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Ghosting and affective responsibility

Ghosting is very frequent lately and we do not know quite well why. Some conjecture that people who do it are actually insecure people and others that they do it out of selfishness or because they think they look better in front of the person they are doing it to (that is, playing it hard to get).

Reality is that it does not matter the reasons why it is done. It is something that hurts and if it is not done it can avoid much suffering to the person who is «ghosted». It is not a question of «it does not hurt those who want to, but those who can», that is to say, that the person who feels hurt because they have been ghosted is because they have low self-esteem, do not love themselves or are too emotionally dependent on others. All this may also be true, but the fact is that ghosting hurts and that is why we must be emotionally responsible with others, whether they are acquaintances or strangers.

What is ghosting?

Ghosting is nothing more or less than being given the brushoff. The reason why this fact is given this term is rather because of the way in which they give you the brushoff. You are texting someone on a social network, starting to get to know him or her and suddenly, one day, without further explanation, he or she stops answering your messages, does not answer your calls and, basically, disappears like a ghost (hence, ghosting). This phenomenon occurs regardless of whether you have already met the person fase to face or not.

The reasons why people ghost can be many, but the main ones can be lack of empathy, lack of social skills or the anxiety that being honest with someone can generate. Suffering any lack or fear does not absolve you of your bad actions, think that the person in front of you or on the other side of the screen may also be suffering them at that moment.

And what is this affective responsibility?

Responsibility is a personal value that is the full awareness of what I say and what I do. Affective responsibility is that we are aware that our behaviors have consequences on the emotions of others, either positively or negatively.

When we establish a bond with someone, we must take empathy and sincerity into account. Creating false expectations is a sign that these two ethical values are not being put into practice. It does not matter if the bond is established within a «no name» relationship or one that has not yet been labeled. Precisely, it is in relationships where there is no formal commitment that we tend to disregard the emotions of the other person, having very little consideration for him or her.

Although you may think that you are not hurting and that it is not that bad, the reality is that you are. In conclusion, you must have ethics in relationships; when you embark on one you must take into account the feelings of the other person. When you disappear from someone’s life, that person may think that they don’t deserve explanations, that they have done something wrong or that they have offended you and may be making attributions that are not real. It is not a matter of deceiving them and pretending that you are still interested in them, when you are not. It´s simple. Communicate tactfully that you are no longer interested in getting to know him or her or that you do not feel comfortable for whatever reason.

Playing the interesting one can be part of flirting, we assume. But by this, we mean not giving everything unconditionally, giving up your time and needs. Not answering for a few hours does not make you an interesting person, it makes you a person who is not really you. Our advice is to act according to your values, not to social dictates that are often rigid and limiting.

In conclusion, disappearing from someone’s life, even if the contact has been brief, can cause harm to the other person and this is something we must learn and take into account in our relationships.

By UPAD Psicología y Coaching


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