Ghosting (the breakup method, not the act of becoming a discarnate soul that haunts old homes and enemies) tends to get a bad rap. On one hand, this is easy enough to understand. Considering that ghosting is a means of breaking up with someone by not actually breaking up with them at all, but instead simply cutting off all communication without warning or explanation, ghosting doesn’t have a lot of things going for it in terms of defense. It’s inconsiderate. It’s self-serving. It’s just rude, really, not to mention lazy–like, you couldn’t even manage a text? A tiny, baby breakup text?
If you’ve been ghosted, as I and legions of other people who have tried dating (or hooking up, or talking, or hanging out, or whatever) in today’s modern era have been, you’ll know that it sucks. Like, one moment they’re decidedly there–you’re texting, making plans to see a movie, liking each other’s stuff on Instagram, etc.–and then they’re just gone, like they were never even there in the first place, leaving you wondering what the heck you did to make them split like that.
And yet. Sometimes, you do need to be a little self-serving–composing that breakup text or speech is a lot harder from the other side, after all, and it might not always be worth all the effort. So, while in most cases, you should Do The Right Thing, gird your loins, and withstand the objective discomfort of breaking up with someone, there are a few exceptions. Here are the ways to tell that you actually should ghost someone:
They Did Something Objectively HorribleIf they know what they did is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of them--like stealing your money, skipping your birthday party so they could hang out with another girl, sleeping with your best friend, etc.--and the though of ever having to speak to them makes you want to extract your brain through your nose with a syringe, you are certainly given a ghosting pass. Charlize Theron famously ghosted Sean Penn this past summer, and as Jesebel's Stassa Edwards noted when reporting the breakup, "Ghosting might be the sh*ttiest breakup method, but generally a person worthy of ghosting has really done something really, truly terrible." It's true! Basically, if you feel certain that you don't owe this person anything, you probably don't. Just ghost. Image source:iStock
It's An On-Again-Off-Again ThingOr, if you are definitely together, but it's, like, the fourth time you've been official with this person after breaking up and getting back together multiple times, the best thing to do might be to just cut off communication. Chances are, you're both entrapped in a relationship that makes both of you feel bad and neither of you knows how to end--plus, you already know that an official breakup hasn't done you much good in the past, so it might be more beneficial for both of you to just ghost. Image source:iStock
You Aren't Official Enough To Break UpThink about how you'd feel if they sat you down and told you that they were breaking up with you. I mean, you'd probably be relieved, considering that if you're thinking about ghosting them, you most likely just want it to be over. But beyond that, would the breakup feel...presumptuous? Like, dude, we aren't even dating dating, what makes you think that you can break up with me? If so, you can probably ghost. Do keep in mind that what you see as something totally casual might feel more serious to them, though, so just be aware of this. Image source:iStock
Something Already Happened To End ItMaybe you had a fight with your one-time paramour that, even after a cooling-off period, has left you convinced that you don't want to continue the relationship. You could officially end things, but chances are good that they probably get it, too--if they're texting you a lot, you can be courteous and officially cut things off, but if there's silence on both ends, there's no need to do so. Image source:iStock
They're About To Ghost YouIf you're getting the sense that the person you're talking with is pulling away--you always have to text first, their communication is reserved to one-word text bubbles, your requests to hang out are met with a vague "I'll see what I have going on that night--beat them to the chase and ghost them first. If it turns out they were invested, and just had something weird going on, they'll text you back. Otherwise, preemptively ghosting someone who's about to ghost on you will save you a lot of hurt. Image source:iStock
They Won't Get The Point OtherwiseSometimes, ghosting is literally the only way. If you aren't really feeling someone anymore, and your attempts to end things haven't been absorbed--like, they keep texting, and keep calling, and keep asking you to "send pics"--you are permitted to ghost. If someone can't take a hint, this is a good way to stop making it a "hint" and instead more of a "fact." Image source:iStock
Confrontation Would End BadlyIf you know that a confrontation would end very badly--like, resulting in anything from emotional to physical abuse--you don't have to undergo it. This shouldn't have to be a problem, of course but for some people it is, so if you're legitimately scared that something bad might happen to you if you go for a conventional breakup, don't do it. It's okay. Image source:iStock
What do you think about ghosting? Do you think it’s ever okay to do? Let us know in the comments!