Being ghosted is a horrible feeling.
When someone you’ve been seeing just stops answering your texts one day, with no explanation, you’re never sure what to think.
It takes a little while for you to realize you’re being ghosted.
First, you might just wonder why they’re not answering you as quickly as they usually do.
Then, you might start worrying about whether something has happened to them.
But as the days go by, you come to terms with the fact that, rather than telling you they want to end things, they’ve chosen to give you the silent treatment.
You’re left wondering what you did wrong.
Your self-esteem can take a big hit.
You don’t get the closure you’d like.
It takes you a while to accept what’s happened, and once you have, it can be hard to come to terms with, as they never gave you a reason.
Sure, they would have probably spun you a “It’s not you, it’s me” line even if they had sent you a message or ended things face to face.
But at least you’d have been able to draw a line under it and put it behind you, rather than spend weeks wondering what on earth happened.
On the whole, ghosts remain just that. They never darken your doorway again.
But some ghosts occasionally come back from the dead.
What do you do when someone you liked in the past who went radio silent on you suddenly pops back up on your screen?
If they’ve emerged from your WhatsApp archive folder (where you’d conveniently hidden them away so you didn’t have to see their name and could try to forget all about them), you’re probably wondering what your next move should be.
Once a ghoster, always a ghoster?
Is ghosting an unpardonable crime?
Or is it sometimes justifiable, and even forgivable?
Should you welcome them back to the land of the living with open arms, or should you be highly skeptical of their ghosting ways?
Could you ever have a future with some who ghosted you?
Here are some things to think about if this should ever happen to you.
1. Think about whether it’s worth responding.
If someone gets in touch with you after having ghosted you, the temptation to respond and find out what happened and why they’ve gotten back in touch can be overwhelming.
But think about whether it’s really worth it.
If you have no interest in rekindling things, have drawn a line under it and don’t feel like you need closure, or really suffered when they ghosted you, you could just leave their message unanswered and ghost them right back.
You don’t owe them anything, and you need to be kind to yourself.
So if you think that it would be better for your state of mind just to leave things, then that’s fine.
2. Consider whether you’ve ever been guilty of ghosting.
So, you really quite liked this person before they ghosted you.
But now your pride is telling you not to even give them the time of day.
Before you completely rule out having anything to do with this person again based on the way they’ve treated you, think about whether you’ve ever been guilty of ghosting someone.
Chances are you have.
Maybe you went on a date with someone you quite liked, but then got so caught up with work or personal problems and never got back to them about that second date, until you realized weeks had gone past and it was too late.
Maybe you spent quite a while messaging someone on a dating app and then just lost interest.
But you didn’t tell them you didn’t want to speak to them anymore, you just let things fizzle out instead.
Perhaps the way you’ve ghosted in the past has been less extreme than the way this person ghosted you, but you need to be careful about judging people for doing things that you might have done yourself.
If you think there might be potential for friendship or romance with this person, be prepared to hear them out.
3. Ask for a reason, and give it careful thought.
Rather than just letting this person slot back into your life, no questions asked, you need to be direct with them.
Call them out on what they did.
Don’t let them get away with it.
If you do have any interest in carrying things on with them, it’s probably best not to throw it in their face, but you can still ask the question.
Ask them why they ghosted you, and then give some consideration as to whether you think their excuse was legitimate.
Maybe they had a professional crisis, or maybe someone close to them got ill.
Maybe they were still getting over someone else or got scared at the prospect of commitment.
Or maybe they just weren’t that into you at the time and have popped up again now they’re bored or lonely.
4. Listen to your gut.
It’s for you to decide whether their reasons for ghosting you, and now their reasons for coming back, are valid ones.
Your gut will probably be able to tell you whether they’re just making excuses, or they had a genuine reason for ghosting you which you can forgive and move on from.
If something deep down inside you is screaming that you shouldn’t trust them, there’s probably a good reason for that.
Your gut will also be able to tell you whether you really like this person enough to give them a second chance.
If you’re not really that bothered or think it’s just a passing fancy, it’s probably best to say no, as it’s not fair on either of you to start things up again.
