Is the fear of confrontation the only reason that motivates these people who ghost and no longer give any news from one day to the next? The reality is a little more complex, as a study on the motivations of 34 serial ghosters shows us.
The void. No longer a message, no longer a call, or even a “like” on your networks, the “ghoster” is the one who suddenly no longer gives any sign of life, generally to a romantic partner, as a radical technique to cut ties. But while it is well known that this harmful attitude can be traumatic for the person being ignored, there are few studies done on the motivation of people who “ghost” people. It’s done today in the magazine Personal Relationship.
8 things to know about people who ghost you
The American researchers behind this study questioned 34 students who had ghosted another person, about their reasons and what they think of their action. Eight major themes were determined from these interviews which allow us to know a little more about this attitude.
The ghoster often has a very clear reason (for him)
Almost all respondents identified a clear cause for their choice which made them confident of it. These causes often included unreciprocated romantic feelings, inappropriate partner behavior, or unchangeable incompatibility. In some cases, ignoring the person occurs when the ghoster finds communication impossible.
The ghoster avoids confrontation
Not surprisingly, many participants expressed their fear of confrontation and the comfort of rejecting the other through this simple electronic disappearance. However, some participants reported decreasing their ghosting habits as they grew up and learned to communicate properly with others.
The ghoster seeks a way to maintain superficial relationships
For some ghosters, disappearing is simply a game, when you are afraid of commitment and being drawn into a long-term relationship. Like a simpler way to flutter.
The ghoster disappears when he perceives the other as inferior
The study also noted that ghosters often attributed negative social traits to the ignored people, calling them “clingy,” “boring” and “fake” or placing their hopes too high on them.
The ghoster often gives warning signs
According to respondents, the fact of fading away often occurs after an initial lack of interest. But when the targeted person seemed to insist on getting back in touch, the ghoster preferred to block everything in response.
The ghoster sometimes feels harassed
Faced with withdrawal, the other person involved in the relationship would tend to hang on to find out what is happening. Which can result in an omnipresence of messages. “He was texting me. called me, came to my house” summed up one of the students. Ghosting was then seen as a means of defense
The ghoster has mixed feelings about his action
Even so, those who ghost often experience mixed and evolving feelings as a result of their actions. Some initially felt happy and relieved, but then developed negative emotions such as guilt. Others felt bad at first, then became satisfied with their actions, believing that the ends justified the means. Others felt a deep and lingering sense of loss and regret.
The ghoster knows it hurts
Finally, the person who uses ghosting mostly knows that this behavior is harmful, selfish and bad, with negative consequences for the person being rejected, such as trust issues and reduced self-esteem. He doesn’t ignore it.
Is the ghoster an insensitive being? Our psychologist’s response
For our psychologist Marie-Estelle Dupont, the very topical subject can highlight several behaviors:
“Ghosting can reflect insensitivity when it comes to a truly narcissistic person, but it can also be an expression of fear. When we ghost it is because we don’t know how to manage the relationship that settle down, set limits, and we are sometimes even afraid of separation, of not being good enough when the relationship becomes too close, or even afraid of getting hurt. When fear is absent, we can say to the person ‘look this doesn’t suit me, this isn’t the right time for me’, and put an end to a relationship.”
But this behavior in the long term could well be as harmful for the person ignored as for the person who disappears. “Nowadays, relational behaviors have been modified by virtual relationships, via our screens, which occur from the start of relationships. We text each other and don’t even take the time to call each other anymore. But behind this virtuality we hide and we have the possibility of skipping the other as soon as the conversation bores us. This technology makes things very radical.”
In the end, disappearing in this way damages the bond, but also damages self-esteem because you can ghost… but also be ghosted. “And deep down, we know that it’s not pretty to do that, it’s not good for the confidence of the person who experiences it as well as the person who does it. This will feed their fear and if the person runs away every time someone approaches they will inevitably end up alone or with uninteresting relationships.”