If you are unfamiliar with the term “Ghosting” it means: the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly, and without explanation, withdrawing from all communication. Translation – maybe you’re just an asshole.
I first heard about ghosting from my girlfriends who had been out on a date (or two) with someone they met on Tinder. The storylines from each encounter were typically the same – swipe right, match, begin chatting, meet in person, continue chatting, meet again, continue chatting, radio silence, one sided communication, radio silence, encounter complete.
Sometimes fuck boys would come around for months and then my girlfriends would never hear from them again. Only to then play detective by creeping their Instagram and discover that the guy was dating someone else.
In other cases ghosts would resurrect themselves expecting to re-engage without consequence. Unfortunately for them, my girlfriends told them exactly where they could go – and sent them scampering off, tail between their legs.
Friends have chosen to be nonchalant about the ghosting, brushing it off and making comments like “it’s fine if he never speaks to me again, it was only one date, he doesn’t owe me anything” but I disagree. If you are able to engage in conversation, coordinate and participate in a date and then decide you are not interested in that person (for whatever reason), you are also capable of telling the person you’re not interested in in taking it any further. How hard is it to text “It was lovely meeting you but I don’t feel a connection. All the best, Bye.” This is about the same amount of effort as “What are you wearing right now? Send nudes.”
I read a post on LinkedIn recently from a recruiter who had been noticing the act of ghosting becoming a behaviour in professional settings. A complete contradiction, to ghost a job interview, job, or anything job related is one of the most unprofessional things a person can do.
There is an unspoken expectation and obligation in the professional world, so why do millennials think they are exempt from providing two weeks notice or giving notice to a recruiter that they are no longer able or interested in a career opportunity?
The book “The Coddling of the American Mind” speaks about University students protesting against guest speakers who challenge their bubble wrapped existence. In some cases, the protesting has turned violent, students who disagree with their professors controversial subjects have been sworn at, and had items thrown at them, by their students.
Students are not interested in hearing anyone lecture about the real world, they want to exist in their safe space, and when that space is rattled, the millennial becomes so threatened, so frightened, instead of facing the confrontation with conversation, they lash out or disappear altogether.
Ghosting is a social epidemic that has created a separation between millennials and society as a whole. There is a conflict in how we communicate with one another. There is a distinct difference between how older generations and newer ones choose to exist.
Realistically, acting aggressively or avoiding anyone and anything that looks and feels different from you is not actually a way to exist, or more importantly co-exist.
If we continue to allow behaviours like ghosting, the millennial generation will be unable to prepare themselves for the real world – where there are challenges, differences and confrontation.
Which brings me to my point – Ghosting is never ok.
Ghosting represents who you are as a person.
Are you confident? Are you emotionally intelligent? Are you open minded? Are you respectful?
Or are you mannerless, cowardly, selfish and rude?
Folks who ghost also need to know it hurts peoples’ feelings. If it doesn’t hurt peoples’ feelings then that in itself is sad because why would anyone think being treating so rudely is acceptable?
We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We need to be accountable for our feelings, decisions and behaviour. If you don’t feel a love connection, if you agree to a job but then decide it’s not for you, if you want to quit your job, that is OK but, there is a level of effort and responsibility that goes into addressing these situations. That is how to be an adult, that is life.
Ghosting is pretending life is not happening and choosing the act of avoidance.
There is nothing healthy, emotionally mature, respectful or OK about choosing to behave that way.
Learning new behaviours may be hard and uncomfortable, but working through the yuck, to come out on the other side will make you stronger and add character.
In conclusion I will leave you with these parting words:
The next time you want to pull the proverbial blankets over your head and hide from the world, tell yourself this instead: Get Up, Show Up and Do the Right Thing.
You will be a better person for it. You will contribute to breaking the barriers between generations, and you will be a leader in transforming change.
Choose to eliminate unacceptable social norms and instead invent culture within your generation that you can be proud of.
Be a legend.
Your Future Self.