How To Tell If He's Ghosting You Or If The Excuse He Made Not To Hang Out Is Legit
I once had a guy continuously cancel on me over and over again, and I couldn't figure out why.
Sometimes, he said it was work, and other times, he said it was family stuff. But other times, he gave no real reason at all.
Dude, if you don't like me, just let me know!
Well, it turned out, he did like me, but he was going through some pretty serious life stuff at the time that he didn't feel the need to burden me with. Once it blew over, he made himself readily available, and I knew for sure I wasn't being ghosted .
Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell if a guy is ghosting you, or if his excuses not to hang out are actually legit. So I asked the Professional Wingman and creator of Fearless Dating , Thomas Edwards, for some clues as to how to spot the difference.
Is the way he talks to you changing?
Edwards says that while it can be confusing to figure out if you're being ghosted , the first step to figuring it out is by simplifying the conversation and looking for subtle differences in tone, rate, or other cues.
"If he's ghosting, it starts with his response rate being dramatically slower. Usually, his responses go from longer to much shorter, to even one word," Edwards says. "Further, since you've spent enough time with him to know his tone and language enough, you might even notice a lack of enthusiasm in his words."
This means if your guy was super chatty and attentive before, and you find that his energy and personality are quite different now, it's a good sign that he might be ghosting you.
What kind of excuses is his making?
"After having spent some time with him, you may have an idea of how he describes things. If he's giving an excuse and the detail seems too elaborate, there's a chance he's blowing you off," Edwards explains.
Guys usually aren't huge fans of "complexity," according to Edwards, so if his excuses are legit, they'll usually be simple.
"If something happened and he had to bail on hanging out with you, there's a simple reason he'll be more than willing to share," he says.
When people are lying, they tend to make up overly dramatic and complicated stories that usually don't make a lot of sense or have large, gaping plot holes. You can't hang out on Friday because you have to go to outer space? With your grandma? For a family reunion? Which you found out about an hour ago? Um, OK!
If a guy honestly needs to reschedule, he'll be short, too the point, and not dramatic about it, because he knows he'll be seeing you again soon. But if he's ghosting you , you might get a novel of an excuse, and then never hear from him again.
So if you think the guy you've been seeing might be ghosting you, take out this handy dandy guide and try to figure it out.
Ghosting or Just Busy? How to Tell the Signs Apart
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re eagerly waiting for a response from someone, only to be left wondering if they’re ghosting you or just busy? It’s a common dilemma in our digital age, where communication is often fast-paced and non-stop.
Ghosting, which refers to the sudden and unexplained ending of communication, can leave you feeling confused and hurt. But sometimes, the other person genuinely might be too busy to reply. So how can you tell the signs apart? That’s where we come in. In this article, we’ll explore the subtle differences between ghosting and being genuinely busy, and provide you with practical tips on how to distinguish between the two.
We’ll cover everything from the red flags of ghosting to the “signs of ghosting,” so you can gain clarity and avoid unnecessary worry. By the end of this article, you’ll have the tools to confidently navigate the world of communication and take control of your relationships. So let’s dive in!
Signs of Ghosting: How to Recognize When Someone is Avoiding You
Have you ever been left hanging after sending a message or making plans with someone? It’s possible that you’ve been ghosted. Ghosting is a term used to describe the act of suddenly cutting off all communication with someone without any explanation or warning. This can leave the person on the receiving end feeling confused and hurt.
Here are some signs of ghosting to look out for:
1. No response to messages:
One of the earliest signs of ghosting is when someone suddenly stops responding to your messages or calls. This can be especially confusing and frustrating if they were previously responsive. You might be left wondering what went wrong, whether you did something to upset them, or if they’re simply too busy to respond. Unfortunately, this behavior can be a sign that they are ghosting you, and it’s important to recognize that it’s not your fault. While it can be difficult to accept, the best course of action is to respect their decision and move on.
2. Disappearing without warning:
Ghosting can be especially hurtful when someone suddenly disappears without any explanation or notice. This can leave you feeling rejected, confused, and even angry. It’s important to remember that their behavior is not a reflection of your worth or value as a person. While it’s natural to want closure or an explanation, sometimes people just don’t have the courage or decency to provide one. Try to focus on your own well-being and surround yourself with supportive friends and family.
3. Delayed or inconsistent responses:
Another sign of ghosting is when someone who was previously responsive suddenly starts taking a long time to reply, or their responses are short and inconsistent. This behavior can be especially confusing, as it’s not as clear-cut as simply not responding at all. However, it’s important to recognize that this behavior is a way of distancing themselves from you. While it can be tempting to try and reach out more frequently or ask them what’s going on, it’s usually best to take a step back and give them space.
4. Cancelled plans:
Ghosting can also involve cancelling plans at the last minute or without a valid reason. This can be especially frustrating if you’ve made plans in advance and were looking forward to spending time together. If someone consistently cancels plans with you or gives excuses for not being able to meet up, it’s possible that they are ghosting you. While it’s natural to feel disappointed or hurt, it’s important to remember that their behavior is not a reflection of your worth or value. Instead, try to focus on spending time with people who value and respect your time.
5. Avoiding social media:
In today’s world, social media has become a significant aspect of our lives. If someone you know suddenly stops responding to your messages or calls and also avoids interacting with you on social media, it could be a sign that they are trying to ghost you. This behavior can indicate that they are intentionally avoiding any further contact with you.
While it can be difficult to accept, it’s important to remember that everyone has their reasons for behaving this way. It’s possible that they may be going through something in their personal life, or perhaps they have simply lost interest in maintaining a relationship with you. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to respect their decision and not force yourself upon them.
6. Unexplained changes in behavior:
If someone you know suddenly becomes distant or uncommunicative, it could be a sign that they are ghosting you. This behavior can be confusing and hurtful, especially if they were previously friendly and engaging. It’s important to keep in mind that people’s behavior can change for many reasons, and it may not always be related to you.
While it can be tempting to try and figure out what caused the sudden change in behavior, it’s important to remember that you can’t control other people’s actions. The best thing you can do is give them space and respect their decision.
7. Lack of interest in your life:
If someone who was previously interested in your life suddenly stops asking about your day or your plans, they may be ghosting you. This behavior can be hurtful, as it can feel like they no longer care about your well-being or your relationship.
While it’s natural to feel upset about this kind of behavior, it’s important to remember that relationships are a two-way street. It’s possible that they may be going through something in their life that is causing them to withdraw. If this is the case, it may be helpful to reach out and offer support.
8. Refusal to make plans:
If someone consistently avoids making plans with you or gives vague excuses, they may be ghosting you. This behavior can be frustrating, as it can feel like they are not interested in spending time with you.
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone has different priorities and schedules. It’s possible that they may genuinely be busy or have other commitments. However, if this behavior persists, it may be time to have an honest conversation with them about the state of your relationship.
9. Ignoring your attempts to contact them:
It can be hurtful and confusing when someone you’ve been trying to reach out to suddenly stops responding. This behavior, commonly known as ghosting, can make you feel like you did something wrong or that the other person doesn’t care about you. However, it’s important to remember that ghosting is not a reflection of your worth as a person.
There could be a number of reasons why someone is ghosting you. Maybe they’re going through a tough time and need space, or they’re simply not interested in pursuing a relationship or friendship with you. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to respect their decision and move on. Don’t take their silence as a personal attack and don’t blame yourself for their behavior. Focus on surrounding yourself with people who value and appreciate you for who you are.
10. Inconsistency in communication:
Have you ever had someone you talk to regularly suddenly start to become inconsistent with their communication? This can be frustrating and confusing, especially when you don’t know what’s causing the change. In some cases, inconsistency in communication can be a sign of ghosting.
It’s important to remember that this is not your fault. You can’t control how other people choose to communicate with you. It’s possible that the person is dealing with personal issues or just busy with other things. However, if the inconsistency in communication persists, it’s important to have a conversation with the person and express your concerns. If they’re unwilling to communicate with you or make an effort to improve the situation, it may be time to consider moving on from the relationship or friendship. Remember, your time and energy are valuable and should be spent on people who value and appreciate them.
What should I do if I think someone is ghosting me?
If you think someone may be ghosting you, it’s important to confront the issue head-on. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are ghosting you in a direct and honest way. If they don’t want to talk about it, it could be a sign that something is wrong and they may just need some space or distance from the situation.
Is it ever okay to ghost someone?
No, it’s never okay to ghost someone. Ghosting is an act of avoidance and can be damaging for both parties involved. If you need some space or distance from a situation, then the best thing to do is communicate this with the other person in a respectful way. This way, the other person can understand where you’re coming from and there is less chance of any hurt feelings.
In conclusion, it can be difficult to tell the difference between ghosting and being busy. However, by paying attention to certain clues such as responses to messages, telephone conversations, overall lack of communication and other signs you can determine if your partner is ghosting or just too busy. Communication is key when it comes to relationships so make sure to express your thoughts and feelings to your partner in order to keep the relationship healthy. With open communication, you can easily tell if someone is ghosting or just too busy for you.
