The Genius and Cowardice of Ghosting a Relationship
The Genius and Cowardice of Ghosting a Relationship

The Genius/Cowardice of Ghosting

Ghosting, or gradually ignoring someone until your relationship with them dissolves, is both brilliant and despicable. So should you do it?
June 26, 2016
8 mins read

Do Not Ghost Gentle Into That Good Night

Ghosting, or gradually ignoring someone until your relationship with them dissolves, is both brilliant and despicable. So should you do it?

By Katie Hovan, University of Miami

College is a time of constant change for most students.

From dividing your time between school and home to meeting new people from all over the world, it takes a lot of mental and emotional stamina to keep up with it all. Though the benefits to be reaped will be worth it in the end, this isn’t to say that there won’t be a few setbacks along the way.

Both old and new relationships can take a major hit from all of the upheaval during this time. Maybe a relationship has lost its luster, a friendship is difficult to maintain or a casual Tinder hookup just isn’t going anywhere. How do people go about ending these relationships without stepping on any toes?


Ghosting has long been a way to end a relationship quickly and efficiently, and with noncommittal communication like Facebook, texting and Snapchat, it’s become easier to ghost than ever before. If a person would like to avoid the awkwardness or confrontation associated with ending something, ghosting seems like the best option. Essentially, it means cutting off all forms of communication in order to end a relationship.

“Ghosters” can often convince themselves that they’re sparing someone’s feelings if the process is gradual. The ghoster can slowly begin to ignore calls and messages hoping that the recipient gets the message (no pun intended) that they’re not interested. Eventually, communication will cease altogether, usually without any real discussion of what went wrong. No lying, no tension, no problem, right?

And in this digital age, if someone thinks they don’t have it in themselves to outright ignore another person, fear not. There’s even an app for this! A new program called Ghostbot will ghost people itself, saving people time, energy and guilt. First, users can download the Burner app and create a fake phone number. Then, they can add the Ghostbot program to the fake number. Ghostbot will automatically respond with “witty” messages until the other person gets the hint. Lazy ghosters can rejoice!

Though I haven’t used an app, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of a good, steady ghosting from time to time. I tend to be less vocal about my feelings than the average person, and I can be overly kind even when someone’s personality makes me want to jump into oncoming traffic (shout out to the restaurant industry for doubling as acting school). And my award-winning performances have gotten me into some uncomfortable situations.

If someone that I’m not interested in gets a little too close, instead of being upfront, I ghost.

I feel a small twinge of guilt with every message that I leave unanswered, but it’s so much easier for me to ignore the problem than to confront it head-on, and that’s exactly where the philosophy behind ghosting stems from. But while I consider myself a ghoster who takes a slow approach, it’s important to note that ghosting isn’t always so gradual.

Some people will choose to take a more cut and dry approach, cutting off all forms of communication immediately. It’s harsh and sudden, but it saves the ghoster from an uncomfortable situation and potentially hurting someone’s feelings. This is most common in online relationships like those from Tinder because the likelihood of ever running into the person being ghosted is slim. However, it’s usually not a viable solution for friendships unless the ghoster plans on skipping town, too.

Reddit user rte29 gave a description of one of the more extreme forms of ghosting. He writes, “I was dating a girl …Today was supposed to be our 1 year and haven’t heard from her in 2 weeks, neither have her best friends. [Her] family won’t respond to phone calls or texts. No idea what happened to her.”

Tons of similar stories exist on internet threads, and it seems that few people have never ghosted or been ghosted in today’s dating world.

Regardless of a person’s preferred method, however, it’s important to look at ghosting from the opposing perspective every now and then. Because karma really is a bitch and my serial ghosting caught up to me, I can say that I’ve experienced ghosting from both ends.

Waiting for a text aka getting ghosted

I know what it feels like to be ghosted by a childhood friend who I thought would be in my life for a very long time, if not forever. Sure, it wasn’t the same as being ignored by a hookup or boyfriend, but ghosting still happens in friendships, and it can be just as painful. I was left confused and wondering what exactly happened for me to deserve being ignored by someone I cared for. There was no petty fight or typical falling out to end the friendship, and that was what confused me the most.

Being the ghostee isn’t as easy as doing the ghosting. Ghosting means not having to do anything. A ghoster can sit back, relax and ignore any call or message sent their way, making it seem as if they no longer even exist. But it leaves another person perplexed and analyzing every possible misstep that could have led to being ignored. They may even end up a little more insecure in themselves than before, which probably isn’t what any ghoster intends to happen.

So while ghosting can come from good intentions, the results are usually detrimental for another person, no matter if it’s a relationship or a friendship. It’s important to realize the possible ramifications of your decision before ghosting someone to end a relationship.

With that being said, it’s still the easiest way to avoid an uncomfortable situation. Am I going to consider another person’s feelings before I ghost someone again? Absolutely. But am I going to be the bigger person and choose not to ghost? Probably not. I get an A for honesty though, right?

Katie Hovan, University of Miami

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