By Nicole Casperson
Leilani Tran, 25, a business owner from Dallas, Texas, was dating an older man. And then, he disappeared, and she never heard from him again.
“It was disappointing and annoying more than anything,” Tran said.
What happened to her is called ghosting. It refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out. Instead of explaining to someone why the relationship should end, ghosting ends the relationship by completely stopping all forms of communication with one another.
Tran said the relationship was not very serious. However, she thought he would have the decency to say something. She did not expect to never hear from him.
“It’s a matter of respect and don’t waste my time,” she said.
Modern technology, which limits people’s face-to-face interactions, could be contributing to the ghosting trend, Tran said. However, she believes the real issue is that people avoid confrontation.
“Human beings are so afraid of communicating with each other nowadays,” Tran said. “Therefore, it’s just easier to ditch people or ghost them.”
The sad thing is that the people who are being ditched are the ones who are probably nice and getting their emotions hurt, she added.
“It may seem easier to ghost someone, but you can easily put someone out of their misery by letting them know it’s done,” Tran said. “Then no one’s being led on anymore.”
Alli StJuste, 22, a senior sociology major from San Antonio, Texas, experienced ghosting in her own way. She said she was dating a guy for about a month over winter break, and he even met her family. Once they both got back to Tech, they decided to take things more slowly. They went out together once more. Then, she never heard from him again.
“I reached out to him once,” StJuste said. “Then I waited a week and reached out to him again.”
She got no response and never saw him again.
“I think it’s cowardly,” StJuste said. “It’s taking the easy way out because you don’t have to explain yourself.”
StJuste said she thinks the guy would have had a hard time explaining why he didn’t want to be with her, so instead of telling her, he chose not to.
“It hurts more now because you have so many different ways to contact someone,” StJuste said. “And they are choosing not to contact you back in so many different ways. So it hurts a little more.”
Luckily, ghosting worked out in her favor. StJuste said she is in a relationship with the perfect guy for her, and they are happily dating.
Ghosting does not happen only to women. Men are victims of ghosting as well.
Preston Opara, 21, a senior electronic media and communications major from Houston, Texas, experienced ghosting by a woman who had initially approached him. Over winter break, Opara was working as a waiter when a customer wrote her cell phone number on her receipt and left it on the table for him.
“I called her the next day,” Opara said. “I tell her I am going back to school in a couple of days. I then find out she actually goes to school at Tech as well.”
Opara said they texted for about three days and scheduled a time to hang out when they both came back to school. When the time came to hang out, she said she was feeling sick and wanted a raincheck. Opara tried reaching out to her again a couple more times. He never heard from her.
“She gave me her number,” Opara said, “and she ghosted me.”
Ghosters can offer explanations for their behavior.
Zachary Blackmon, 20, a senior English major from Sulphur Springs, Texas, said he ghosted a woman he had met online because she was not what he expected her to be. He matched with her on Tinder, a dating app, and she invited him to come over to her friend’s house to hang out. Blackmon went, and they hung out once.
“When I was leaving her friend’s house, she asked me if she was going to see me again,” Blackmon said. “I said, ‘Yeah, of course, I had a great time. I’ll text you.’”
Immediately after he left, Blackmon said he deleted her phone number, unmatched her on Tinder and started to ignore her.
“She was really nice, but she wasn’t my type,” Blackmon said. “Tinder misled me.”
He said it was easier to just ignore her than tell her the truth. Blackmon said he felt like telling her the truth would hurt her feelings more.
“I thought it would be nicer to ignore her than to explain myself and tell her the truth,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon said he believes technology has heavily influenced the ghosting trend. He said he would never have gone out with the girl in the first place if he had met her in person and not online.
“Would I ever ghost again?” Blackmon said. “Yes.”
Based on a poll of 120 women and 65 men, according to Elle Magazine.