Olivia Brown is a seasoned expert in relationships and dating, with over 10 years of experience in the field. She has helped countless couples and individuals navigate the complexities of love and relationships, and has a passion for helping people find meaningful and fulfilling connections.
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Fling or Love
Is He Ghosting Me or Just Busy?
You’ve got that lingering feeling that the guy you like has decided to POOF into the night. With ghosting becoming a normal tactic in modern dating, it’s not surprising that you’re a little nervous that you may have been ghosted.
Up to now, you’ve hit it off. But, he’s been slow to respond to the last few messages you sent, and now it’s been at least 24 hours since you’ve heard from him. You’re freaking out.
Don’t panic quite yet.
How can you tell if you’re being paranoid or if it’s a real, live (or gone) ghost situation? There are some signs to look out for to know if you’ve been ghosted.
So, is he ghosting me, or just busy?
Do you want to know? Let’s check it out.
How to know if he’s ghosting
It seems like it should be obvious, but it’s really not. You should know if someone is blowing you off, right? Well, it’s often not that simple.
Every relationship is different, and each person has different screen habits. Some people are more “text active” than others.
Figuring out what’s the norm for your new crush is important so that you don’t send yourself into a ghost spiral every couple of days.
So, how to know if he’s just busy or if he’s pulling a vanishing act? Here are some things to look out for.
Text quality and quantity
Okay, we all know the saying: quality is better than quantity. I’ll venture to say that proves true in the magical world of texting as well. Although, I’m sure there are others out there who may disagree with me on that.
How often is this guy texting you? Is he waiting days to respond to a message? And what are his responses like? One word? Or is it just a cute little voice note? These things make a difference.
Most of us have jobs that require us to be in front of a screen all day. It makes sense that a lot of people try to limit their screen time when off the job.
If I’m seeing someone, the occasional coy, flirtatious message coupled with plans to meet up again is fine with me.
Some people love to message all day long with their crush. I do not. However, I don’t want to be left on read for days on end either. You’re going to have to get a feel for the texting habits of your new dating interest on this one.
What’s their texting norm? Has it changed from when you first met? Or has it been consistent?
If he’s giving infrequent and terse answers, something is probably off. If he waits a day or two to respond but sends a lovely message, then he’s still interested.
You will know if the frequency or text quality has changed. If it has, that’s probably a sign that this person may be on the verge of ghosting you.
Change in communication
This one goes hand in hand with our last one. Did this guy normally text you nonstop and has now gone silent? Or does he wait days to respond? Something is off.
At the beginning of a relationship, it may make sense to be a bit more communicative. Sparks have flown, and things are new and exciting. Often, as the relationship continues and you feel more secure with each other, the messaging may calm down or fall into a routine.
That’s normal. It’s not normal to be exchanging messages with a new guy and have him stop responding mid-conversation.
Maybe he’s not a big texter but had previously sent you “quality” messages every couple of days. Did those change to one-word texts? Again, something is up here.
It seems as though this guy is preparing to bail.
If your new guy was previously very caring, loving, or responsive, and now there’s been a shift in that, then he’s probably about to ghost. People will often give signs that something is off before they bail completely.
If the communication has switched from hot to cold, prepare yourself for what may come.
Extravagant excuses or no explanations
If either of these things is happening, things aren’t looking great for the future of this new attraction. Neither long-winded, dramatic excuses nor zero explanations are a good thing to have coming your way.
So, you guys made plans to see each other again after a promising first date. On the day of those plans, you get a barrage of texts from him. His niece’s friend’s dog has a new rare disease that can only be treated by one veterinarian in a different state. He’s the only one who can take them.
Or maybe it’s a different scenario. You had discussed texting to make plans after what you deemed a great first date. When you reach out a couple of days later, he says he can’t get together. And that’s all.
There’s a sweet spot that I like to call the truth. It seems like the guys in neither of these scenarios are going to be in a steady dating relationship. Too much or too little are going to be red flags. Keep an eye out for both.
Canceled plans with no reschedule
Let’s say one of the last two texting scenarios happened to you, but the guy actually made a plan to reschedule your meeting. And it really happened. You’re probably out of the ghosting danger zone.
However, if your guy is canceling plans with no promise of rescheduling, then he’s on his way out.
He could be busy, sure. But, he should tell you that. Maybe a “Sorry to have to cancel, but things are crazy at work right now. I’d love to see you again, but when things have calmed down on my work end.” Still very non-committal, and I definitely wouldn’t wait on this guy, but a courteous cancellation at least.
If you had plans with someone, they bailed, and now you haven’t heard from them, then they are probably not very interested in seeing you again. They’ve already gone half-transparent and have one foot out of the ghosting door.
Let them leave. That’s their loss.
How long before our busy guy is considered a ghost?
This is a tricky question. Some people lead crazy, busy lives. If your life isn’t like that, then it may be difficult for you to understand.
My life is pretty chill. I write. I craft. I dance. I meet up with friends. I go on dates. But, I’m pretty much only responsible for myself, and I decide what I want to do each day. Sure, I have responsibilities, but they’re minimal because I’ve decided to live that way.
I’ve dated men with kids, various businesses, big families who live nearby, constant work travel obligations, etc. They have a totally different lifestyle than me. That can lead to some confusion with expectations on the dating and communication front.
Some people are busy but still interested. Some people aren’t interested and are ghosting. How to tell the difference? Use the tips above, but if you’re still unsure, do a little time check.
The consensus on the internet seems to be that after three days, it’s considered ghosting. That seems pretty soon to me, depending on the guy and how the communication has been up to that point.
If you’ve found yourself an infrequent texter (my personal favorite, honestly), then give them a little more leeway. Maybe a week or so before you decide they’ve vanished forever.
However, if they’ve been pretty consistent with texting, and then they go silent, the three-day rule is probably a good one to follow.
A guy can be busy and a ghost at the same time. Being busy is not an excuse to ghost you or to be inconsiderate with your feelings or time.
If a guy has a lot going on, he should tell you that. Period. That way, you can adjust your expectations and either accept it or decide that dating that “busy guy” just isn’t for you.
If he’s too busy to send a message, saying he’s busy, then he’s just not interested. Dating won’t be a priority for him. If you’re wanting more from your dating relationships, then this guy is never going to give it to you—ghost or not.
Try not to jump to conclusions about a new guy. I know, we’re all on the lookout for ghosts, but give this new person a chance.
Get a vibe about their norm in communication. If it works for you, great. If it makes you paranoid and insecure, then let the relationship go. Your emotional stability and well-being are the most important things.
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.
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What Is Ghosting?
When a Friend or Romantic Interest Disappears Without Explanation
Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.
Verywell / Catherine Song
- Increased Use
- Why It Happens
- How to Cope
- Why You Shouldn't Ghost
Alternatives to Ghosting Someone
- Is It Ever OK?
Ghosting is a relatively new colloquial dating term that refers to abruptly cutting off contact with someone without giving that person any warning or explanation for doing so.
Even when the person being ghosted reaches out to re-initiate contact or gain closure, they’re met with silence. As you can see, it’s called ghosting because it involves someone essentially “vanishing” into thin air as if they were a ghost.
The term is generally used in reference to a romantic relationship, but it can technically refer to any scenario where contact unexpectedly ceases, including friendships and family relationships.
Signs of Ghosting
Ghosting is often obvious, but it can also be a gradual process. The other person might start by 'soft ghosting,' where they progressively minimize contact over a period of time. Some early signs that someone might be ghosting you include:
- They regularly bail out on plans to get together
- They struggle to make commitments
- They don't like to share personal information
- They don't want you to meet their friends or family
- They disappear from social media
- They rarely respond to your texts or calls
- Your conversations with them lack depth, and they seem disinterested
If you have made repeated efforts to contact someone and they won't respond, it is a strong indicator that you've been ghosted.
Ghosting can also occur on social media. It involves cutting off all social media contact with another person without explanation. The other person may unfriend, unfollow, or even block you on all social media platforms. They may even go so far as to deactivate or delete their social accounts to prevent all contact.
The History of Ghosting
The term "ghosting" became mainstream about seven years ago alongside the surge in online dating ; it became an official entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2017 . Interestingly, though, the term was actually used as far back as the 1990s. Some pop culture writers and scholars have even used the term to describe ghostwriting in hip-hop music.
Bree Jenkins, LMFT
The word ‘ghosting’ gained popularity long before  via ‘90s hip-hop, often in the sense of escaping.
Though a new term, the act of ghosting existed well before the digital age. “I think references of ‘going for a loaf of bread and never coming back’ are examples of ghosting," says Bree Jenkins, LMFT , a dating coach in Los Angeles, Calif. "Ghosting used to be leaving a person and moving away or not leaving [them with] your contact information—its earlier origins are even the simple act of leaving a party or social gathering without notice and goodbyes.”
How the Term Became Popular
So why did the term “ghosting” become mainstream just within the last decade? The argument is that online dating has simply made it way easier to ghost people.
With the higher frequency of ghosting instances, and with more people who could relate/understand being ghosted or doing the ghosting, the term was widely adopted.
Why Do Some People Choose to Ghost?
Ghosting is often seen as an immature or passive-aggressive way to end a relationship. In other instances, it may even be a form of emotional abuse.
