Ghosting, while unpleasant, isn’t a rare phenomenon. In fact, a recent survey found that 82% of women and 71% of men have been involved in ghosting, with the main reason cited being avoiding confrontation – which makes sense, really. A lot of people are conflict averse and in this digital age, it’s even easier to just push the problem away by blocking or muting the person you’re cutting ties with.
However, according to a new study, people who ghost their friends in particular are more likely to experience depressive tendencies in the months following the ghosting.
Romantic And Platonic Ghostings Have Different Causes
However simple ghosting may seem as an action - just a quick block and the problem is gone! - it is often driven by complex personal reasons.
According to researchers at the University of Vienna, when people ghost romantic partners, they’re more likely to do so because of communication overload like getting too many messages for their personal comfort zone – but when people ghosting friends is likely due to low self-esteem.
Additionally, when people ghost a romantic partner, they don’t often experience any negative impacts on wellbeing but when they ghosted friends, depressive tendencies notably increased over time.
‘Reflect On Ghosting Tendencies’
The researchers conducted two sets of surveys, four months apart, on young adults aged between 16 and 21, with a total of 978 taking part in the first and 415 completing the second. Participants were asked about how often they had ghosted dates and friends, but the questions didn’t use the word ‘ghosting’.
Instead, they referred to similar behaviours, like ‘cutting off contact online without telling them why.’
It was in that second batch of 415 people that researchers found increased depressive tendencies in those that had cut off friendships but not so much for romantic partners.
Researchers emphasised in the report that those who ghosted others ‘rob themselves of (to some extent unforeseen) benefits of these interactions. In other words, ghosting friends might predict depressive tendencies by self-induced unfulfilled relational needs.’
To put it simply: ghosting doesn’t benefit anybody and healthy communication and vocalising boundaries is a much better approach.