person, there isn’t one. However, it really just leaves the ghosted in a state of insecurity, self-loathing and maybe apprehension to meet someone new. So many questions are left unanswered  about what went wrong. We wonder if we made bad jokes, acted too pushy or showed off our porcelain cat collection too soon. It might not even be the ghosted person’s fault, but the idea is in their mind.

I think we can all relate to the overwhelming feeling of “What’s wrong with me?” When ghosted, the feeling takes over and suddenly no reassurance can get it out of your head. You blame falls on yourself rather than the person who actually ended it. It feels far too personal, but in reality, this happens to many others.

There is nothing inherently wrong with not being interested in someone. Ending it just shouldn’t be so detached, if there is at least some degree of mutual respect. With the emergence of quick dating apps like Tinder, it is suddenly a lot easier to either be constantly ghosting or be constantly ghosted, especially if you are an unlucky soul like me. When talking to people who are practically strangers, there is even less of a reason to give justification. If there is little or no chance of bumping into the other, then it can practically be wiped from the mind.

To me, this is another example of a social disconnect caused by the information age. We can hide behind our phones and let others deal with their own problems. Why not just explain yourself? You can’t be wrong in the situation, so go ahead and tell them why you would rather just move on. Don’t leave people hanging just because you want to avoid a little awkwardness.

People deserve to be informed if the interest is gone. It can really be as simple as a quick text just to give some closure. Otherwise, there is the chance that people will wonder why for way too long. So if it really was the cat collection that was too much, I would like to know for future reference.

Cameron Smith is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • J

    Jonathan NavarroFeb 6, 2018 at 1:10 am


    That’s my comment about being ghosted!!

  • C

    Chris & BeboFeb 5, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Nice article Cam, please bring the cats next time you visit the office.
    Aidan says “odds are 1-10 you start another meningitis outbreak”.
    Ned says “ghosting, you hate to see it”
    good work

  • N

    NITZAKHONFeb 5, 2018 at 9:11 am

    But that takes effort.

  • J

    john aimoFeb 5, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Ghosting is a fun way to mess with a peson’s head.