There are two primary reasons why a person ghosts another, and often it's a combination of the two.
It's the Easy Route
The first is that some find it's way easier (in the short-term, anyway) to ghost someone than to have an awkward, uncomfortable heart-to-heart about why you’re not interested in maintaining contact.
The person doing the ghosting often wants to avoid confrontation or dealing with someone else’s hurt feelings, so they simply cease all communication and hope the hint is delivered.
Option Overload and Fatigue
“With internet dating comes what may seem like infinite choices as opposed to walking into a bar and having limited options," explains Margaret Seide, MD , a board-certified psychiatrist based in New York City.
"Because there are so many choices, online daters are quick to have the ‘OK, next’ or the ‘Yeah, but what else?’ mindset," says Seide. "Sometimes the person is nice enough, but is juggling a few other people and that person just didn’t make the cut.”
There are also other reasons why people ghost, including being fearful of the other person's reaction to rejection.
How Ghosting Can Impact the Ghosted
As you can imagine (or know from personal experience), ghosting can have a real psychological impact on the person who’s being ghosted.
It’s almost like sudden loss [or] grief, especially the first time you’ve ever been ghosted. You are shocked, and you’re in denial, thinking things such as ‘maybe they didn’t see my text.’ Then you feel anger.
Jenkins adds, “Next, the feelings of depression [can] kick in along with feelings of poor self-esteem as you mentally reexamine your relationship and last conversation for possible warning signs."
Ghosting is inherently ambiguous because there is a lack of explanation for why the relationship ended. For the person who has been ghosted, it can lead to significant feelings of rejection, guilt, grief, and shame.
A person who has been ghosted may be left wondering what this type of behavior says about them, but it is important to remember that ghosting says more about the person who cuts off contact than the person who is ghosted.
Working Through Grief After Being Ghosted
The grief cycle may not run that exact course, but being ghosted often triggers a flood of ranging emotions. Thoughts of ‘Not only did the person not want to date me, but I wasn’t even deserving of an explanation’ can make someone feel dehumanized and devalued.
It’s often more painful when it’s a relationship that’s marinated a bit, but the ghosted person can also feel this way if it was a new connection. It can take some time to work through the pain, but with acceptance the person being ghosted can move on.
To gain closure in a situation where you feel you’ve been ghosted, Meide says it can help to send a message by saying something like, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a while. I’m not sure what happened, but I don’t want to continue pursuing this. My time is valuable and I don’t want to leave this door open. Best of luck with things.” While the ghoster may not respond, it can help provide closure.
How Ghosting Can Impact the Ghoster
Ghosting doesn't just impact the ghosted; it also is a detriment to the ghoster. The bottom line here is that ghosting is either a passive aggressive way to end a relationship, or it is the “easy way out.” Either way, it’s not doing the ghoster any favors in their ability to communicate with others.
“Ghosting doesn't take into account how you affect other people and it makes it easier for the person to dip out or disengage when things get uncomfortable. There’s no way to have a healthy, long-term relationship without being able to work through problems and use your communication skills,” says Jenkins.
Jenkins adds that ghosters create unhealthy problem-solving patterns for themselves, and that they also contribute to a larger pattern of societal flakiness that increases their chances of being ghosted as well.
Avoiding the easy route of ghosting someone will benefit both parties. Meide says that the best thing you can do when ending a relationship , however long or short, is to treat the other person as you’d like to be treated.
“I usually suggest two spoons of sugar with the medicine in the middle for delivery,” Meide says. “It can sound something like ‘Hey, you seem like a really great catch, but I don’t feel it’s working between us. I respect your time and just wanted to be honest. Warm regards and take care.’
"Or, ‘Hi—it’s been cool getting to know you, but I’ve decided to take a break from dating and don’t want to waste your time or be dishonest. Best of luck with everything.’"
These messages are short, sweet, honest, and end with an outro to signal that you don’t want to have a long and drawn out conversation. It’s possible that you may get a negative or hurt reaction from the other person, but it’s far better to exit the relationship after giving an explanation than to ghost completely.
Is Ghosting Someone Ever OK?
In many cases, ghosting is considered a rude route to take when trying not to talk to someone anymore, or especially when ending a more serious or established relationship. However, there are most definitely exceptions—when further communication can be a bad thing or even potentially unsafe.
Situations in which ghosting can make sense is if you find out the person is married or in a relationship , participating in illegal or unsavory behaviors, or if they display toxic traits. In such cases, you do not owe that person an explanation for abruptly ending the relationship.
If you are uncomfortable or feel threatened by someone in any way, remember it's best to follow your gut instinct. You may simply have a bad feeling. In cases like this, you don't need to prove that this person "deserved" to be ghosted—ghosting might be a useful mode of self-protection and peace of mind.
If you feel your best interest would be to completely cut off contact with the person in question, don't let your feelings of guilt keep you from doing what's right for you and what will ultimately keep you safe.
A Word From Verywell
Ghosting has become more commonplace in the digital age, but just because something is easy or common doesn’t mean it’s always the ideal route to take. Consider how ghosting might impact both parties and do your best to treat others with kindness and honesty. If you’re the person who’s been ghosted, it’s OK to feel confused, sad, and angry. Sending a quick note to end the relationship yourself can help you regain a sense of power and confidence in yourself and give you closure.
However, if you feel threatened or deeply uncomfortable by someone, you don't owe them anything. Sometimes ghosting, when used thoughtfully, can be a healthy mode of self-protection and removing yourself from a potentially bad situation.
Navarro R, Larrañaga E, Yubero S, Víllora B. Psychological Correlates of Ghosting and Breadcrumbing Experiences: A Preliminary Study among Adults . Int J Environ Res Public Health . 2020;17(3):1116. doi:10.3390/ijerph17031116
Anderson HE. No Bitin’ Allowed: A Hip-Hop Copying Paradigm for All of Us . 2011.
Vilhauer J. When Is It OK to Ghost Someone ? Psychology Today . 2019.
By Wendy Rose Gould Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.
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How to Respond to Ghosting
Last Updated: February 4, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Sarah Schewitz, PsyD . Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist by the California Board of Psychology with over 10 years of experience. She received her Psy.D. from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2011. She is the founder of Couples Learn, an online psychology practice helping couples and individuals improve and change their patterns in love and relationships. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 228,029 times.
Whether your romantic interest or friend is ignoring you, being ghosted always hurts. Don’t beat yourself up if your calls and texts start going unanswered. Try to stay calm, and avoid pleading for an explanation or sending angry messages. If an online dating match or casual acquaintance blew you off, don't sweat the small stuff. If someone closer intentionally ignores you, it can really hurt. Give yourself time to grieve.
Discovering You’ve Been Ghosted
- Not knowing why they won’t respond is maddening, but it's better to cool off before saying something you'll regret or jumping to conclusions.
- Many people find ghosting acceptable in some circumstances. For example, if a match on a dating app starts ignoring your messages, your best bet is to brush it off and forget about it.
Sarah Schewitz, PsyD
Ask for closure if it's important to you. Love and relationship psychologist Dr. Sarah Schewitz says: "If you went on one date and you don't talk to the person again, it's no big deal. They're basically saying, 'I'm not interested,' but they didn't have the courage to say it to your face. If you were dating for a month, though, you might send a text saying something like, 'Hey, I don't know what happened or why you're not talking to me anymore. I would really appreciate a conversation for some closure.'"
- You could check their social media profile and see if they’re posting pictures or statuses. Keep in mind you shouldn’t obsess over their posts for hours. Just do a quick check.
- If you both have a mutual friend, you could ask them if the person who’s ignoring you is okay.
- If you think the person might be depressed or going through an emotional struggle, you could write them a message and say, “I haven’t heard from you in a while, and I hope you’re okay. I know you’re going through a tough time, and I’m here for you.”
- As much as it hurts, do your best to stop making excuses for them or holding out hope that they’ll eventually respond.
- If they do try to contact you in the future, use your best judgment. If they apologize and explain that they had a lot going on, they might not have had bad intentions.
Moving Past the Pain
- Even if you just went on 1 date, it’s still okay to grieve. Getting rejected is tough under any circumstances, and bottling up your feelings won’t do you any good.
- Focus on the fact that you dodged a bullet. It's better to be ghosted after 1 or 2 dates than to waste weeks or months with someone that's not right for you. If a long-term friend or partner starts intentionally ignoring you for no reason, it might be a good thing that they're out of your life.  X Research source
- Call a loved one and say, “All of a sudden, Sam isn’t returning my calls or texts. I thought it was going well, but I’ve definitely been ghosted. Can we meet up for a coffee? I’m pretty bummed, and I could use a friend right now.”
- Avoid skipping meals or loading up on sweets. Eat nutritious foods, such as fruits and veggies, healthy proteins (such as poultry or fish), whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Do your best to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Outdoor exercise can be especially helpful, so go for brisk walks, jogs, or bike rides.
- Try taking a class or joining a club related to one of your interests. You could join a gardening club, sign up for an informal sports league, or take a cooking class.
- Remind yourself that life is full of both joy and pain. You’ll face obstacles in the future, but refusing to put yourself out there is no way to live.
