How to Respond to Ghosting

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Whether your romantic interest or friend is ignoring you, being ghosted always hurts. Don’t beat yourself up if your calls and texts start going unanswered. Try to stay calm, and avoid pleading for an explanation or sending angry messages. If an online dating match or casual acquaintance blew you off, don’t sweat the small stuff. If someone closer intentionally ignores you, it can really hurt. Give yourself time to grieve.

EditSteps

EditDiscovering You’ve Been Ghosted

  1. Stay calm. It’s hard to keep your cool when your texts and phone calls suddenly go unanswered. However, you should take a deep breath and relax before launching a tirade of frantic texts or sending a 10-paragraph angry email.[1]
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    • Not knowing why they won’t respond is maddening, but it’s better to cool off before saying something you’ll regret or jumping to conclusions.
  2. Address the issue if you have an existing relationship. If you feel the need to initiate contact, stay rational. Send them a message or voicemail and say, “I haven’t heard from you lately, and I hope I didn’t do anything to offend you. If you want to try to resolve any issues, I’d be happy to talk. Otherwise, I wish you all the best.”[2]
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    • Many people find ghosting acceptable in some circumstances. For example, if a match on a dating app starts ignoring your messages, your best bet is to brush it off and forget about it.
  3. Confirm that the person is intentionally ghosting you. If you just met the person or went on 1 or 2 casual dates, checking up on them probably isn’t worth your time. However, if you’ve been friends or romantically involved for months or years, they might just have a lot on their plate. Before jumping to conclusions, see if they’ve simply been busy, and make sure that they’re in good physical and mental health.[3]
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    • You could check their social media profile and see if they’re posting pictures or statuses. Keep in mind you shouldn’t obsess over their posts for hours. Just do a quick check.
    • If you both have a mutual friend, you could ask them if the person who’s ignoring you is okay.
    • If you think the person might be depressed or going through an emotional struggle, you could write them a message and say, “I haven’t heard from you in a while, and I hope you’re okay. I know you’re going through a tough time, and I’m here for you.”
  4. Accept the truth instead of getting trapped in denial. If it’s clear that the person is intentionally ignoring you, it might be best to cut your losses. If they post fun pictures on social media and your mutual friends say that they’re doing well, the ball’s in their court. There’s not much more you can do beyond telling them you’re willing to discuss any issues and wishing them well.[4]
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    • As much as it hurts, do your best to stop making excuses for them or holding out hope that they’ll eventually respond.
    • If they do try to contact you in the future, use your best judgment. If they apologize and explain that they had a lot going on, they might not have had bad intentions.

EditMoving Past the Pain

  1. Give yourself permission to grieve. Whether a friend or romantic interest cut ties with you, it’s tough to get over being ghosted. You have a right to be upset, so don’t try to hide your grief. Allow yourself to cry, listen to sad music, or spend a day wallowing on the sofa.[5]
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    • Even if you just went on 1 date, it’s still okay to grieve. Getting rejected is tough under any circumstances, and bottling up your feelings won’t do you any good.
  2. Try not to take it personally. Most romantic relationships come to an end at some point, and sometimes people just aren’t suited to each other. Instead of thinking, “There’s something wrong with me,” remind yourself that, sometimes, people are just incompatible. Don’t beat yourself up just because it didn’t work out with someone.[6]
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    • Focus on the fact that you dodged a bullet. It’s better to be ghosted after 1 or 2 dates than to waste weeks or months with someone that’s not right for you. If a long-term friend or partner starts intentionally ignoring you for no reason, it might be a good thing that they’re out of your life.[7]
  3. Vent to a friend or family member. Talking to a trusted loved one can help you blow off steam and sort out your feelings. A close friend or relative can lift your spirits, and spending time with them can help take your mind off things.[8]
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    • Call a loved one and say, “All of a sudden, Sam isn’t returning my calls or texts. I thought it was going well, but I’ve definitely been ghosted. Can we meet up for a coffee? I’m pretty bummed, and I could use a friend right now.”
  4. Maintain your mental and physical health. Eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising can all help you push through your grief. Additionally, setting aside time to do activities you most enjoy can help boost your self-confidence.[9]
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    • Avoid skipping meals or loading up on sweets. Eat nutritious foods, such as fruits and veggies, healthy proteins (such as poultry or fish), whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
    • Do your best to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
    • Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Outdoor exercise can be especially helpful, so go for brisk walks, jogs, or bike rides.
  5. Go on dates and meet new people. Don’t let this experience get in the way of forming relationships in the future. Dating might seem daunting, and you might be afraid of being ghosted again. Take a deep breath, face your fears, and allow yourself to be vulnerable.[10]
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    • Try taking a class or joining a club related to one of your interests. You could join a gardening club, sign up for an informal sports league, or take a cooking class.
    • Remind yourself that life is full of both joy and pain. You’ll face obstacles in the future, but refusing to put yourself out there is no way to live.

EditLearning from the Experience

  1. Look for ways to grow, but don’t blame yourself. Don’t kick yourself while you’re down, but think about how you can learn from being ghosted. There’s no way to guarantee that you won’t find yourself in a similar situation, but you might find ways to be more selective of friends or dates in the future.[11]
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    • Remember to stay positive instead of finding ways to blame yourself. Practice constructive self-criticism, such as, “I put more effort into making plans than they did, and should avoid similar situations in the future.”
  2. Ask yourself if there were any red flags that you ignored. Think about your interactions with the person, and try to remember any signs that they weren’t that into the relationship. Did you get into a fight, or did they seem to gradually lose interest in talking? Were you always the one who called or asked to make plans?[12]
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    • Again, don’t get down on yourself as you think about warning signs that went unnoticed. The point is to identify red flags to look for in future relationships.
  3. View rejection as a blessing in disguise. It never feels good to be rejected, but try to see the bigger picture. Experiencing heartbreak can help you cope with grief in the future. As much as it hurts now, you’ll feel better soon.[13]
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    • The next time you’re in a tough situation, think back to this, and remind yourself that things will get better.
  4. Remember your grief when you break up with people in the future. Having been ghosted yourself, you’ll know that it’s not the best way to end a relationship. When you have to break up with someone or end a friendship, try to be kind, but get straight to the point.[14]
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    • For example, you might say, “I’ve enjoyed the time we’ve had together, and this is tough for me to say. I don’t think it’s going to work out in the long run. I hope you understand, and I wish you all the best.”

EditSources and Citations

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