But if you really liked them before they ghosted you and those feelings are resurfacing now, maybe it is worth giving things another shot.
5. Tell them how their behavior made you feel.
It’s important for them to know how their ghosting made you feel.
If you’ve ever ghosted someone, you probably justified it by telling yourself that they didn’t really care about you, or that it was kinder to just go silent on them than it was to break things off with them.
That’s probably what this person said to themselves too.
We all like to believe things that make us feel better, rather than facing up to uncomfortable truths.
So don’t be shy about telling them how it made you feel.
If you try to be all cool and standoffish and pretend it didn’t really bother you, when it did, then they might be more tempted to ghost you again further down the line or carry their ghosting ways into the future.
6. Treat them as you’d like to be treated.
In situations like these, it can be really tempting to give them a taste of their own medicine.
As mentioned above, you’re quite within your rights not to respond.
But you might be tempted to answer them, act like it’s all forgiven, but then play hard to get or get your revenge by being the one to ghost them after a while.
That’s not the way forward.
If you want people to treat you well, you need to treat them well.
Be respectful and kind, and don’t do anything to a person you’re seeing that you wouldn’t want them to do to you.
What goes around comes around, and the better you treat other people the better you’ll be treated.
Show respect for the people you date, and before long you’ll find someone who gives you all the respect you deserve too.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why do ghosters come back?
There are different reasons why a person who ghosted you might choose to come back, weeks, months, or even years later. Some possible options include:
- They miss you – If you had a genuine connection, and they ghosted you because they were feeling overwhelmed by their emotions, then there is a huge possibility that they’ll come back when they’ve been able to get some space and gain perspective. They’ll return when they realize how much they miss that connection with you.
- They worked on themselves – If your former partner has done some much-needed internal work, he/she may return when they realize the part they played in the breakdown of your relationship. Since the breakup, he/she has reflected on their behavior in the relationship and really drilled down to the part they played and decided to be a better person or make healthier lifestyle choices.
- They are lonely – Maybe everyone around them is in committed relationships and the closest option in their life to one is you. Instead of starting afresh with someone else, they decide to call you up and pick up where they left off.
- They want to hook up – It’s late at night and the ghoster wants to have sex. As he/she scrolls through their phone, they land on your number and put a call across or send a text to find out if you’re DTF but in not such crude terms. They are literally looking for the easiest (or cheapest) option to satisfy their sexual cravings.
- Their second option didn’t work out – They had another option that they preferred and went for it. Unfortunately for them, their second option didn’t pan out the way they thought it would. So, they figure they can go back to old faithful…you.
- They are confused – They don’t know what they want. Today, they want you. Tomorrow, they want space. The next day, they want someone else. They’re confused and plan on taking you on a crazy, topsy-turvy trip as they figure it all out.
- They want/need an ego boost – You make them feel good about themselves. In the relationship, you were nurturing and encouraging. Their biggest cheerleader. After ghosting you, they don’t have that anymore and they miss it. Not you, but the feeling of having someone cheer them on. Maybe they’ve been shot down by someone they like and feel like trash. So they need you to help them feel better.
Should I talk to someone who ghosted me?
Deciding if you should talk to someone who ghosted you depends on the reason they ghosted you. In order to figure that out, you’ll need to talk to them, at least initially. Ask them what happened. Why did they disappear?
From their answer, you can gauge if their reason was legitimate or a pile of garbage. You can get a sense of whether ghosting their partner is a regular part of their relationship dynamic. Or if this situation was just a one-off occurrence.
On the flip side, you can decide you don’t need a reason as to why they ghosted you. You may have moved on and are in a different frame of mind or even a new relationship. So the reason why doesn’t matter because it won’t change anything. You’ve gotten your closure and moved on. If anything, rehashing the past will just remind you of all the negative emotions you’ve worked through.
So, choosing if you should talk to someone who ghosted you depends on you and where you’re at. Have you moved on from the situation, the relationship? Or are you still interested in the ghoster? Were there parts of your relationship that you don’t want to give up on? Perhaps you’re not even sure of what you want.
