By PAXSON HAWS
After talking to a girl for over six months, Sammy Najib, a management info systems junior, realized this girl had decided to ghost him. Their communication had been consistent. They talked every day and had hours-long Facetime calls every night but when she hadn’t opened Najib’s Snapchat in five days, he knew it was over.
Despite suddenly being cut off, Najib was not hurt. Najib said being ghosted is something that has happened several times to him and stems from simply losing interest in a person.
“You get really involved in the conversation and then it just dies,” Najib said. “It’s just the conversation dies. You have to keep putting effort in to make a conversation. At that point, it’s not worth it anymore.”
Ghosting is ending a relationship by suddenly cutting off all contact with a person with an emphasis on electronic communication, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. While ghosting is not a new concept, the increase of technology and how it has simplified communication prompted Merriam-Webster to add the word ghosting to the dictionary in February 2017.
According to a survey from 2015 by the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of American adults have tried online dating. Online dating of those between the ages of 18 to 24 is up to 27 percent compared to 10 percent in 2013.
“It’s so much easier with social media and cell phone communication to simply avoid dealing with the end of a relationship than it was when you would run into a person you had been dating at parties or other gatherings of friends,” psychologist Diane Barth, who runs a private practice in New York, said. “But ending a relationship has always been hard and even in the days of just telephones for communications, people would stop calling and just disappear from your life without letting you know why.”
A study conducted by Gili Freedman and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships on Jan. 12, 2018, focuses on how theories of relationships relate to ghosting. According to Freedman’s website, she is an assistant professor in the psychology department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and focuses on interpersonal processes.
Part of the survey asked 554 participants about their knowledge on ghosting. A little less than half were familiar with the term. Of those that were familiar with the term, 95 percent believed not responding to phone calls and text messages were behaviors associated with ghosting.
Participants were familiarized with ghosting and were asked to agree on which scenarios they believed it was acceptable to ghost a romantic partner. Some of the scenarios included were for a short-term relationship, a long-term relationship, before or after physical intimacy, and whether they have been or have ghosted someone. One hundred and forty participants said they had been ghosted while 120 said they had ghosted.
While Najib could easily tell he was being ghosted, Zain Anabtawi, a management info systems junior, did not realize he ghosted someone until years later when the girl called him out and told his sister.
Anabtawi started talking to the girl again during his senior year of high school. He didn’t think anything between them was serious, which is why he didn’t talk to her when he went out of town.
That’s when he started talking to, and soon started dating, another girl, Avery. The first girl was in college in Waco, Texas while Anabtawi went to high school in Grand Prairie. She had her own life and did her own thing so Anabtawi thought nothing of it. Two years later, she called him out.
“She reached out to me two months after me and Avery broke up, basically just checking up on me,” Anabtawi said. “She was like ‘Do you remember when you ghosted me’ or whatever. She brought it up and it was super awkward. I just really don’t remember it like that.”
Anabtawi has been on the other end of ghosting as well. He sent a direct message to a girl on Twitter after he moved to Norman and they started talking. This girl worked a lot and soon quit responding. Anabtawi thought nothing of it because he knows people just lose interest after a while.
“I feel like I’m at that point in my life where I’m not going to waste my time being hurt over someone who has moved on,” Anabtawi said. “So you just move on too.”
Alexandria Prothero, an international relations junior at Lindenwood University, used online dating apps several times before meeting her current boyfriend. She meet a boy named Jordan on the app Whisper, which is an app where people can share thoughts, advice and chat directly. Prothero was honest with Jordan about having an open relationship but he still bought her a ring despite the fact they had not met in person.
She was close with Jordan and his family until she learned he was seeing other people and kept it a secret. Prothero wanted to be taken seriously and she wasn’t going to get that with Jordan. She cut off his family and soon after told him she was in love with a different boy, her current boyfriend, and was moving to Seattle.
“I blocked him because I didn’t want him to respond,” Prothero said. “Every time something like that happened, he’d try to sweet talk himself back in just so I’d be some sort of security for him and it was just draining and mentally exhausting. I never got my closure.”
Jordan was blocked from a variety of different social media platforms and because they never saw each other in person, social media, texting and calling was their only form of communication. It made it easy to cut off contact.
“Social media makes it easier to ghost people,” Barth said. “You can just block someone or unfriend someone and that’s the end of the contact.
While just over nine percent of those who took part in Freedman’s study said they would consider ghosting someone, Trevor Bryant, an international business junior, said ghosting seems pretty common.
“I think it’s just like a thing where millennials don’t like confrontation sometimes,” Bryant said. “So they don’t want to be like that. They don’t want to say that to someone. It’s just easier to not reply.”