Ghosting or Cowardice – Is There A Difference?

I am grateful that I am with my fiancé Jack every day. I wake up happy, I go to sleep happy and I feel blessed, truly blessed. After always being on the edges of each other’s lives for years and years, we finally met and the rest, as they say, is history.

I don’t have the most extensive dating history. Before Jack, I was with someone for five years. When we broke up, I went on a few dates, but in all honesty I was happy enough by myself and looking forward to achieving my travelling goals. Meeting Jack was fate, and I’m not one to ignore fate.

It was during my time as a ‘single girl’ that I discovered the term ‘ghosting’. I’ve never personally been ghosted myself, but talking to my other single friends, I realised what it was and how common a dating practise it was.

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For those of you lucky enough to not know what this means, ghosting is where you basically just ignore the person that you were speaking to or dating until they get the message and don’t speak to you again. In short, it is the cowards way out of doing the decent thing, treating another person with respect and ending something properly.

I’ve heard many, many people try and justify this behaviour. Some people laugh it off and say that people will get over it. Others try rationalise it more as a way not to waste your time when life is so busy nowadays. People say that in the world of technology and online dating, to ignore someone over message is easy. You can pretend that they are just a screen and not a person. You don’t have to think of yourself as someone who upsets someone else, you’re just someone who has stopped replying to an automated message. I tend to find that the people who try and rationalise the practise of ghosting are in fact people who ghost others them self.

When you choose to ignore someone, it’s not an automated message or a robot or a piece of software that you ignore – it’s a person. A person who has taken the time out of their day to message you, to speak to you, to get to know you. A person that might have told their friends about you. A person that gets excited when your name lights up their screen. A person with a heart that you might not know enough to break but one that your cowardly act of ghosting will damage and harden. A person who will carry what you did inside of them, building up layers of insecurity that will impact their next relationship or dating encounter.

I know that things don’t always work out with people. I understand that you don’t fall in love with everyone you meet and that sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. I’ve walked away from a long term relationship and had the awkward exchange where you tell someone after a first date that whilst it was fun, you don’t want to see them. I’ve been there and I’ve done it, decently.

But to ghost someone is to strip someone of their human rights, to tell them that they are not even worthy of a reply or a reason. It’s to take the power that you have, to run away and laugh. It’s to hide behind your phone screen rather than participate in human decency.

The idea of ghosting is something that angers me so much. For the person who avoids the responsibility of actually treating the person they were speaking to as a human, it is an easy way out. For the person that has been ghosted, it’s endless questions, being plagued with self doubt, heightened insecurities and it’s own brand of heartache. It’s like treating someone as if they are nothing.

For the person committing the ghosting, they don’t ever have to think about the person they ignored again. They can just delete the text chain and shrug it off. But for the person who is waiting for a message that will never come, the insecurity lives on long after. The next time they speak to someone, there will always be that little shred of doubt that tells them don’t open up too much, don’t expect a reply, don’t trust your happiness.

If you ghost someone, you are telling someone that they don’t deserve to be happy. You’re telling them that they are not worth a response. You are literally saying to them ‘I’m better than you’ and ‘you’re not even worth my time’. It’s the most smug, arrogant and selfish thing that you could do. You leave them with more hurt and baggage than you could imagine.

No one has the right to take away another person’s sense of humanity. When you ghost someone, that’s what you try and do.

To anyone who thinks that it’s okay to ghost someone, I pity you. I pity you for the lack of love you must have been shown for you to think that that’s okay.

To anyone who has been a victim of ghosting, please know that it does not define you or your worth. To not reply is a practise of a coward and one that in the end you are better off without having in your life. The person out of the two of you who will find their happiness is never going to be the one who did the ghosting. How can anyone who treats others so poorly ever be in a situation where they know what it feels like to truly be loved? They can’t, but you can.

The next time you talk to someone online, dating or not, just take a moment and think – am I being kind? Does this person deserve this? How would I feel if this were the other way around?

It doesn’t take a lot to be honest and kind. Ignoring a message might seem like the easy option, but it’s not. Kindness is the easy option, always. Don’t ever forget that.

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