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Sunday, June 26, 2022

When messages suddenly stop: Why do people ghost on social media?

check your phone. Are there any unanswered texts, snaps, or direct messages that you’ve been ignoring? should you answer? Or should you ghost the person who sent them?

Ghosting is when someone cuts off all online communication with someone else and without any explanation. Instead, they disappear like ghosts. The phenomenon is common on social media and dating sites, but with the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic – forcing more people to get together online – it happens now more than ever.

I am a professor of psychology who studies the role of technology use in interpersonal relationships and well-being. Given the negative psychological consequences of failed relationships—particularly during the emerging adulthood years, ages 18 to 29—I wanted to understand the effects college students have on others, and if ghosts have a psychic effect. has any effect on health.

To address these questions, my research team recruited 76 college students via social media and on-campus flyers. The sample is 70% female. Study participants signed up for one of 20 focus groups, ranging in size from two to five students. The group sessions lasted an average of 48 minutes. Participants answered questions asked to reflect on their ghostly experiences. Here’s what we found.

Millions of people have been ghosted by romantic partners, friends or potential employers.


Some students admitted that they lacked the communication skills needed to have an open and honest conversation – whether that conversation took place face-to-face or via text or email.

From a 19-year-old woman: “I’m not good at communicating with people in person, so I definitely can’t do typing or anything like that.”

From the age of 22: “I don’t have the confidence to tell them this. Or I think it could be because of social anxiety.”

In some instances, participants opted for ghosting if they felt that meeting with the person would stir up emotional or sexual feelings they were unwilling to pursue: “People are afraid of something too much .. . The fact that the relationship is somehow taking the next level.”

Some haunted because of security concerns. Forty-five percent exorcise themselves to distance themselves from a “toxic,” “unpleasant” or “unhealthy” situation. One 19-year-old woman put it this way: “It’s so easy to chat with total strangers so [ghosting is] Like a form of protection when a creepy guy is asking you to send nudes and stuff. ,

One of the least-reported yet most interesting reasons for ghosting someone: to protect that person’s feelings. Better to ghost, the thinking goes, than cause the hurt feelings that come with outright rejection. One 18-year-old woman said that exorcisms “are a slightly polite way of disapproving of someone compared to simply saying, ‘I don’t want to chat with you.'”

That said, recent data shows that American adults generally consider breaking up via email, text, or social media to be unacceptable, and prefer one person-to-person conversation.

And then there’s the ghost after sex.

In the context of hookup culture, there is an understanding that if the ghost has found what they were looking for—often, it’s sex—that’s just, they don’t need to talk to that person anymore. After all, more interaction can be interpreted as wanting something more emotionally intimate.

According to one 19-year-old woman: “I think it’s rare to have an open conversation about how you really feel. [about] What do you want from a position? …I think hookup culture is really toxic in promoting honest communication.”

But the most prevalent reason for being a ghost is a lack of interest in having a relationship with that person. Remember the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You”? As one participant put it: “Sometimes the conversation gets boring.”

Breaking up is hard to do.


Attending college represents a turning point in establishing and maintaining relationships beyond one’s family and hometown neighborhood. For some emerging adults, romantic breakups, emotional loneliness, social exclusion and isolation can have potentially devastating psychological effects.

Our research supports the idea that ghosting can have negative consequences for mental health. Short term, many of those ghosts felt overwhelming rejection and confusion. They reported feelings of low self-worth and low self-esteem. Part of the problem is the lack of clarity – not knowing why communication suddenly stopped. Sometimes, an element of paranoia emerges as the ghost tries to make sense of the situation.

Over a long period of time, many of those ghosts in our study reported feelings of disbelief that developed over time. Some bring this distrust into future relationships. With it can come internalizing rejection, self-blame, and the ability to sabotage those relationships.

However, more than half of the participants in our study said that being ghosted provides opportunities for reflection and resilience.

“It may be partly positive for ghosts because they can sense some of their shortcomings, and they can change that,” said one 18-year-old woman.

As far as ghosting is concerned, it had a variety of psychological consequences. About half of the haunted focus groups experienced feelings of remorse or guilt; The rest felt no emotion at all. This finding isn’t entirely surprising, given that people who initiate breakups typically report less distress than recipients.

Also emerging from our discussions: the sense that ghosts may be underdeveloped in their personal development. From a 20-year-old male: “It can [become] a habit. And it becomes part of your behavior and thus makes you feel that you should end the relationship with someone. … I think a lot of people are serial ghosters, like they know how to treat people.”

The reasons for ghosting from fear of intimacy represent a particularly interesting avenue for future research. Until that job is done, universities can help by providing more opportunities for students to build confidence and sharpen their communication skills.

It includes more courses that cover these challenges. I am reminded of a psychology class I took as an undergraduate at Trent University that introduced me to the work of social psychologist Daniel Perlman, who taught courses about loneliness and intimate relationships. Outside of the classroom, college residential life coordinators may design seminars and workshops that teach students practical skills on resolving relationship conflicts.

In the meantime, students can subscribe to a number of relationship blogs that provide readers with research-based answers. Just know that help is available – even after you’ve been ghosted, you’re not alone.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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