Ever Been Ghosted

A person listening to this term for the first time will think it is an actual ghost lurking around them. Is it not? It is somewhat the same in terms of semantics, but here, we are talking about the human ghost. Flummoxed? While the other ghost is not absolute and a figment of your imagination or perhaps supernatural, this human ghost is someone who will be around you all the time and suddenly vanish from your radar! You will not hear from the person or be able to see or access them. You might keep wondering: what just happened? The worst part about this “ghost” is that you do not know whether they will return and, if they do come back, how to pick up the threads lost in the time gap. 

How many have experienced the above? Do you also have a human ghost like the one mentioned above? If yes, then stay away from the person. Ghosting a person means breaking the other person’s trust too. You do not know why they did so and the circumstances, which makes us even warier about remaining friends with them. How do we build trust with such people? 

We often make friends because we connect with them, bond closely, and sync with their thoughts (and vice versa). However, when you feel you can open up to someone and be friends with them, they suddenly go off the radar without giving any reasons. It can be the most frustrating experience since we are caught unawares – off the hook.

If this ghost is your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse or partner it can leave you hurt and traumatized. So, once you know that they are ghosting you, please maintain boundaries (unless there is a severe reason) with the person. Ghosting comes in the form of all types of relationships. Sometimes, it could be a parent or a spouse as well. They can stop talking to you and not be bothered by explaining. The victim, aka you, will be poorly left guilt-tripping, thinking you are the one who did something wrong or imagining the worst about the missing person. 

Social Media “Ghosts.”

Ghosting can be highly toxic to any individual – reel or real life. In virtual life, ever since social media has become essential for everyone, ghosting has become somewhat of a simple affair. On social media, people can create fake profiles and chat with you like genuine friends (all genders), and one day, when you go to check your chats, the person’s profile itself would have vanished – perhaps deleted. These “ghosts” are dangerous ‘coz they get close to you only when they need information and to scam people financially as well. Cyber security experts also advise everyone to be cautious of social media contacts. They say unless you know them personally (even friends of friends of friends don’t count as personal), please do not share sensitive information about family or finances with the person. Mostly this happens during dating too. You get attracted to people on social media and fall in love. After a few months, the chats may get intimate too. They ask for photographs of you in intimate poses, and after a while, they will suddenly vanish – an extremely dangerous ploy to trap vulnerable people. So, beware of such “ghosts” as well. 

In the guise of friendship and later love, these ghosts take advantage of your weaknesses and even may reach your house or other family members. But, they will not be seen anywhere on the horizon after a few days.

Familial “Ghosts”

There can be spouses and even parents ghosting you. In many cases observed across India, men exited their marriage, leaving wives soon after the wedding, and went to a foreign land. Eventually, they cut off ties silently, and the girls are left to fend for themselves. The husband’s families refuse to show accountability and do not reveal their son’s location or job details. This phenomenon of ghosting is rampant across certain northern and southern parts of India, where sons are married off to procure dowry money for sending them abroad for a promising future while the wives are left behind. Once they go abroad, the “husbands” become inaccessible, and there is no way that anyone can trace them as well. The trick is simple. Before marriage, they trick the girl’s family into believing the husband will settle abroad and take their wives with them once they marry. But this never happens. Wives are permanently left behind. Many men are known to get married again and settle with natives of the foreign country too. Even after Police complaints and criminal cases submitted, the law has punished very few ghosts. Similarly, some parents abandon their children too and ghost them completely. They leave children on the pretext of earning better wages and never returning. 

Sadly, there are few laws to punish these criminals, and ghosting continues. The person who is the victim of ghosting has a lifetime of traumas to endure. It becomes tough, especially for married women, to move on and lead lonely lives in the false hopes that their spouses will return to them someday. In some cases, these ghosts leave children behind too fatherless/parentless. Victims are unaware of the fact that they are married and settled elsewhere.

  1. Constantly canceling plans with you.
  2. Avoiding social gatherings/parties with you.
  3. Don’t want to be seen together with you in public spaces.
  4. Rarely or never responding to calls or texts when not meeting you.
  5. They don’t share personal details or information.
  6. Receiving suspicious calls when they meet you and not revealing who it was.
  7. Flaky conversations. (that lack any depth) 
  8. Refusing to talk about any conflicts.
  9. Avoid interacting with those with blank profile pictures or pictures of symbols/pictures/paintings on social media. Most of the time, while beginning to interact with you, there will be a human picture. Eventually, that picture gets replaced. So, beware!
  10.  RUN! If they ask you for your bank account/Aadhaar card details, run as far as possible.

Often, ghosting could be a fear of getting attached to people, avoiding conflicts – a fight/flight reaction to situations, lack of familiar friends between you and the ghost. Lastly, people also ghost because it is a toxic relationship. Whatever the reason, one should not ghost anyone without having an open conversation. A healthy discussion before exiting a relationship gives proper closure to both people. Even if the connection is highly abusive and toxic, you can find a common friend/relative to convey your message of why you exited the relationship. Ghosting is common during dating. You vanish or delete your profiles when you find that the person you are dating is incompatible with you, especially on dating apps. But a better way would be to convey your thoughts and then move on. You can probably wish your date good luck in finding a suitable partner. 

Follow Priya Rajendran

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