Learning from the Experience
- Remember to stay positive instead of finding ways to blame yourself. Practice constructive self-criticism, such as, “I put more effort into making plans than they did, and should avoid similar situations in the future.”
- Again, don’t get down on yourself as you think about warning signs that went unnoticed. The point is to identify red flags to look for in future relationships.
- The next time you’re in a tough situation, think back to this, and remind yourself that things will get better.
- For example, you might say, “I’ve enjoyed the time we’ve had together, and this is tough for me to say. I don’t think it’s going to work out in the long run. I hope you understand, and I wish you all the best.”
You might also like.
- ↑ https://www.self.com/story/ghosting-and-dating
- ↑ https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9kq7m3/how-to-handle-being-ghosted-by-a-friend
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-forward/201511/is-why-ghosting-hurts-so-much
- ↑ https://www.glamour.com/story/stages-of-being-ghosted-on
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201705/6-ways-deal-the-pain-being-ghosted
- ↑ https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-handle-being-ghosted-and-why-its-not-a-very-nice-thing-to-do-to-someone-else/
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/valley-girl-brain/201105/how-want-get-over-breakup
About This Article
Being ghosted by a friend or romantic interest can be hurtful, but by giving yourself time to grieve and working on moving forward, you can respond positively. First, take time to cry or listen to sad music, since you have a right to feel upset about what’s happened. However, don’t blame yourself for the situation, because people are sometimes just incompatible with each other. Instead of beating yourself up over what you could have done differently, focus on the positive side of what’s happened. For example, you might tell yourself that it’s better to be ghosted by someone after a few dates than to waste several months on them. Try to find a close friend to talk to about the situation, which will help you manage your feelings. For tips on how to tell if you’ve been ghosted, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Am I Being Ghosted? 7 Ways To Tell
The words used in the English language are evolving constantly. Every year, words that started out as slang become so popular and embedded in daily use that they step outside of Urban Dictionary and make their way into others, such as Merriam-Webster.
The world of dating has also evolved over time and with it, practices that those who are dating experience. In this article, we will discuss a practice that many of you may already know and have experienced: ghosting.
Ghosting—The History of The Word And What It Means
Ghosting is what happens when someone breaks off a relationship by stopping all communication with that person. This may happen in a new relationship or an intimate relationship where there has been investment by both parties. The halt in communication occurs without a warning or justification—there is no big fight or break-up that leads to it. In addition to stopping all communication, the person will also ignore their partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate with them.
While it could be possible that people have been ghosting since the beginning of communication, the term became popular with the rise of online communication. It first seemed to pop up in the early 2000s and appeared in Urban Dictionary for the first time in 2006. Used back then as a term for when your friends disappear or cancel plans on you with little or no notice, it shifted to refer to dating in 2009 on the website.
By 2015, the term was more widely used, being cited as a rising trend amongst celebrities and online relationships. News articles and posts began discussing ghosting more in-depth, and studies showed that it had become a popular tactic to end a relationship. Comedian Aziz Ansari researched and wrote a book on dating today compared to what it used to be, titled Modern Romance. He delves into the scarcity principle and how something is more desirable when it is less available. He tells his readers to stay equal when it comes to communicating with someone in the beginning because it isn’t worth trying to attempt a relationship with someone who “doesn’t give a shit about you.”
So How Can I Tell If I’m Being Ghosted?
Ghosting is often something that happens towards the beginnings of a budding relationship. This doesn’t mean that is always the case. Sometimes ghosting happens in a relationship that has been going for some time. Things are going well until they're not.
However long you've known someone, you now fear that you might be getting ghosted or that ghosting is about to happen. How can you tell? Here are some of the tell-tale signs:
They Start Bailing On Plans. Take the original Urban Dictionary definition and use it as your starting point. If the person you’re dating used to be someone who always showed up when they said they would, and then suddenly that changes…beware. If your significant other suddenly has an extremely busy schedule that sprouted up for no reason and they are consistently bailing, be wary of what may happen. If they are the type of person who has always bailed on plans, you may want to consider where you are putting your energy. If something legitimately comes up—maybe a family illness leads to a period where they cannot be around—that is understandable. But if they commit to plans, then they don’t show up or block every attempt to hang out, and it is a shift from what was the status quo, be careful.
The Routine Is Broken, And You Are No Longer Getting “Goodnights” Or “Good Mornings.” Was your significant other the type of person who always sent you a goodnight or good morning text? Were they the type to check in during the workday? If you had routine texts or phone calls happening, and they begin to taper off, this is not the best sign. That point of connection for the two of you has been broken, and it could be the beginning of a decline.
They Say Something Along the Lines Of “I’m Not Looking for Anything Serious.” Perhaps your budding relationship has shifted to what may seem like a more serious tone. This can be startling to the other person and set off backpedaling actions. If they state that they're not looking for anything serious and you are, you are likely not on the same page. You could be friends who hook up occasionally. Not being in a real relationship means that when the other person is bored, tired, or finds someone else, they don’t need to break up with you. A breakup conversation is reserved, in their minds, for actual relationships. The simple act of not responding is enough for someone that they were fooling around with. It isn’t the best way to handle things, and you do deserve a conversation, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen. Take any “this isn’t serious” warning seriously, and if they decide to coward out, at least you were prepared for the possibility.
They Communicate Less Than They Used To. Let’s face it—some people are not great texters. In this day and age where everyone is connected to their phones, those people still somehow exist—with a crazy number of unread texts and a long time before you get a response. Those are people that you learn to adjust to if needed. After texting someone for a while, you learn their style—whether they punctuate, abbreviate words a lot, or get back to you in 24 minutes or 24 hours. If the person you are dating used to be a person who responded in a relatively timely matter but now there is an exponential increase in how long it takes to respond, this may be a red flag. If this becomes a regular thing versus a busy day here and there, you should be prepared. If their responses are now really short—one-worded text responses and maybe even a “K”—it could be a bad sign. If their responses are not what they used to be, it could mean that they are on the fast track to not responding at all.
Everything Was Fast And Glamorous Until It Wasn’t. The beginning of a relationship is oftentimes referred to as the honeymoon phase. But sometimes, a relationship can start too fast, and warning signs are ignored. Perhaps this is one of them. If you fell in love on the first date and everything was hot and heavy and wonderful, maybe you did not notice potential issues because you didn’t want to. Sometimes, things that start fast and furiously end the same way as well. This is not the case all the time, but it could be a warning sign.
They Have Ghosted You Before. In the relationship cycle, people break up and get back together all the time. But never forget that humans are creatures of habit. If the person you are talking to now has ghosted you in the past, remember that there is a possibility that it can happen again. Even if they claim to have changed or say this time will be different and better, it could be a falsehood. “Once a cheater, always a cheater” and “old habits are hard to break” are popular sayings for a reason. It is easy to fall back into something that you know well or have already done. Ghosting is an easy way out for some people, especially if they have done it before.
They Cut Off Communication Completely. This is the ultimate sign that the ghosting has happened. Once you have tried to call, text, email, or direct message and there are no responses, it's likely that you have been ghosted. You can give it a valiant effort, but know that at a certain point, that person is not going to respond to you again, and what you had is over.
Ghosting is an unpleasant situation for the person being ghosted. While these warning signs do not mean you are definitely getting ghosted (unless it is the last one, in which case you likely have), a combination of them means you should be prepared in case it happens and maybe call out the person you are dating to see what is going on. If you have been ghosted and are holding an emotional weight because of it, or perhaps you want to try and save the relationship, consider counseling. Regain is an online therapy platform that connects individuals and those in relationships with licensed therapists. Regain therapists can work with you at a time that's convenient and you can meet from the comfort of home.
Online therapy can be an effective way to work through issues, such as those between partners. If communication has come to be a problem, online therapy may help. No matter where you live, online therapy provides a wide range of therapists to choose from.
And if you've been ghosted, a therapist can help you process your emotions and move on to something new.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long before you know you’re being ghosted.
It doesn’t take long to know if you’re being ghosted—one relationship expert has revealed that after only three days of no communication, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve been ghosted. Of course, every relationship is different, but there are very few excuses for a complete lack of communication after three days.
Others report that after three days, things may still be okay, but after a week, your chances go down tremendously, and after a month, there’s no point in hoping for them to answer. You can find the same content and information about ghosting from many sources, but it’s important to understand that the bottom line is that people ghost others because they don’t have the strength to be upfront and tell them the truth.
What Do You Do If You Think You Are Being Ghosted?
If you’re being ghosted, take a moment to breathe and reflect on the relationship before you start typing out an angry text. It’s appropriate to check in and say something like, “Is everything okay? I’ve noticed you’ve been much less responsive lately.” But you should definitely avoid blowing up their phone and contacting them on every social media site in hopes that they’ll reply.
If they haven’t responded for a few days after your check-in, it may be time to let the relationship go . Getting ghosted can be very upsetting, so take some time for yourself to recover—but realize that if they were worth it, they wouldn’t do this type of thing to you. When people ghost, they’re cheating themselves out of what could potentially be a great relationship.
How Do You Know If A Guy Ghosted You?
