Why People Ghost, As Told By People Who Ghosted

You’d be surprised to hear that people don’t just ghost because they’re jerks (although they often are). The reason can get more complicated than that, like if they unexpectedly lose someone, or if their anxiety plays tricks on them.

The reasons vary. These people decided to come out clean and share theirs.

She Ghosted When He Tried To Make Her Leave Her Husband

wedding photo with roses
Photo Credit: Tom The Photographer / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Tom The Photographer / Unsplash

“An old ex from college got in touch with me. We had a great time catching up. Several months into our very polite chats, he suddenly shifts gears hard. He’s trying to get me to leave my husband for him (literally haven’t seen this ex in 20+ years). I blocked him on social media and didn’t think twice about it afterwards.” —NoeTellusom

Obviously, that’s not the story he told all their mutual friends, so she just showed them screenshots as proof every time they called her out.

The Longer You Wait, The Harder It Is

man texting by the window
Photo Credit: Thom Holmes / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Thom Holmes / Unsplash

“I’m a ghoster. I feel terrible about it. I mean to write, and mean to write, then the time has passed so I have to write something really good, then more time passes, so looks weird if I reach out then.

“So I communicate daily with you in my head, many apologies and conversations. My anxiety just gets overwhelming.” —ExtraDebit

It does take courage to communicate why you want to end contact, but it’s only right to provide that person with closure.

It Can Be Warranted When Receiving Stalker Vibes

woman on her phone in the dark
Photo Credit: Mikotoraw / Pexels
Photo Credit: Mikotoraw / Pexels

“I’ve ghosted. I used to be honest, but having more than one dude call me names for not thinking they were a good match killed that habit.

“Worst was a dude I’d gone on a couple of dates with. He was nice enough, just a little too odd and clingy. In the twenty minutes, it took me to get home, there were over a dozen texts, each one more frantic than the last because I hadn’t replied yet. I immediately noped out and ghosted.” —Lexi_Banner

Unforeseen Circumstances Get In The Way

cman cries by his bed
Photo Credit: Claudia Wolff / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Claudia Wolff / Unsplash

“Two years ago, I met a woman online. After dating her for two weeks, my father passed away. I told her upfront that I am not in a good place emotionally, wasn’t comfortable sharing my grieving process with someone I had just met, and that I couldn’t promise I would still be open to dating anyone in the near future.

“She called me out for ghosting her a month later.” —sheikhyerbouti

It was out of his hands.

The Therapist Said To

man talks to his therapist
Photo Credit: Cottonbro / Pexels
Photo Credit: Cottonbro / Pexels

“My therapist and I came up with a mantra … ‘I can ghost anyone I want.’ Nobody should feel obligated to respond to people with who they aren’t close with. I just imagine that they are the one ghosting me instead and if in the imagined scenario I feel awful, I’ll reach out.” —dilwins21

Although there is truth to this, communication and honestly is the best policy. You could always just let them know you no longer wish to speak and leave it at that.

Grown Men Shouldn’t Throw Tantrums

angry man yells into phone
Photo Credit: Icons8 Team / Unspash
Photo Credit: Icons8 Team / Unspash

“I only ghosted him after he asked me out and I declined and he became hostile. Then he started throwing more tantrums and eventually went to my friends and asked them to stop being friends with me, so yes I was wrong for not blocking him immediately.” —pearl_pearl_

Not that you should fight fire with fire, but if you’re going to be immature about rejection, you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re met with an immature reaction.

We’re Our Own Work In Progress

woman looks through the blinds of her window
Photo Credit: joshua Rawson Harris / Unsplash
Photo Credit: joshua Rawson Harris / Unsplash

“When things aren’t going well in my life, I turn inward and isolate myself. I’m not good at receiving support and therefore I avoid people when I’m not doing well. It makes me ghost the people I care about. I’ve been called out on it.” —Unclebigfoote

Ghosting someone doesn’t make you a bad person. It does mean that you have some work to do on yourself though.

Don’t Pick Boys Over Best Friends

best friends roll in a cart
Photo Credit: Dave Goudreau / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Dave Goudreau / Unsplash

“When I was a teenager, I started dating a guy who I really liked. He did not like my best friend, and would often make fun of her. His toxic behavior actually made me start resenting her. Eventually, I just ghosted her. ” —StarTrippy

It wasn’t until a year later that the grown teen realized her mistake, apologized to her friend, and gave her an explanation. They became friends again even though she stayed with the guy.

Take A Hint

girl says no with her hand
Photo Credit: Isaiah Rustad / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Isaiah Rustad / Unsplash

“As someone who is the ghost in a situation where a person follows you, makes every situation awkward and weird, and absolutely refuses to get the memo that you’re already taken and will never be interested in them.” —TurtleTucker

This is one of the reasons why it’s important to note that the person being ghosted is not always the victim.

You Don’t Owe Anything To Anybody

three women laugh
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

“I have also ghosted people who wanted to manipulate and control me or who thought I owed them my friendship because they liked me platonically but who I have no interest in spending time with.” —Luks89

At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you, and often, you have to keep some people out of your life. When they don’t get that, you have little choice but to ghost them.

