How to Look Out for Ghosts this Halloween

Spooky season is almost over but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still getting GHOSTED out here on Tulane’s campus. For those of you reading who don’t know what ghosting is… Ghosting is when someone that you believe cares about you, whether it be a friend or somebody you are romantically involved with, suddenly ends contact with you without any warning or explanation. No calls, no text messages, no connection made on social media, no responses to any of your messages. Just complete silence. And to tell you the truth, they probably didn’t unexpectedly leave town, drop their phone in the toilet leaving it destroyed, or decide to cleanse themselves from social media for a few weeks. Nope. They ghosted you. Spooky, I know.

Coming to the realization that you’ve been ghosted is difficult, but ghosting is a phenomenon that has become extremely prevalent in today’s dating culture. You are not alone! Research has shown that approximately 50% of men and women have experienced it — and an almost equal number have done the ghosting. My question is, who ghosts and who gets ghosted? And if you are the ghosted, how do you deal with it?

To be completely honest, you may never know for sure why you were ghosted. In the romantic sense, your partner may have simply gotten bored with the relationship or moved on to another partner. Some people just aren’t mature enough to tell it to you straight, and they take the easy way out by ceasing all contact in any way, shape or form. For the person who is ghosted, there is no sense of closure and often deep feelings of uncertainty or insecurity persist. You blame yourself, which only furthers the confusion and frustration you have towards the situation. Social rejection activates the same pathways in the brain as physical harm. Getting ghosted hurts and it hurts bad.

Before you can simply move on from the relationship or friendship, you have to allow yourself time to breathe. Put on the sweatshirt that he left at your house or take one last whiff of her perfume on your pillowcase, and allow yourself to go through the old messages and photos, taking one last sad stroll down memory lane. However, once the initial feelings of shock, shame, and sadness have subsided, there is one simple solution to getting over being ghosted: you must mourn the relationship similar to how you would mourn a death. Gather your friends, dress in black, and hold a ceremony similar to a funeral, because that person is officially DEAD TO YOU. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The relationship and/or friendship is over and it is time to move on.

The important thing to remember is that when someone ghosts you, it says nothing about you or your worthiness of love. People who ghost are primarily focused on their own emotional discomfort. The sense of vulnerability, intimacy, and potential heartbreak scares a lot of individuals into ending the relationship they have formed. Don’t let getting ghosted discourage you from finding meaningful social connections in today’s world. There are plenty of individuals out there who want to find friendship, companionship, or love just as much as you do.

Cover photo: Carolyn Ellis

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