Lightweight, mid weight and heavyweight: the three levels of ghosting. Ghosting has been the new way of ending a relationship with someone by ending or withdrawing from all communication suddenly and without explanation.
In an article by the New York Times, Wendy Walsh, a psychology professor and whistle blower of the #MeToo movement, explained the different levels of ghosting. Walsh described lightweight ghosting as “An argument with a friend and the friend stops texting back.” Walsh said mid weight ghosting happens when “you have met the person a handful of times and then engages in deep avoidance, which hurts the feelings more.” The third level, heavyweight ghosting, occurs when “a person enters a sexual relationship and you leave, blindsiding the other.”
A study was done by the dating site “Plenty of Fish” and reported on the Bustle site about the percentage of millennials who have been ghosted by their partners. With a yes or no question of “Have you ever been ghosted?” it was reported that 78 percent of millennials said yes, while the remaining 22 percent said no.
However, if a person is in a relationship, communication between one another may differ with each couple. Some prefer to talk every day, all day, a few days per week or only a few hours. The question is, how long is okay to not talk to your partner?
Enajah Williams, sophomore business management major, said it does not bother her if her and her partner go without talking. “I don’t care how long we go without talking, but as long as you check in with each other because we both have our own lives and I am not clingy, so I do not have to talk every second or every minute of the day,” said Williams.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland professor Gili Freedman explained that people ghost because of their vulnerability to their own feelings and their conscious feeling that the person they are talking to is not the “one.” In the New York Times article, Freedman discussed that telling people “no” might be harsh, but it is better than leaving them in the dark and ghosting them.
Kei Jordan, a junior business administration major, said people ghost each other based on their personal emotion or connection to that person. “People ghost others because they are not feeling a vibe with that person or they might not be what they are looking for,” said Jordan.
Although that might be the case where there are no mutual feelings, the person ghosting the other might not feel anything by it, but the one who got ghosted acquires an emotional reaction to it. Ghosting begins to play with a person’s emotions and has them questioning their self-worth and wondering what they did wrong or start blaming themselves.
When a person has been ghosted, they typically would not go back to that person in fear that they will be ghosted again, and it will hurt more than the first time. However, there were two different responses to this idea.
Katherine Alvarez, a sophomore biology major, said her opinion on whether she would go back to someone who has ghosted her. “It depends on how we left off and why you ghosted me,” said Alvarez.
Joey DiAntonio, a junior criminology major, explained his thoughts about speaking with someone again after they have ghosted him. “No, I would not go back to someone if they ghosted me,” said DiAntonio.
Communications in a relationship differed back than, as opposed to how they are today because of technology and social media. Many years ago there was not the same technology available as we have today, so ghosting was not as common and ending a relationship was mostly done in person.
Dr. Kathleen McKinley, a sociology professor, discussed the difference in relationships today compared to years ago. “Today the 24/7 texting makes communication direct and instantaneous and it is strange when we do not hear back. But years ago it was still embarrassing and hard to break up with someone but it was a bit easier to seem to “miss” a phone call or be out and so you had a different time scale with which to deal with it,” said McKinley.
Going along the same route as Alvarez, McKinley discussed the likelihood of going back to a person who ghosted you, and she mentioned that it also depends on the situation and the status of the relationship. Mentioning TV shows, such as “Catfish,” where ghosting and using others is shown a lot. However, she explained that in relationships where it might have included stalking, abuse or fear, then ghosting is completely acceptable.
An article done by Psychology Today explained the difference between destiny beliefs and growth beliefs of individuals and how they view ghosting as acceptable or unacceptable. Those who have destiny beliefs, “think people are either meant for each other or they’re not, the more they tend to think that ghosting is an acceptable way to end a relationship.” Individuals who have growth beliefs, “think people can work through challenges in their relationships, the more they tend to reject the idea that ghosting is an acceptable way to end a long-term relationship.”