If you have a new relationship with someone and they suddenly stop responding , it’s only natural to wonder what’s going on, especially if you thought things were going great. So, are they busy, or are they ghosting you? Here are a few clues: If they're ghosting you, their replies will become shorter, they’ll “forget” about your plans, you’ll have to initiate all of the conversations, and they will be online although they aren’t replying to you.
If you think you’re being ghosted, the best move is to move on. Ghosting is rude and disrespectful, and a person who’s going to ghost you isn’t worth your time. When you’ve been ghosted and love has gone missing, it’s normal to feel upset. When someone ends a relationship with zero communication, it’s unfair and even cruel. But avoid sending them message after message in the hopes that they will respond; it’s better to be the bigger person and let the relationship go.
Is It Normal To Get Ghosted?
Unfortunately, ghosting has become a totally normal part of a modern dating life. Nowadays, it can be rare to find someone who will sit down and break up with their significant other face-to-face. A 2019 survey revealed that 30% of US adults had ghosted a friend or romantic prospect. That’s nearly one in three people! While getting ghosted is never fun, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve been ghosted, it’s time to let go and move on to something better.
What Is Soft Ghosting?
Soft ghosting occurs when somebody doesn’t cut you off completely but slowly cuts back on communication until they only view or like your social media posts. Oftentimes, people will become soft ghost a former romantic interest if they aren’t brave enough to actually break up with them or cut off communication completely.
Are They Ghosting Me Or Do They Need Space?
Generally, if you have to ask whether someone is ghosting you, they are. If the conversations have gone from paragraph-long texts to single words or even just an emoji, that’s a sign that you’re being ghosted. Also, if the other person is giving you incredibly elaborate excuses about why they don’t have time to hang out or talk, that’s a clue . Typically, if a person needs space, they will communicate that in some way other than cutting off communication altogether.
If a person is interested in you and wants to continue the relationship, they won’t suddenly begin to ignore all communication forms. Feeling that you’ve been ghosted, is never a fun experience. But remember that if they were worth it, they wouldn’t have put you through such a difficult situation!
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For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Been Ghosted? The Ultimate Resource on Ghosting
Is He Ghosting Me?
Dating can be exciting yet frustrating. This is especially true in the early stages, when you’ve met a guy who you seem to ‘click’ with and are getting to know him. Waiting for him to text you back can feel like an eternity. Sometimes when a guy replies slowly, it can be difficult to differentiate between whether he is genuinely busy, or just uninterested. However, when his replies become less and less frequent, you may ask yourself the dreaded question: ‘is he ghosting me?’
The harsh reality of dating is that although a guy may seem very keen initially, their interest may fade over time . Many have been in the position where a guy they are seeing gives mixed signals. It can be difficult to know how to respond. Should you find out if something’s wrong? Maybe it’s something you did? Or should you give him space?
Often, it’s nothing that you’ve done wrong. Unless something has genuinely happened that makes it difficult for him to stay in touch, a guy who is interested in you will make the effort to maintain communication. Perhaps you’ve wondered ‘is he ghosting me?’ Here’s how to tell if he’s ghosting you .
Related: Ghosted Or Playing Hard To Get? This Is How To Tell
He hasn’t responded in a while (and we mean, a while)
It can be tiring when you find that you initiate conversation much more often than the guy you are seeing. Perhaps he is actually busy. However, if you find yourself regularly waiting days or weeks for a response, it’s unlikely that he’s very interested. It’s fair to say that you are not a big part of his daily life. He may not have ghosted you yet, but you can’t be too surprised if he does later on. If he has stopped replying your messages all together (or blocked you) you can be pretty sure you’ve been ghosted.
He’s distant in person too
When you see him in person, is he genuinely happy to see you? Is he interested in how you’ve been, or what you’ve been up to? Or does he keep it brief? If when you bump into him or meet up, he appears distant or uninterested , take that as an indication of how much he cares. He may have already started phasing you out. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise when he ghosts you.
Related: 5 Telltale Signs He’s Acting Distant
He avoids making plans, or cancels them at the last minute
If he seems reluctant to make plans with you or always seems too ‘busy,’ beware. In dating, it’s reassuring when someone who is genuinely busy tries to come up with ways to work around both your schedules to make it happen. However, if he appears to make little effort to make plans with you, or if he goes silent whenever you mention the future , he’s probably not that keen.
The other scenario is when he cancels plans at the last minute . This can leave you feeling disappointed and hurt. Of course there are times when things come up suddenly, making it difficult to give the other person notice. However, if he habitually cancels at the last minute or stands you up, it shows you are low on his list of priorities. It’s reasonable to question yourself: is he ghosting me?’ Not only is it disrespectful towards you and your time, he is likely not emotionally available at present. A guy who lacks respect towards you or is simply not that interested is far more likely to ghost you.
When it comes to revealing details about his life, he’s Mr. Mystery
Through your interactions with this person, whether it be in real person or through texting, you build up an idea of this guy’s character and his lifestyle. If you seem to never be able to get a good sense of who he is, or if you feel something’s not ‘quite right,’ your gut feeling may be spot on. Of course, there are some people who are open books, whereas others are more reserved. However, if he seems cagey about discussing his life and seems to be hiding something, he may be intentionally keeping you at arm’s length. If your interactions then become less and less frequent, it may be possible he is ghosting you.
He has a busy social calendar and you’re totally not part of it
Ah, social media. The perfect way to keep up with your friends and (stalk) acquaintances. Not only can you gain insight into their lives, you can also see where they’ve been and with who. It can be easy to jump to conclusions, so it’s important to not base your judgment completely on say, an Instagram post.
However, it is possible to use social media as an indication as to what he’s been up to. If say, he cancels plans with you last-minute and you see that he’s gone on an alcohol-fuelled night on the town with his friends, it’s hard to be impressed. Basically, if you find that he has time for everyone aside from you, it’s clear that you’re not high on his list of priorities. No matter how much you enjoy spending time with him, if he only reaches out sporadically, or not at all, he may simply not be interested in continuing the relationship. Many guys find it easier to stop communicating i.e. ghost people rather than giving any kind of explanation.
He’s playing you hot and cold
If you find serious inconsistencies in his attitude towards you, this is not a good sign. It could indicate that he only wants you around when it’s convenient, as opposed to really caring about you. When a guy is sending mixed messages, it shows he lacks respect for your feelings. Or, he is unsure about what he wants. It’s therefore not surprising when he ghosts you later on.
Related: Dating Someone Who’s Playing You Hot and Cold? Read This.
But why is he ghosting me?
If you find that you’ve been ghosted, don’t despair. The first thing to remember is that a guy who ghosts often does so due to reasons that are totally out of your control. Perhaps he’s not emotionally available. Guys who are emotionally unavailable may enjoy spending time with you and having fun, but when it gets to the point where things become more serious, they pull away. This could be because he simply wants to focus on other things in his life and is not keen for a serious relationship. Or, it could be that he isn’t sure about you. He may be seeing other people and not want to limit his own freedom. Ultimately, regardless of his reasons for ghosting you, your time is better invested elsewhere and with someone who appreciates you.
He’s ghosting me. What should I do next?
It can be very hurtful when you realize you’ve been ghosted. The lack of any explanation can make it difficult to gain closure. You may end up analysing and questioning your relationship, contemplating the reasons as to why he ghosted you. The most important thing to remember is that the fact that he ghosted you shows he lacks respect for you. The basis for any healthy relationship is respect. If a guy ghosts you, you are certainly better off without him in your life . Give yourself some time to process your feelings and perhaps share your experience with a close friend whom you trust. Afterwards, it’s important to move on. Focus on doing things that make you feel happy and fulfilled and spend time with loved ones who truly respect you.
Enjoyed this article? You may also find these articles useful:
- He Left Me On Read, Why? 12 Reasons Why Guys Do This
- How To Make A Guy Regret Ghosting You: 8 Ways
- Online Dating: 5 Signs He’s Not Interested
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Quiz: Are You Being Ghosted or Is He Just Busy?
"Am I being ghosted, or is he busy?" Once you suspect you are being ghosted, it can feel dreadful. Realizing you have put effort and hope into a relationship just for them to bail out can be very unpleasant. However, someone who suspects their friend or partner is ghosting them could get a false reading. If he isn't responding to you for a day or so, he could be busy and not purposefully avoiding you. Is he genuinely ghosting you, or is he busy? This quiz will help you find out.
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Why Ghosting Hurts So Much
Ghosting says nothing about your worthiness for love..
Posted November 27, 2015 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma
- Ghosting means one person cuts off contact with another after a period of friendship or dating, usually to avoid one's own emotional discomfort.
- Ghosting upsets the one ghosted because people are wired to regulate their emotions partly through social cues from others.
- Those with low self-esteem can take longer to get over ghosting because they have less natural opioid released into the brain after a rejection.
The opposite of love isn’t hate; it's indifference. Ghosting , for those of you who haven’t yet experienced it, is having someone that you believe cares about you, whether it be a friend or someone you are dating , disappear from contact without any explanation at all. No phone call or email, not even a text.
