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Ghosting refers to the act of abruptly cutting off all communication and contact with someone, typically in the context of a relationship or social interaction, without any explanation or warning.
While ghosting is often a way to avoid people we don’t want to interact with not, it is not uncommon for people to ghost someone they actually like.
There can be various reasons for this behavior, often related to personal fears, insecurities, or uncertainties.
Here are a few potential reasons why you might ghost someone you have feelings for:
Fear of Vulnerability
Getting close to other people and expressing romantic feelings can feel scary, especially if you find it challenging to open up emotionally.
You might have an avoidant attachment style or have difficulties with emotional intimacy.
Being emotionally vulnerable can be overwhelming, so you might choose to ghost someone simply because you’re unsure how to navigate your feelings.
“People often ghost when the weight of commitment begins to settle in. Being routinely bound by their partner’s expectations of them can make them claustrophobic and they ultimately bolt.”Dr. Fatima Mukhtar, Clinical Researcher
If you’re unsure about your own feelings or the other person’s feelings, you might choose to ghost rather than confront the uncertainty and potential awkwardness.
When you’re uncertain about your feelings for someone, you might experience a mix of attraction, anxiety, and doubt. Expressing uncertainty can be difficult, so you might choose to pull away to protect yourself (and the other person) from potential emotional pain.
If you have a natural aversion to conflict and find confrontation to be extremely uncomfortable, you may ghost someone to sidestep having an uncomfortable conversation.
Ghosting can appear easier than facing a potentially emotional or difficult confrontation because it requires less effort than discussing problems openly.
You can avoid dealing with the person’s reaction and ignore the consequences without having to address it directly.
“Some people hate confrontations and struggle with finding closure, leaving quietly on their own terms gives them a sense of control and closure.”Dr. Fatima Mukhtar, Clinical Researcher
Past traumas, especially if they involved rejection or abandonment, can intensify the fear of being rejected again. Ghosting might feel like a way to protect yourself from potential emotional pain.
Additionally, past traumatic experiences can erode your trust in others. If you have been betrayed or hurt before, you might find it challenging to open up and communicate openly with a new partner.
By pulling away, you might believe that you’re avoiding the risk of getting hurt.
It could also be the case that people with an anxious attachment style may be more prone to ghosting:
“People with anxious attachment subconsciously look for an exit, having an exit plan puts them at ease but when they enter a relationship that seems too definitive they often end up disappearing altogether.”Dr. Fatima Mukhtar, Clinical Researcher
Timing and Life Circumstances
In some cases, there might be external factors that affect your ability to engage in a relationship or maintain communication. You might have personal challenges, major life transitions, or external priorities that lead you to temporarily step back from relationships.
How to Apologize for Ghosting Someone
Effective communication is essential in building healthy, honest relationships. If you find yourself ghosting someone you like, you should acknowledge the impact your actions might have had on them and apologize.
Before you get in touch with them, consider the following advice:
Reflect on Your Behavior
Take some time to reflect on why you ghosted and what led to your decision. Why did you feel the need to end the communication between you two? What made you decide to ghost them instead of talking to them openly about how you were feeling?
Understanding your reasons will help you communicate more effectively.
Plan Your Approach
Depending on your relationship with the person and your comfort level, choose an approach that feels appropriate. Do you want to meet them in person, send a text, write an email, or call them on the phone?
Consider the timing of the conversation and make sure to choose your words carefully.
Be Honest and Apologetic
Begin by accepting responsibility and expressing genuine remorse for your actions. You should apologize sincerely for the pain and confusion you might have caused them.
Explaining your reasons for ghosting can provide context and help the person understand your perspective; however, you should avoid making excuses or shifting blame onto external factors.
Clearly state your apology and that you want to make amends for the hurt you caused. Use language like “I’m truly sorry for ghosting you” or “I apologize for disappearing without explanation.”
Give Them Space
Once you have apologized, give the person space to process your message. They might need time to decide how they want to respond. Or they might have mixed emotions or questions about your apology.
If the person is open to it, you can engage in a conversation about what happened. Be open to answering their questions and addressing their concerns.
Learn From the Experience
Reflecting on what led you to ghost in the first place and understanding the impact it had on both you and the other person can help you grow as an individual and avoid making the same mistake in the future.
You can use this as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and focus on improving your communication skills going forward.
Try to make a commitment to yourself to handle similar situations differently in the future.
Effective communication is essential in building healthy relationships. If you find yourself feeling tempted to ghost again, consider taking a step back to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned.
This article was edited by Julia Simkus.