Whether we like it or not, ghosting seems to have become quite common recently. It’s pretty much a fact.

Our responsibility, then, is to never normalize ghosting unless it’s necessary e.g. in abusive, toxic, or narcissistic relationships.

If you are lucky, you know what ghosting is because you’ve simply heard the term or read stories on social media or blogs.

Otherwise it happened to you, and it probably wasn’t fun, and left you totally confused, then hopeful, then angry, until you finally learned to forget.

Or perhaps you were the one who ghosted, and you look back and wonder if there was a better solution.

Ghosting explained

For those who don’t know, the term refers to the act of ending a relationship or friendship by ending all contact, suddenly and without warning.

The word has somehow become a lot more common in recent years, which is why you’ll hear about people being “ghosted” by a potential employer after a job interview.

Or, people being “ghosted” by a friend but in the sense that they didn’t show up to a meeting and did not pick up the phone that night.

For the purpose of this post, we are going to refer to ghosting as the sudden end of an actual relationship (including dating) or friendship.

In general, it seems that the shorter the dating phase, the more likely ghosters are to ghost. In other words, ghosting isn’t as common in long-term relationships.

This may be obvious — after all, for a serious long-term relationship to end with ghosting there would have to be either complete immaturity and selfishness or some kind of abuse.

Although you do hear about stories of “best friends” of ten years who disappear all of a sudden. But then again, that’s friendship, not love. And we don’t always know the reasons behind it.

Why some ghosters don’t block you

Woman looking at smartphone screen in the morning

So here’s the question — why on Earth would anyone ghost you but not block you?

For example, why would a ghoster end all contact with you yet still follow you on social media and make it possible for you to message them?

In most cases, the answer is surprisingly simple, though it may not be the one you want to hear.

If you are ghosted but not blocked, that gives the ghoster a chance to come back. In other words, ghosting without blocking leaves the door open just in case the ghoster needs you in the future. This implies that in their eyes you are “not that important”.

Like I said, that’s in most cases. It’s impossible to say why exactly you haven’t been blocked, but you can probably get an idea, intuitively. Some examples:

  • The ghoster may be genuinely going through an emotional breakdown, or “hermit mode” (this is quite rare and when it does happen you would expect them to at least text you, don’t fall into the trap of false hope)
  • The ghoster may not actually want to end the relationship but rather “breadcrumb” (text sporadically just to keep you interested; I have been there and my advice would be to never date people like that)
  • The ghoster lacks empathy completely, to the point where they believe there is an on/off button in any relationship and any form of ghosting/lack of attention doesn’t have to be explained or justified
  • The ghoster wants your thoughts to be consumed by them, as a form of punishment or to inflate their own ego at your expense (extremely rare, most selfish people don’t actually want you to suffer)

Should YOU block someone who ghosted you?

You have been ghosted but not blocked. You have tried to text and/or call the other person, and waited long enough. No response whatsoever, just silence. What should you do?

Keep in mind, the person who ghosted you has not blocked you, therefore they can see and receive all messages. If they really need to think, then they can definitely send a brief text to let you know.

If you believe you have been ghosted permanently (or simply don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who acts like that and treats you like that), then it probably makes sense to block them for good.

After all, why would you keep looking at their pictures, agonize over how selfish they have been, or even worse, have false hope for months?

If you are not sure, give yourself a deadline. For example, if the other person doesn’t text or call you by a certain date, then assume it really is ghosting, in which case there is no point in waiting any longer.

Final thoughts

I don’t think I have ever ghosted myself in the sense that when it happened there were always plenty of warning signs or even a phone call or text that clearly explained what I was doing.

I have been ghosted and it has been harsh. I guess the worst part is coming to the realization that the person you cared so much about did not reciprocate your feelings at all.

And there is anger, disappointment, sadness, or even emotional breakdowns at times. And yet we are powerless, and the only thing we can do is move on, and that makes us stronger.

Not only that — if a door closes, another door opens. Perhaps you can turn the pain of being ghosted into the motivation and the freedom of looking for someone who actually cares about you.

Sometimes life really is as simple as picking what is meant for you and letting go of what isn’t. Ignore those who deserve to be ignored. Love yourself and you will be loved.

Most importantly, respect yourself. Resist the temptation to follow or beg anyone who doesn’t think you’re important.

You are whole and complete in yourself — don’t give others permission to define you or to have power over you.