Blame It On Ego Defense Mechanisms

woman is deep in thought
Photo Credit: Kevin Turcios / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Kevin Turcios / Unsplash

“I ghosted someone I cared deeply for, and I deeply regret that I hurt someone that meant a lot to me.

“I think ego defense mechanisms play a part in situations where you don’t have a real good reason for what you did. You just build a wall and start running. But it eventually catches up with you.” —UnapproachableOnion

Maybe this means there’s hope that people who ghost will eventually learn their lesson and stop!

Avoiding Embarrassment

woman hides her face in teh dark
Photo Credit: Melanie Wasser / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Melanie Wasser / Unsplash

“I’ve ghosted before. Mainly, I just blame it on my massive anxiety and inability to complete social interactions without making mistakes. So I just stop trying because I know I’m gonna embarrass myself.” —Duosion

Many people have pointed out that anxiety and fear of coming off as a jerk or embarrassing themselves played the biggest factor in why they ghosted, rather than the reason being anything against that person.

Online Dating Is An Impossible Game

someone holding their tinder app
Photo Credit: Yogas Design/ Unsplash
Photo Credit: Yogas Design/ Unsplash

“I’m a ghoster. Mostly to people online. Sometimes I get called out, but I’d be blunt explaining to them I might not be interested, I’m having a hard time maintaining a conversation, and it’s never personal.

“I never ghost after an actual friendship or relationship has developed, though, so it’s never a hard feeling.” —pedersen766

This is why online dating so hard! Don’t wait to get called out. If you’re not interested, just say so so they can move on. Whether it’s an actual friendship or not, they’re all human.

Sometimes You Have To Care Of Yourself First

woman rests hands on chest
Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

“I ghosted a ‘friend’ that I became reconnected with after a long while. I found out some things about him and my ex. Basically, he was cheating on his GF with my GF.

“He wasn’t even worth the energy to confront, it would have been a great waste of time listening to him deny the accusation. Basically, I had so many conflicting feelings, I just needed to cut and run.” —Oldpenguinhunter

Friends Go Through Breakups Too

two women sit at coffeeshop
Photo: Courtney Nuss / Unsplash
Photo: Courtney Nuss / Unsplash

“I had a friend I had known for 25+ years. She was all into office gossip and talked trash about people I liked. When I needed to talk about personal struggles, she would talk over me and change the subject to her issues. This went on for a few years.

“Finally, I had enough. I ghosted her and after a few months, she reached out to me via text. I replied and told her why then I blocked her.” —KimmySimmy

Cutting Ties Can Be The Only Way Out

woman leans into man laughing
Photo Credit: Hian Oliveira / Reddit
Photo Credit: Hian Oliveira / Reddit

“I’m currently ‘ghosting’ this girl that has been manipulating me for months. She had me convinced that the reason she was so stingy with her love was that I was doing something wrong.

“I met someone else and I’ve been giving the first girl the cold shoulder ever since.” —goodkidMAADb***hes

When you find the right person, the wrong person doesn’t seem to be worth your time anymore.

It Can Take Being Called Out To See How Ghosting Hurts

woman calls out man at the bar
Photo Credit: lexscope / Unsplash
Photo Credit: lexscope / Unsplash

Often it takes a wake-up call for someone to realize the damage they’re inflicting by ghosting: “I have ghosted a couple of girls. I did it because I didn’t feel I wanted to pursue the relationship.

“One girl I ghosted I ran into a couple of months later at a bar she told me how hurt she was and I felt like a complete jerk. Changed my perspective completely and haven’t done it since and will not ever do it again.” —coshawn34

Ironically, People Ghost To Avoid Hurting Others

man brushes his hair in stress
Photo Credit: Nathan Cowley / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Nathan Cowley / Unsplash

“When I was a teenager, I did ghost. I was deeply insecure and terrified of hurting people (the irony as I probably hurt more by ghosting). I’d spent hours and days trying to think of how to reject them until I’ve convinced myself it was too late, or they were calling me out.” —NoWiseWords

No one is saying communication is easy, but it’s achievable with practice.

You’re Only Sabotaging Yourself

he kisses her forehead on a hill
Photo Credit: Nathan Mcbride / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Nathan Mcbride / Unsplash

“I ghosted my now girlfriend when we first started dating. I had extremely low self-esteem due to a toxic past relationship and couldn’t fathom that someone as amazing as my girlfriend liked me.

“I thought I was doing her a favor when I stopped messaging her.” —makadamianut

This couple had a happy ending when he realized he made a mistake and apologized until they got back together.

Often It’s Because They Met Someone Else

woman rests her head on man's shoulder
Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash
Photo Credit: Milan Popovic / Unsplash

“Basically, had been messaging a girl for a while, she was a customer at a place I used to drive deliveries for. Things had been going well, we chatted most days. Then out of the blue, I met my current GF.

“It wasn’t like I made a conscious decision to never message this girl again, I just got so wrapped up after meeting this amazing woman that before I knew it, it had been over a week and I just hadn’t messaged her back…” —DendroNate