The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

‘Ghosting’ gains traction as convenient way to cut ties

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It is a quarter past six on a cold, murky August evening and Kyle is already working on his third pint of overpriced double IPA from a local pub; this one called “Grain & Blood.” “I don’t even know what happened, bro. She just never hit me back,” he tells me, attempting to hold back the palpable despondency. It has been a little over a week since Courtney quit returning his text or Snapchat messages.  

By most accounts, it all began like a typical, modern-age romance. He had been single for about 6 months, so he joined Bumble, a popular dating app, and they matched. The first date went well, he says, so they exchanged phone numbers and Snapchats. Weeks of lengthy text messages and coy pictures followed, plus a couple more in-person dates, and then — poof. She vanished. Not off the face of the Earth, as far as we know, but for all intents and purposes, she was gone.

In layman’s terms, Kyle has been “ghosted.” “Ghosting”, or the act of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication, is something you may or may not have heard of. People have been performing these vanishing acts for centuries, but with so many new ways in which to interact and form relationships nowadays, people have begun getting creative.

A recent study by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships concluded that 25 percent of the 1,300 participants had been “ghostees” at one point, with another 20 percent having at one point or another, been ghosters. Plenty of Fish, a popular dating website, asked 800 users between the ages of 18 and 33 whether or not they had been ghosted. An eye-popping 78 percent answered “yes.” There is even evidence to suggest that ghosting is catching on in the workplace, with potential employees bailing on interviews and job offers.

The appeal of ghosting is obvious; cutting out of a personal relationship without having to have “the talk” is probably alluring to all of us. Hurting someone’s feelings is no more fun than having one’s feelings hurt, but I would argue that it is necessary more often than not. By cutting off all communication without explanation, you give off the impression that they are not even worth so much as a “so long.” Psychology Today describes ghosting as, “the ultimate use of the silent treatment, a tactic that has often been viewed by mental health professionals as a form of emotional cruelty.”

I get it. Maybe you met someone online and you exchanged a handful of messages over a dating app, then at some point over the course of the conversation, you lost interest, so you just quit replying. Chances are, neither of you are that hurt over it. No big deal.

The thing is, adults attempt to teach you manners for a reason. Constant reminders to say “please” and “thank you” over the course of your childhood hopefully instill a sense of courtesy. Maybe people forget this, but the same goes for all other aspects of human interaction: just be decent.

For Kyle, the wounds will heal. “Are you gonna be alright, man?” I ask him disconcertingly as we flag down the bartender to order his fourth beer, this time an overpriced, vanilla bean stout called “Silver Lining.”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine I guess,” he tells me, brushing off the question as the bartender slides him another pint. “It’s just… is this how it is now?”

Yes it is, but you will find the “Silver Lining” in it somewhere.

 

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