If you're not familiar with the term 'ghosting', it's the process of cutting off all communication with someone and ignoring their attempts to communicate.
I've been ghosted many times and I've also been guilty of ghosting others (something I don't do anymore). It's a horrible feeling. From somebody you thought was your closest friend to a guy you've been on a date with, it can be a huge knock to your self-esteem.
Here's an interesting fact, a survey released by Plenty of Fish in 2016 found that 78% of single millennials - or people between the age of 18 and 33 - have been 'ghosted' at least once!
Despite ghostings being a common occurrence today, the emotional effects can be painful, and particularly damaging to those who already have a low self-esteem.
What's worse, the lack of social connections to people who we meet online... ahem Tinder, also means there seems to be less of a consequence to drop out of someone's life.
Another study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality in 2012, found that ghosting, which is essentially withdrawal and avoidance, was one of the least ideal ways to handle ending a relationship (or friendship). It led to the most anger, hurt, and rejection for those on the receiving end.
Why is this? Because emotional rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain. You physically feel that pain and rejection.
Not only that, when someone ghosts you, you haven't been given an opportunity to understand why. It makes you question yourself and the relationship you had. When you have lower self-esteem it only confirms your belief that you're unlovable or unworthy.
So here are a couple of things I've done and you can do to overcome this.
Contact that person once, if you get no response, don't go any further
You need to have the closure so do ask, however, if they aren't willing to provide the answer, move on. It's also likely you'll keep checking so, I advise you to remove the chat completely and delete their number - that way you have no chance to contact them when you're feeling weak.
Tell someone close to you and speak about it
It can be easy to fall into a shame spiral. You don't understand what you've done and mulling over these thoughts can only make it worse. Talking about it with someone impartial can help you from blaming yourself and begin the process of healing.
Keep busy and do something that makes you happy
Depending on how hard it's hit you, you may think nothing will make you happy. This will take a lot of courage but go out, spend time with friends and family, watch a comedy or join a dance class. Do anything but sit alone, because that will make you dwell too much on the situation.
Remember it's most likely their issue, not yours
Here's the thing, if you don't understand where you went wrong then it's most likely nothing you did. Most of the time, when someone goes silent they are just not comfortable with the situation. This is their way of dealing with it without confrontation.
Remember you are enough, YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH
As I mentioned, ghosting knocks your self-esteem. Don't let anyone EVER make you feel like you aren't enough. It's not important what they think of you. You must remind yourself daily to stop beating yourself up. Practice self-love. Say it enough and you will believe it. Look around at all the people that love you and have loved you just as you are.
This piece was first published at MillennialGirlClub.com.