Ghosting is the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone you have been involved in a close relationship with, such as friends, family, or romantic partners. It can be seen as a form of rejection. Ghosting has become increasingly common across all age groups, but it’s more prevalent in the teenage population.
This guide explores common reasons youngsters might ghost, potential emotional effects, and ways to go about it.
Why Teenagers Sometimes Ghost?
Ghosting among teens is due to, in large part, the current culture, which is based on social media and digital communication. This is the first generation to grow up with these technologies, and they’re fascinated with doing everything via texting and social media, including starting and ending relationships.
Here are some of the critical reasons why teenagers might ghost:
- They’re afraid of conflict or rejection: It can be easier to simply disappear from someone’s life than to face them and deal with a difficult conversation. For example, if you’ve been dating someone and you suddenly lose interest, ghosting them can be easier than breaking up in person.
- They want to avoid hurting the other person’s feelings: They are no longer interested and invested in the relationship and genuinely believe that they are inflicting less pain by ghosting instead of being honest.
- They’re not ready for a relationship: Many adolescents are still trying to figure out who they are and what they want. As a result, they might not be ready for the commitment that comes with a close relationship.
- They are not aware of their feelings: They don’t know how they feel and would rather not work through their difficult emotions by simply ghosting the other person as well as their feelings and emotions.
- They’re inexperienced in relationships: Adolescents who are still learning how to date and be in a relationship are more likely to make mistakes, such as ghosting someone.
- They are not feeling safe: they don’t feel that they are provided with a safe space for an honest conversation.
- They are avoiding feelings of shame: They are aware that they are unable to meet your needs and are coping with their shame by withdrawing.
- Their boundaries are not respected: Many people ghost because their boundaries have been repeatedly violated (in which case ghosting may be the appropriate action).
The Emotional Effects of Ghosting
While ghosting might seem harmless to end a relationship, it can be detrimental to both parties involved. It can reactivate unhealed childhood traumas and bring up suppressed feelings of emotional abandonment for many people. Regardless matter how invested we are in the other person, being ghosted by them can leave us feeling emotionally hurt, upset, and rejected.
The person who is being ghosted is likely to feel:
Confusion: You might not understand why the other person has suddenly stopped talking to you.
Anxiety: If you were friends with the “ghoster,” you might start to worry about what has happened to them and if they’re okay.
Rejection: Ghosting can feel like a personal rejection and is very hurtful.
Anger: You might be angry with the person who has ghosted you for hurting you in this way.
If you’re the one doing the ghosting, you might feel:
Guilt: You might feel guilty for hurting the other person’s feelings.
Anxiety: You might worry about how the other person will react when they find out you’ve ghosted them.
Relief: If you were in a relationship, you no longer wanted to be in, ghosting could be a way to end it without dealing with the fallout.
How to Deal With Ghosting as a Teenager
If you are being ghosted, try not to take it personally. Someone ghosting you reflects poorly on them. Give yourself time to process the situation and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up. Tell yourself that their behaviour and failure to articulate their emotions is their problem, and it has nothing to do with your worthiness.
Try to think of it as a gift. This may be challenging, but it will be beneficial. Make this your mantra for the time being: ‘Thank you for revealing your emotional unavailability and lack of regard for me. I now see this was not the best decision for me.’ Make it the fuel that helps you to move on.
Talk about it. According to research, putting our sentiments into words reduces the intensity of our loss, anger, and sadness. This is one of the reasons why therapy works and why talking to friends and relatives may help us get through difficult situations – so keep talking or journaling until you feel better about this situation.
If you’re the one who did the ghosting, take some time to reflect on why you did it and how it made the other person feel. If you find that you’re struggling with guilt or anxiety, talking about it can also help.
What to do as a Parent if your teenager is ghosting:
If you’re a parent of a teen who is ghosting, there are things you can do to support them:
Ghosting isn’t always the best way out: Talk to your adolescent about why they’re doing it and offer other options, such as breaking up in person. Cutting them abruptly out of your life isn’t always the best solution.
Encourage healthy communication: Help your teenager to learn how to communicate effectively with others. This vital skill will serve them well in all areas of their life.
Teach respect: Talk to your teenager about the importance of respecting other people. Also, help them understand that ghosting someone is a way of disrespecting them and their feelings.
Accountability: Hold your teen accountable for their actions. Let them understand the consequences of their choices so they may think twice before ghosting someone again.
Always Be Kind: Remind them that it’s necessary to be respectful and considerate, even if the relationship is over.
If your teenager has been ghosted:
Talk to your teen about empathy and understanding. Just because someone has ghosted them, it doesn’t mean that they’re a bad person. It could be that the other person is going through something themselves and unable to maintain a relationship. Encourage your teen to think about how the other person might be feeling and not take it personally.
Ghosting is a common occurrence, especially among adolescents. It can be a painful experience for both parties involved. If you’re struggling to cope with being ghosted or the guilt of ghosting someone, consider talking to a therapist. A licensed mental health counsellor can help your teen to understand and process their feelings and difficult emotions.