Ghosting isn’t new—people have long engaged in disappearing acts—but years ago this kind of behavior was considered limited to a certain type of scoundrel. In today’s dating culture being ghosted is a phenomenon that approximately 50 percent of men and women have experienced—and an almost equal number have done the ghosting. 1 Despite how common ghosting is, the emotional effects can be devastating, and particularly damaging to those who already have fragile self-esteem .
Why do people ghost?
People who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it makes the other person feel. The lack of mutual social connections for people who met online also means there are fewer social consequences of dropping out of another’s life. The more it happens, either to themselves or their friends, the more people become desensitized to it, and the more likely they are to do it to someone else.
- “I didn't understand exactly how I actually felt at the time, so instead of trying to talk it out, I ghosted.” 2
- “I used to disappear when it was all I thought it was [a fling], or I got scared of finding what I wanted… Or some kind of fear factor from a past relationship kicks in.” 2
- “Looking through the lens of a coward, passive withdrawal from dating seems like the easiest and nicest route… until it’s done to you.” 3
- “I kind of think that it's part of what makes the online dating scene so appealing. Since you don't have friends in common or weren't introduced through some other channel, it's not the end of the world if you just drop off the face of the earth.” 4
- “I, for one, consider myself to be an honest and straightforward person. And yet I’ve ghosted... And I’ve told myself, time and time again, that it’s all the fault of the toxic dating culture we’ve created. And at the end of the day, I think that’s what we’re all telling ourselves.” 5
How does it feel to be ghosted?
For many people, ghosting can result in feelings of being disrespected, used, and disposable. If you have known the person beyond more than a few dates then it can be even more traumatic . When someone we love and trust disengages from us it feels like a very deep betrayal.
- “I felt like an idiot. Like I had been played a fool. And more so I felt disrespected. Take the romantics away, to have a great connection with a new friend and then all of a sudden never hear from them again? That’s painful and really disappointing. No one deserves to be blown off.” 6
- “It still felt a bit like someone had punched me in the gut when it happened. The disregard is insulting. The lack of closure is maddening. You move on, but not before your self-esteem takes a hit. The only thing worse than being broken up with is realizing that someone didn’t even consider you worth breaking up with.” 7
- “Going from texting every day and seeing each other a couple of times a week to nothing without the slightest hint of why was a kick in the gut.” 8
- “Ghosting is one of the cruelest forms of torture dating can serve up.” 9
Why does it feel so bad?
Social rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain. 10 In fact, you can reduce the emotional pain of rejection with a pain medication like Tylenol. 11 But in addition to this biological link between rejection and pain, there are some specific factors about ghosting that contribute to psychological distress.
Ghosting gives you no cue for how to react. It creates the ultimate scenario of ambiguity. Should you be worried? What if they are hurt and lying in a hospital bed somewhere? Should you be upset? Maybe they are just a little busy and will be calling you at any moment. You don’t know how to react because you don’t really know what has happened. Staying connected to others is so important to our survival that our brain has evolved to have a social monitoring system that scans the environment for cues so that we know how to respond in social situations. 12 Social cues allow us to regulate our own behavior accordingly, but ghosting deprives you of these usual cues and can create a sense of emotional dysregulation where you feel out of control.
One of the most insidious aspects of ghosting is that it doesn’t just cause you to question the validity of the relationship you had, it causes you to question yourself. Why didn’t I see this coming? How could I have been such a poor judge of character? What did I do to cause this? How do I protect myself from this ever happening again? This self-questioning is the result of basic psychological systems that are in place to monitor one’s social standing and relay that information back to the person via feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. When a rejection occurs your self-esteem can drop, which social psychologists propose is meant to be a signal that your social belonging is low. 13 If you have been through multiple ghostings or if your self-esteem is already low, you are likely to experience the rejection as even more painful, and it may take you longer to get over it as people with lower-self-esteem have less natural opioid (painkiller) released into the brain after a rejection when compared with those whose self-esteem is higher. 14
Ghosting is the ultimate use of the silent treatment, a tactic that has often been viewed by mental health professionals as a form of emotional cruelty. 15 It essentially renders you powerless and leaves you with no opportunity to ask questions or be provided with information that would help you emotionally process the experience. It silences you and prevents you from expressing your emotions and being heard, which is important for maintaining your self-esteem.
Regardless of the ghoster’s intent, ghosting is a passive-aggressive interpersonal tactic that can leave psychological bruises and scars.
How do you move forward?
The important thing to remember is that when someone ghosts you, it says nothing about you or your worthiness for love and everything about the person doing the ghosting. It shows he or she doesn’t have the courage to deal with the discomfort of their emotions or yours, and they either don't understand the impact of their behavior or worse don’t care. In any case, they have sent you an extremely loud message that says: "I don’t have what it takes to have a mature healthy relationship with you." Be the better person, retain your dignity, and let him or her go peacefully.
Don’t allow someone else’s bad behavior to rob you of a better future by losing your vulnerability and shutting yourself off from another relationship. Keep your energy focused on doing what makes you happy. Know that if you are someone who treats people with respect and integrity then the ghoster simply wasn’t on your wavelength and someone better is coming your way, as long as you keep your heart open and your focus forward.
For more, see " When Is It OK to Ghost Someone? "
Krossa, E., Bermana, M., Mischelb, W., Edward E. Smith, and Wager, T. 2011. Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 108 (15), p. 6270–6275, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102693108.
DeWall, C., et al. 2010. Acetaminophen Reduces Social Pain: Behavioral and Neural Evidence. Psychological Sciences, 21 (7), p. 931 -7
Cynthia L. Pickett, C., Gardner, W., and Knowles, M. 2004. Getting a Cue: The Need to Belong and Enhanced Sensitivity to Social Cues. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30 (9), p. 1095-1107.
Leary, M. R., Haupt, A. L., Strausser, K. S., & Chokel, J. T. 1998. Calibrating the sociometer: The relationship between interpersonal appraisals and state self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, p.1290-1299.
Hsu, D. et al. 2013. Response of the μ-opioid system to social rejection and acceptance. Molecular Psychiatry , 18, p. 1211–1217.
Williams, C., Richardson, D. Hammock, G., Janit, S. 2012. Perceptions of physical and psychological aggression in close relationships: A review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17, (6), p. 489–494.
Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D. , is the Director of Emory University’s Adult Outpatient Psychotherapy Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science in the School of Medicine.
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The 4 Next Steps When You Think Someone Is Ghosting You
It can be super stressful and disheartening when someone you've been talking to regularly suddenly drops off the face of the planet without any warning. If you think you're being ghosted, there are exactly four steps you need to take next: Reflect on whether this situation is actually ghosting, ask the ghost what's up, notice the anxiety you're having over this, and then move on. In that exact order!
Here, the breakdown of what to do when you think you're being ghosted.
What is ghosting?
Ghosting is when someone stops responding to messages and disappears from a relationship without explanation, usually in the context of dating. The term can also be used for any situation where a person abruptly stops communicating or showing up, such as when a friend starts ignoring your texts or when an employee just stops showing up to work without ever formally quitting.
RELATED STORY: Ghosting In Dating: Why People Do It, How To Respond + More
What to do after being ghosted
Reflect and evaluate the situation.
Ghosting stirs up a lot of sensitive emotions—feelings of being ignored, fears of being rejected , and perhaps even hits to your confidence in being someone attractive and worth talking to. There's a lot tied up here, so it's important to pause for a moment and really look objectively at the situation to make sure you really are being ghosted and not just letting your insecurities get the best of you.
"First of all, breathe, because anytime you feel like you've been ghosted, your anxiety is off the chain wondering if they are OK or racking your brain a million ways for things you did wrong," marriage and family therapist Patrice N. Douglas, LMFT , tells mbg. "Sometimes when people ghost us, it's because they are focused on other things or may be isolating themselves because they are feeling depressed. Everything isn't always about us, so we can't panic right away."
Try to think through your last few conversations with the person, Douglas recommends. A few questions to consider:
- Are they heading out of town?
- Did they have a huge event coming up?
- Have they been dealing with some emotional stuff?
It's also important to be objective about whether they've actually disappeared completely or have just been slower to respond these days, according to relationship therapist Shena Tubbs, MMFT, LPC, CSAT-C .
"It's not technically ghosting if they're still communicating with you but haven't disappeared completely," Tubbs explains to mbg. "In this case, I would say they are showing you they are unavailable. In other words, if someone goes from being able to text you daily or a few times every hour to suddenly 'forgetting' to text you back for 12 hours or a day, they are totally communicating they are not an available and healthy partner for you."
Tubbs defines ghosting as when someone is unresponsive to any and all attempts to communicate with them. She adds that you can definitely be ghosted by someone you haven't met in real life yet—it doesn't matter how long you've known someone.
"Ghosting is based on one simple thing: communication," Douglas says. "If you have been talking to anyone—friend, potential mate, whatever—and they suddenly stop responding to your messages without any warning or cause as well as ignoring you, you may have been ghosted."
Directly ask what's wrong
Straightforward, I know!
When you think someone is ghosting you, it's best to just be up-front and ask them what's going on. Tubbs recommends a message along these lines: Hey! I noticed you haven't been as responsive lately. Is everything OK?
