July 20, 2024

Why Do People Not Call Or Text Back?

Feeling rejected hurts no matter how you slice it.  But in the age of social media and dating apps, “ghosting” has added a new, open-ended nature to rejection in the dating world. It’s become much easier in recent years to avoid – or miss out on – closure or any form of explanation if a person you’re dating decides to leave your life with no explanation.

Dating apps in particular don’t particularly encourage any responsibility when it comes to talking through why you’re no longer interested. Each app is a revolving door of other opportunities, making it all too easy to “ghost” your way out of a situationship or relationship.

It’s nothing short of an epidemic: 72 per cent of Londoners have been ghosted, on average six times each. A 2019 study also found that respondents had ghosted 29% of the people they had dated, and had been ghosted by 25% of dates themselves.

GLAMOUR spoke to Seventy Thirty’s relationship psychologist, Zoe Coetzee about the psychology behind this behaviour.

The below may help to answer some of your long pondered-over dating dilemmas. . .

Why do people «ghost»?

Ghosting can take place for a number of reasons. Fundamentally it is a means to evade responsibility, an avoidance tactic. The idea of disappointing someone is difficult for everyone, but for those who are not emotionally mature, they don’t want to deal with it – so they see cutting off all contact as an easy escape. Ghosting is the go-to, the «control alt delete» of rejection.

What’s the science behind it?

Ghosting is related to the psychological concept of “cognitive dissonance”. Cognitive dissonance is when someone holds conflicting beliefs, and this conflict causes tension – which is uncomfortable.

To escape the tension, the person’s behaviour changes and this is justified by the discomfort. So in order to escape the tension between not wanting to disappoint someone but also end the romance, someone can justify their behaviour of cutting off contact.

Is it ever the other person’s fault?

In a ghosting situation fault can be difficult to assign, and someone who has been ghosted can go round in circles trying to work out what has happened, why and whose fault it is.

If you have been left without reason or rationale, it is not your fault. Possibly putting too much pressure on a situation to develop can be off-putting to the other person, but jumping ship with no decent goodbye or explanation, is poor form from them.

Yes, it can be a withdrawal and avoidance-coping tactic. Yes, it can be because the person feels ashamed of themselves. Yes, it can be because they have poor communications skill or low self-esteem. But it is not your fault.

When you are seeing someone, and both expressing a consensual interest, the decent thing to do is say goodbye, before moving on. Even in today’s modern world where social media can make relationships seem disposable, there is no excuse for poor manners. You can assign blame firmly on their shoulders.

What do you do if you are ghosted?

Recovering from being ghosted can be tough because there is no opportunity for closure, and it also stimulates a person’s deep fear of abandonment. But there are a two key things you can do if you have been in the unfortunate position of being on the wrong end of it. . .

  1. Do not chase them or continue to contact them

This will only further degrade your self-esteem and probably push them further away and justify the situation to the ‘ghost’. If you feel it is important for you, compose one message, not emotive, politely saying that you had a good time, thank you and goodbye. This empowers you as you are saying goodbye and walking away with your head held high. If they come back to you a few months later, do not give them a second chance – they’ve shown their true colours. Delete their contact details and across social media platforms. This also mean no Facebook stalking.

2. Surround yourself with people who love you

Hang with your besties, plan a fun trip, do some new and interesting activities. Remind yourself that you are a valuable, desirable and confident person.

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