Ghosting is the age-old dating trend we all need to stop doing

We spoke to an expert on why 'Ghosting' is worse than you might think…

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Isabella Dias)

The dating world seems to get more and more complicated with a new toxic dating trend seemingly popping up every day. Like situationships, and ‘cookie jarring,’ but there’s one trend in particular that experts want us to avoid, and that’s Ghosting.

Now, we’ve probably all been a little bit guilty of ghosting before, perhaps after a seriously awkward first date, to an ex, or even to a friend. It can be especially easy and tempting to do online, and on dating apps—But the experts warn it can cause a lot more hurt than we might realize.

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(Image credit: Getty Images / Adam Kuylenstierna / EyeEm)

What is ‘Ghosting’? 

For those who have been lucky enough to avoid this trend, ‘Ghosting’ is when you are dating someone or in contact with someone and they suddenly cut off contact. They stop replying to your messages and effectively ‘ghost’ you because they disappear from your life. 

Michelle Elman, life coach, boundaries expert, and author of 'The Joy of Being Selfish’ says ghosting: “causes unnecessary hurt because, alongside the abandonment and rejection that arises in other breakups, there is confusion and a lack of closure. They are unable to start the grieving process because they don't know it's over as soon as you do.”

Everyone deals with breakups differently and we all need time to mend and heal—in fact, we know breakups are increasingly harder to get over. Ghosting only adds to this, often prolonging the hurt because we are left waiting and hoping that ‘perhaps they’ll text back’ or ‘maybe they’re just busy’—or we automatically turn it inwards, and blame ourselves.

How to avoid Ghosting

Many of us will have experienced ghosting throughout our dating journeys and will know how horrible and confusing it can feel. 

Elman explains that avoiding the trend is all about, “having respect and engaging in the difficult (and potentially uncomfortable) conversation rather than running away from it. 

“You wouldn't like to be ghosted and therefore it's about having the decency to behave the way you would like to be treated.”

Michelle Elman

She continued: “When you are honest, you are able to give the other person closure, and also it is behaving in a way you can be proud of yourself.”

Even if the person responds negatively, at least you spoke your truth, and leave the conversation knowing you put an end to your relationship—without leaving the other person in any doubt. This sets a precedent for future relationships, and will likely build your confidence when it comes to these situations.

If you find confrontation or the idea of the serious convo hard and daunting, Elman says even sending a text is better than nothing. In this digital age, it’s less of an offense to break up with someone over text or the phone—but she reminds us it need not be insulting or hurtful.

She says: “You don't have to end it perfectly but you do have to end it.”

We also need to keep in mind, it’s very okay to block and unfriend people. After the breakup conversation—if they won’t drop it or respect your wishes and keep trying to contact you then press that block button—the key is being honest.

The Joy of Being Selfish by Michelle Elman. Published by Welbeck

'The Joy of Being Selfish' by Michelle Elman is out now.

(Image credit: Welbeck / Michelle Elman)