If they still care about investing in your relationship , their response will tell you everything you need to know: "Maybe something is going on that it would be helpful for you to know about," Tubbs says. "If it's a legitimate concern and they are interested in you, they will apologize, and things will go back to how they were, or they will apologize and [they] will set new expectations for you so that you aren't left hanging (i.e., 'I can't text during the day anymore because we have a new meeting schedule, but I'll hit you up after work'). They'll also follow through with those expectations."
Douglas says that if someone isn't feeling the relationship anymore or just can't prioritize you right now, ghosting can sometimes just be the result of not knowing how to communicate that information to you directly. One way to suss out if that's the case is to give them an easier way to bring up how they're feeling. She recommends saying you've "noticed communication has changed" between you and then directly asking "if everything is OK and if this relationship is something they want to continue to pursue."
Take note of the anxiety you're having around the prospect of being ghosted
It feels awful to be ignored, whether the person is a close friend or a new interesting somebody you were just starting to vibe with. But if you're having an overwhelming amount of bad feelings around the prospect of being ghosted, it's important to pause and tune into what specific emotions you're experiencing around this. Are you desperately trying not to lose a connection you really value or were really excited by? Or is this about a fear of rejection and feeling unlovable?
"Remember that your difficult emotions are a signal, a teacher with an important message," psychologist Danielle Dowling, Psy.D., writes at mbg . Notice where your anxiety is coming from and what insights you can glean about yourself: Perhaps your level of investment in this particular person's rejection tells you that you really do want a long-term relationship and should invest more time in your dating life. Or perhaps the degree to which you're judging yourself for this rejection is a sign that you have more work to do around self-esteem and self-love.
Once you've collected that information about yourself, it's time to let go of the weight this situation is having on you—because it's really not about you.
"Taking rejection personally is often a subconscious defense mechanism. It puts you in control," relationship counselor Margaret Paul, Ph.D., writes at mbg . "The belief is 'If it's my fault, then maybe I can change, and then this won't happen again. If I can just figure out what I did wrong, then I can fix myself.'"
But Paul points out that in most cases, the person who got ghosted usually didn't do anything wrong. The situation, in reality, is totally out of your control. Monica Berg, spiritual teacher and author of Fear Is Not an Option , says ghosting has so little to do with you and so much to do with the other person's communication issues that it isn't really worth getting torn up about it—in fact, you might as well celebrate.
"The ghost is doing you a big favor," she writes at mbg . "You're getting a firsthand look at how this person, who just days ago was so marvelous, actually handles their emotions, your emotions, and difficult circumstances in general. 'Runs away at any sign of conflict' typically doesn't make anyone's list of dream qualities in a partner, and you got to see that clearly and up front—not years down the road."
Make sure to check in with the person at least once, Tubbs says. After that, move on .
"If they aren't interested, they will either not respond (which is your answer right there), or they will respond and apologize, but things will stay the same, and they'll continue to take forever to respond to you or won't respond at all. You just need to cut your losses and move on. Don't try to make it happen."
Douglas says the exact time frame for when it's time to move on might differ depending on the scenario—you might wait a week or two to assess if the situation improves if it's someone you've only recently started getting to know, whereas you might want to spend up to a month trying to reconnect if it's someone you've had a longer relationship with and care deeply about.
But being ghosted is not something to continue to feel anxious about because the underlying causes of ghosting aren't particularly mysterious or confusing. In fact, being ghosted is a great source of information—about the other person's communication style, about their investment in your relationship, and about your own real needs . You should definitely make space to grieve the loss of the relationship , but there's no real need to dwell on what should I do? or what could I have done differently?
"If someone really wants you, they will make time to talk to you and respond to a text. It takes literally less than a second to respond, and you know they are on their phone throughout the day," Tubbs says. "As Maya Angelou says, 'When someone shows you who they are, believe them.'"
Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach helping people figure out how to create dating and sex lives that actually feel good — more open, more optimistic, and more pleasurable. In addition to working with individuals in her private practice, Kelly serves as the Sex & Relationships Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University , and she’s been trained and certified by leading sex and relationship institutions such as The Gottman Institute and Everyone Deserves Sex Ed , among others. Her work has been featured at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.
With her warm, playful approach to coaching and facilitation, Kelly creates refreshingly candid spaces for processing and healing challenges around dating, sexuality, identity, body image, and relationships. She’s particularly enthusiastic about helping softhearted women get re-energized around the dating experience and find joy in the process of connecting with others. She believes relationships should be easy—and that, with room for self-reflection and the right toolkit, they can be.
You can stay in the loop about her latest programs, gatherings, and other projects through her newsletter: kellygonsalves.com/newsletter
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Is He Ghosting Me or Just Busy?
Have you been wondering if your relationship is on the rocks? If it seems like your boyfriend or girlfriend is suddenly unresponsive, it could be a sign that things aren’t going as well as you hoped. Don’t panic and immediately assume that you’re being ghosted—it could just be that he or she is busy. Here’s how to tell the difference between ghosting and simply being busy.
Ghosting vs Being Busy
Ghosting is defined as ceasing all communication without warning or explanation. It’s an impolite way to end a relationship, leaving the other person feeling confused and hurt. Being busy, on the other hand, means that life has gotten in the way of communication between two people. There may still be mutual respect between partners who are taking a break from each other due to a full schedule.
Signs That You’re Being Ghosted
If you suspect that your partner is ghosting you, there are several signs to look out for. Has your partner stopped responding to text messages and calls? Are they making excuses not to meet up in person?
These can all be indicators that someone has decided to end the relationship without actually saying it. If this is the case, it’s best not to keep reaching out; instead, take some time for yourself to heal from this situation and move forward when you feel ready.
Signs That Your Partner Is Just Busy
If your partner does respond occasionally but takes long periods of time before doing so, they could just be busy with work or school obligations.
If this is true, they should let you know what’s going on in their life and make an effort to communicate when they can. A real sign of respect in a relationship is being honest about how much time one can dedicate—or not dedicate—to someone else .
Figuring out whether someone is ghosting or simply too busy can be hard! But understanding the distinction between these two situations can help you make better decisions regarding relationships in the future and give closure when needed. Pay attention to any signs that indicate either scenario so that you don’t spend too much time worrying over something that may not even exist anymore! Trust your instincts – if something feels off, take some time away until things become clearer for both parties involved.
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Is She Ghosting Me or Just Busy? (+ How to Bounce Back)
For all those non-believers out there, let me tell you once and for all that ghosts exist.
Perhaps they don’t jump out and scare you when you look in the bathroom mirror or try to befriend you because the other ghosts are making fun of them but be advised, they are real.
Except the ghosts I’m talking about aren’t the ones that like to be seen.
Rather the ghosts of romance exit your life as quickly as they entered.
Not to be seen or heard of ever again.
Many of us have at one time or another been ghosted.
We’re dating someone, talking with them all the time, and then in a flash, they’re gone from our lives, refusing to answer texts and calls.
I’d call this trend playing dead , but I guess ghosting sounds catchier.
In this article we’ll define ghosting, examine the signs to help you determine is she ghosting me or just busy, and help you avoid ghosting in the future.
What Is Ghosting?
Ghosting is w hen someone who you were previously dating suddenly talking to stops responding to all forms of communication.
I’m not talking about not responding for a few days, rather this person never hit you back again.
Without explanation this person severs all forms of communication, rendering them a ghost (or playing dead whichever you prefer).
To ascertain whether you’re being ghosted or not you’ll have to send her a few messages.
Each message should end with a question.
Questions more so than statements increase the likelihood of her responding.
Sometimes women just don’t know what to say and therefore say nothing but it’s not a guarantee that she’s not interested if she doesn’t respond to one message.
Women are busy, en vogue, people.
Sometimes they get flooded with messages and take a while to respond as your message gets bumped to the back of the queue. Make sure she sees your messages by sending her a couple more.
After sending a few more messages that end in a question you should be able to answer the question, is she ghosting me or just busy?
Just don’t send her messages like these.
Why Do Women Ghost?
There are a billion reasons why people will cut off all communication.
Here’s a brief list:
- Lack the courage to tell you they’re not interested
- Think they don’t owe you an explanation
- Don’t feel safe telling you they want to end things
- Horrible communicators
- They’re really just that busy
The most common reason I’ve encountered is that the ghoster just doesn’t want to make things awkward.
They think they don’t owe you an explanation after just a few dates, so instead of having an awkward conversation they simply don’t say anything and let the silence speak for them.
While ghosting is certainly disappointing to the person being ghosted, the ghoster at least doesn’t have to experience the discomfort of knowing they disappointed you — which is part of the reason why they do it.
She might feel guilty and not want to talk about it or not have the emotional maturity to communicate it respectfully.
Or maybe she doesn’t have the respect and courage to be honest with you.
This is a red flag.
If you get ghosted, you’re dodging a poor communicator’s bullet.
You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who avoids conflict and can’t talk about how they’re feeling openly and honestly.
A ghoster is the type of person that has an avoidant attachment style.