You want someone you can rely on and won’t just disappear. If this person has done this to you once before, you know he/she will probably do it again. But on the other hand, there was a lot of potential, a lot of good in your relationship. It really hurt that they were able to throw it away, seemingly without a second thought.
This is one situation where you cannot afford to be pressured to make a decision. There’s already evidence that he/she will disappear. You cannot open yourself up to the possibility of that happening again without serious consideration for what you want and need in a partner or relationship.
What questions should you ask someone who ghosted you?
If the person who ghosted you has come back, before you decide to give them a second chance or not, you might want to ask them the following questions:
- Why did you ghost me? This is a pretty obvious question and should probably start the conversation off. If they want a chance to come back into your life, then they need to be able to articulate what pushed them to disappear without a word. You’ll probably have a number of follow-up questions once they’ve answered this one.
- Why are you reaching out now? Essentially, what do they want from you? What do they hope to accomplish by chatting you up again? Is it just to say hello? See how you’re doing?
- What will be different this time? Have they grown in any way? Changed at all? If you’re going to give this person a second chance, you need to be sure they won’t pull such a stunt again.
- Why should I give you a second chance? You’ve got to know why this relationship is worth your time and effort. If the ghoster doesn’t know or can’t give good reasons why you should give them another chance, then you probably shouldn’t.
- Why do you want to give this relationship a second chance? With this question, you’re trying to gauge what their motivation is for seeking you out again. Are they back because they think you’re a pushover and will accept their treatment? Did they really miss you and want to try again? Make sure they’re very specific. Don’t accept vague answers like “I missed you.” He/she should articulate what about your relationship they missed. If their response mainly focuses on how you made them feel, you know they’re only back for selfish reasons.
What should you do when your friends with benefits ghosts you and then comes back?
It’s challenging to navigate a Friends With Benefits (FWB) situation. Having someone you can call when you’re feeling the need for sexual gratification without having to put in any work to maintain a relationship is fun…until it’s not.
Because you’re not dating but you’re not strangers, it’s challenging to identify when you’re crossing over into relationship territory.
Expecting regular communication is relationship territory. But is delaying a response for a couple of days or weeks ghosting? It certainly is not polite, but is it something you can get angry about in an FWB situation?
Remember, you can’t expect relationship behavior from someone you are not in a relationship with. Unless you’ve laid out definite rules guiding your FWB interactions, you really cannot be upset if they don’t respond immediately or even for some days. They could also be busy with their life or in a relationship or any number of reasons.
The main point is, that in an FWB, you’re not in a position to get angry or have your feelings hurt. This is purely a no-strings-attached sexual transaction, without the exchange of money. Technically, you don’t have to like each other or have anything in common outside your arrangement.
However, if their lack of response is really affecting you, you might want to consider the possibility that you are developing deeper feelings for them, subconsciously. This could even be the reason they’re ghosting you. Maybe they’ve picked up on your feelings and don’t want the relationship that you’re unknowingly pushing for.
When you find that little things like this are starting to annoy you in your FWB situation, acknowledge the possibility that your feelings are changing. Take a step back, examine your feelings, communicate with your FWB partner, and end your arrangement or change the trajectory of your arrangement.
What should you do if you get ghosted again by the same person?
Being ghosted once is rough, but being ghosted for a second time and by the same person is a hit that will cause you to question your judgment for a long time. In a situation like this, the one thing you must keep in mind is that the problem is not you. The problem is most definitely the other person.
If two trips on this chaotic, indecisive relationship train are enough for you, please get off this ride. Dust yourself off and move on to someone who will not treat you like a toy. If you had been ghosted by this person only once, then you could argue that it was a mistake or an inability to properly communicate on their part. But a second time shows a pattern. This is how they treat their partners in relationships.
It has absolutely nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them and what they think you’ll let them get away with. If you’re being ghosted by a narcissist, they’ll even convince you they’re leaving because you’re making them because of your (insert perceived fault). If you would just change (insert perceived fault) they wouldn’t feel the need to disappear. They might even try to convince you of how lucky you are that they come back to you periodically at all.
