Is Ghosting Someone Ever Justified?

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Last summer the term “ghosting” (the act of dropping out of someone’s life by cutting all contact completely and without warning) made its way into our consciousness. This is thanks in part to celebrity ghosting stories and a New York Times article that went into a whole lot of detail about what ghosting is and why some of us are tempted to use it as way to break things off.

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Some experts blame ghosting on technology and the fact that we tend to view the online dating pool as an endless depth of potentially better options; that we fail to see the individual and start to regard one another as expendable. When asked to explain themselves, some ghosters blamed immaturity and poor self-esteem for their behaviour. I think we can all agree that being ghosted sucks, but I would argue that there are some circumstances under which it’s totally justified…

You’re Being Stalked
Clearly if someone isn’t respecting your requests to break it off and they are making you feel uncomfortable, cutting all contact and getting the hell outta there is the best thing you can do. Sometimes I think we get caught in a web of social niceties that can draw out potentially toxic situations. If you’ve done all you can to communicate your boundaries and your stalker continues to stalk, by all means ghost that freak!

You’re Being abused
This is similar to the stalker situation I just described, but even more crucial. Abusive relationships feel really complicated when you’re in them. There are mixed feelings of love and hate. You might think that you owe your partner an explanation for leaving or that you can’t leave at all, but in the end, your safety is more important than any of that. If ghosting someone is your best option for protecting yourself, do it and don’t look back.

No one has anything invested
Sometimes ghosting can be the socially correct thing to do, especially if you’ve only had one date and it’s really clear that neither of you were feeling it. Mutual ghosting can come as a relief, but it’s a bit of a tricky thing. I usually try to make some kind of follow up contact with a date, if only to guarantee closure. It’s hard to be totally certain of how someone else is feeling about things. I would suggest ghosting with caution in a case like this.

As a side note,  it’s never, under any circumstance, cool to reappear months or even years later in the life of someone you’ve ghosted. Once you’ve made the choice to walk that path, it’s best to just keep on going.

Read The New York Times article: “Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment”

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