They might feel it’s safer to ghost to protect themselves from emotional or physical abuse (especially if they grew up in an abusive household where truth-telling led to abuse). Or perhaps they have a mental disorder that makes them less empathetic to the needs, feelings, and social cues of others. These people are generally less emotionally available due to an attachment style or mental health issues.
They may be unwilling to confront their own feelings and insecurities. They may be escape artists who also struggle with addiction (used as a form of escaping from uncomfortable feelings).
Signs You’re Being Ghosted (And She’s Not Just Busy)
The signs of a ghost are pretty straightforward.
You’ll know she’s 100% ghosting you if:
- She hasn’t responded to the last three text questions
- She hasn’t responded in more than a week
- Hasn’t communicated with you in any way in over a week
- Has had the ability to contact you but has chosen not to for at least a week
There are less subtle signs that indicate a ghost might happen.
The last time you two went out did you notice something was off? That she wasn’t as affectionate or talkative as she normally is?
Women generally aren’t too busy for prince charming but it’s common for us to ghost when we don’t feel the chemistry or don’t see much value in going on another date.
Maybe she ghosted because your date idea just wasn’t compelling enough for her. Maybe it’s because she just isn’t that into you.
Either way, a busy woman will make time for what feels important.
So being busy is almost always an excuse for her to avoid hurting your feelings. If she is interested, she’ll be responsive to your messages and she’ll propose alternative times to hang out if she can’t make something you propose work.
How to Recover From Ghosting and Avoid Future Partners Who Ghost
It’s the kind of rejection that will always leave you wondering why.
And the thing is, there’s no real avoiding ghosting. It’s a staple in the modern dating scene and as much as we dislike it, most of us have done it ourselves.
But the best way to respond to rejection is through acceptance.
Meaning, the best way to rebound is to go on another date.
MegaDating is the dating strategy we’ve designed to help men do just that.
MegaDating, or the process of dating multiple women at the same time.
With another date lined up around the corner, it’s difficult to feel down in the dumps for too long. But how in the world do you plan on scoring so many dates?
In our coaching program, Dating Decoded , we teach our male students how to tap into their social networks in order to find single, compatible women to date.
But it’s not just the quick romantic rebound that MegaDating helps with.
By dating so many types of women in quick succession it also helps you to compare and contrast the communication styles of each of the women.
This helps you to avoid settling for a woman who doesn’t respond very quickly , who is “always busy” or who just doesn’t give as much as you do towards the budding relationship.
MegaDating is especially important if you’re currently getting ghosted by someone you’re interested in.
Talking to a handful of women at the same time really helps:
- Reduce clinginess
- Keeps your mind right and off of her lack of response
- Can help you move forward towards an amazing long-term partner without getting too hung up on one woman
So How Do You MegaDate?
In other words, how do you find all these new and amazing women to date?
As a 2017 Stanford study confirmed, the most popular way to meet your new partner is via a dating app.
In order to date multiple women a week you’re going to have to tap every social channel available to you. That means meeting friends of friends, meeting women at work, at parties, at the gym, etc.
But most importantly, it means meeting women online.
In particular on Bumble , Hinge , and Tinder .
In Dating Decoded we’ll give you the skills you need to attract dozens of women online.
And it all starts with the profile.
We’ve helped hundreds of students create highly effective online dating profiles. We teach them how to snap amazing photos (we also team up with professional dating app photographers), what to write in their profiles, which apps to download, and much more.
But a cute profile isn’t enough to cut it.
To get the most out of dating apps you’ll need to learn how to appeal to a woman enough to convince her to meet in person.
You do this by learning the way of MegaMessaging , something we teach in our program. We give you the skills you need to steer the conversation towards a TDL or towards asking her for her number.
Once you have her number it’s time to get dating.
But what kind of date should you ask her out on?
We provide a dating blueprint for the first three dates.
We teach you:
- How to ask her out
- Date criteria
- How to escalate sexual tension
- Best date conversations
- How to make sexy and consensual physical contact
- Everything you need to know to court her
To learn more about Dating Decoded and if she’s ghosting you or is just busy, book a 1-on-1 Zoom call with me or a member of my team .
Together we’ll chat about your dating history, dating goals, and how Dating Decoded will help you get there.
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Is She Ghosting Me or Just Busy? (10 Signs She’s Ghosting You!)
No one wants to be – or feel like they’re being – ghosted.
Especially not by a girl you like.
When someone just disappears with no reason or explanation, it always raises more questions than answers!
But sometimes people are just busy or they need space, and contacting them a lot might end up annoying them.
If you’re unsure contacting a girl or not, here are 10 ways you can tell if she is ghosting you or just busy:
1. She Isn’t Responding to You at All
Someone doesn’t have to avoid you completely and not respond at all to be ghosting you, but it’s a sure sign they are!
Even if she was busy, she’d reply and let you know that she’ll get back to you later or something.
If you can’t get an answer out of her at all, she’s ghosting you and is not just too busy to reply.
Related – Here is how to call out someone who is ghosting you !
2. You Can See She’s Active on Social Media
Social media has become one of the best modern ways of figuring out what someone is really doing, feeling, and up to.
If you can tell that she’s still active on her social media accounts, then chances are she’s not ghosting you.
It certainly sounds like she’s not too busy to do other things and update her social media!
3. She’s Been Talking to Other People You Know
If you can see – or hear – that she’s still socializing and talking to other people while not responding to you, then it’s likely she is ghosting you.
At the very least it seems like you’re not a priority in her life, which doesn’t feel good.
But in the technical sense of the term ‘ghosting’, it sounds like that’s exactly what she’s doing.
4. If She Does Reply She Takes Days
Someone doesn’t have to go complete radio silence on you to ghost you, they can gradually distance themselves.
If she’s taking longer and longer to reply to your messages, it could be an indication that she doesn’t want to talk to you as much and is slowly ghosting you.
You know her better than anyone, if she’s gone from being good and quick at communicating to bad, something is up.
5. Her Replies Are Dry and Short
If someone isn’t into you or they are ghosting you, their replies will usually be short and delivered without any emotion.
It’s a tell-tale sign they don’t want to talk to you and would like the conversation to end as soon as possible.
If her replies are always short or she’s ‘dry’ texting , it’s time for you to face up to the fact that she might be ghosting you.
6. She’s Been Canceling Plans with Poor Excuses
If the two of you keep making plans to meet up and she’s canceling them with poor excuses – it’s a sign.
Sure, it could be that she’s busy if she cancels one or two times.
But if she’s canceling to the point where the two of you never meet up, then it’s time for you to accept that she might be ghosting you.
7. She Has Blocked You on Social Media
Being blocked on social media is a pretty big sign that someone is trying to avoid or ghost you.
It’s a pretty drastic move, honestly, and it doesn’t leave much room for interpretation.
If she blocks you, then chances are she is ghosting you – the only question now is why!
8. You Saw Her in Public But She Avoided You
Ghosting over social media and text messages is one thing, but it becomes very real if she’s trying to avoid you in person.
If you’ve seen her from afar, been in the same room, or crossed paths in some way and she’s actively avoiding you, it’s a pretty big sign that something isn’t right.
9. Her Friends Are Making Excuses for Her
If you’ve noticed that her friends are suddenly making excuses for her when it comes to you, it’s time for the alarm bells to start ringing.
Her friends might be trying to protect her, but it’s also possible she has asked them to lie for her – which means she is ghosting you.
It’s fine to try and reach out via her friends if you’re finding it hard to contact her, but you need to read between the lines and take the hints that are there.
10. You Can Just Tell Based on Your History
There is something that often means more than all the signs and that’s the gut feeling you get deep down.
You know her and what kind of relationship you had, and it’s possible you can simply tell if she is ghosting you or not.
Trust your instincts, if it doesn’t feel right – then it probably isn’t.
Related – Signs someone is avoiding you or hates you over text .
How to Handle Being Ghosted
No matter how you look at it, being ghosted is never fun and it hurts.
It can be hard to accept and process it all, but the best thing you can do is take a step back and give yourself time to work through it.
Reach out to friends, family and trusted people in your life who will support you in this if you’re feeling frustrated and confused.
Most importantly, don’t blame yourself.
It’s not your fault that she ghosted you and the more time you give yourself to heal, the better you’ll feel in the end.
I know how badly you want to figure out why she’s ghosting you, that’s natural.
But the reality is that you’re going to need to give her time, the more you press her the more she’s going to retreat and ghost you.
So, take a step back, take a deep breath, focus on yourself for a while and give her the space she’s asking for.
Should You Keep Contacting Her?
Whether or not you keep reaching out to her completely depends on why she’s ghosting you.
If it seems like it might be a mistake or misunderstanding then the answer is yes, reach out one or two more times.
But if you think that she’s actively ghosting you and trying to end the relationship, then it’s best to back off and give her the space she’s asking for.
It’s never easy, but it’s often best to move on and find someone who will appreciate you for who you are.
You’ll just end up feeling like you’re banging your head against the wall and get more and more frustrated chasing someone who is ghosting you.
I’m sure you’ve made it clear you want to speak to her or what you want from your relationship, so the ball is in her court now!
Image credits – depositphotos.com/stock-photo-using-smart-phone
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.
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