The truth is, if a ghoster thinks you’ll always be available to them whenever they decide to come back, they’ll continue playing hot and cold with your emotions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can change them or make them feel secure enough to stay. They won’t.
They are using tactics that work for them. The only thing that can make them stop is if you stop playing their games. When they’ve seen that you’re serious about moving on and not taking them back, then they’ll realize that their actions have consequences. This may not be a benefit to you, but to the person after you.
What does ghosting say about a person?
Ghosting says a lot about a person and none of it is good. First of all, it shows an inability to handle relationships maturely. For example, a mature person in a relationship who is no longer interested in the other person would communicate this in a clear and gentle manner. Someone who lacks either maturity or good communication skills would just stop responding to texts or phone calls.
A ghoster is also someone who doesn’t really take the other person’s feelings into consideration. Even if the ghoster claims to have acted in this manner because he/she didn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings by being truthful about not wanting to continue a relationship, it still shows little to no respect for the other person’s feelings.
Think about it, the ghoster doesn’t want to feel bad, so they ignore the other person and disappear. This will still cause the other person to feel bad, but because the ghoster will not be around to witness it, ghosting is the chosen method for ending the relationship. At the end of the day, the ghoster is prioritizing their feelings ahead of the feelings of the other person.
Someone who ghosts another person shows they are not a dependable partner. A person you can depend or rely on is someone who communicates honestly. Even if the news is bad, they will tell you the truth. You can trust them to keep their promises and always be honest with you.
According to a study titled Leaving without a word: Ghosting and the Dark Triad traits, people with high Dark Triad traits (i.e., psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) rated ghosting as an acceptable means to end short-term relationships. The study also showed that people who reported ghosting someone in the past and found it to be an acceptable means of ending a relationship were typically Machiavellian and psychopathic.
Now, this doesn’t mean everyone who chooses to ghost a person has dark triad traits. But it is worrisome that ghosters choose a method that is preferred by people who have an inflated sense of self, a tendency towards manipulation, self-serving calculated social strategies, play games, lack impulse control, and are callous.
People who have been ghosted in the past would probably agree that the person who ghosted them shared some of the qualities of those with dark triad traits.
What does the saying “If someone ghosts you, respect the dead and move on” mean?
“If someone ghosts you, respect the dead and move on” simply means do not go back. The relationship is dead. There is no going back to ask questions, try again, or give another chance. Once someone is dead, they stay dead. They don’t come back to life. The only thing you can do is mourn them and learn to live without them.
If someone ghosts you, take it as the end of the relationship. The relationship cannot be revived. Mourn the relationship and learn how to live without it. When the person who ghosted you returns, don’t respond and don’t engage. Respect the dead relationship, remember it fondly (or not, depending on how it was), grieve ‘what could have been,’ and move on.
How many days of no contact is ghosting?
The number of days of no contact before concluding you’ve been ghosted varies depending on how often you were communicating normally. But generally, it is anywhere from 2 days to a week.
If you normally text the person you’re dating and get a reply within minutes or at max a few hours, you might even start wondering what’s going on when you haven’t heard from them in an entire day. But if you communicate sporadically here and there, you can give them a few days before concluding you’ve been ghosted.
While they may be caught up in some sort of emergency, you can send an “are you ok” text to show concern and remind them you haven’t heard from them in a bit. When they see your text, they’ll likely respond, giving highlights of the challenges they are facing if an emergency is taking their attention away.
But any emergency that keeps them from contacting you for longer than a week had better be of massive proportions, otherwise you’re showing them that your time is not valuable and they can get away with this type of behavior.
You may also like:
- 14 Reasons Why People Ghost (+ How To Get Over Being Ghosted)
- How To Get Over A Crush: 12 Tips To Help You Move On
- 18 Signs He’s Not That Into You And It’s Time To Move On
- When And What To Text After A First Date
- 9 Signs Of Breadcrumbing + How To Deal With Someone Who Does It
- 7 Simple Ways To Trust Your Gut Instincts In A Relationship