In defence of ghosting

Today I’m going to go out on a limb and say something that I’m sure an awful lot of people are going to disagree with. This doesn’t come easily to me as I very much like to be right all the time and I want other people to like me, but I think it’s good sometimes to challenge yourself, so here goes…

I don’t think ghosting is that bad.


There, I said it. I don’t think ghosting is always the absolutely appalling way to behave that a lot of people make it out to be, and I bet that secretly I’m not alone. I have been ghosted and I have ghosted other people and I’m comfortable with both.

I wonder if being self-employed for over a decade has toughened me to it. I’m forever sending pitches or replies to enquiries about my blog and hearing nothing back. Sometimes this is just after one email, but sometimes it’s after a whole string, planning a project, picking dates and then just nothing. I am fine with this. I get it. Sometimes stuff doesn’t work out, people are busy. It’s not a big deal to me.

For anyone who’s not entirely certain what ghosting means, it’s essentially when you just stop communicating with someone, normally someone you’ve been dating or chatting to online as a potential partner. It might be that you’ve just exchanged a few messages with them on Tinder or it might be that you’ve been actively dating for a while.

Now while I don’t condone ghosting if you’ve actually built up a reasonably serious or intimate relationship, I think that at the chatting stage, or after just a date or two, it’s perfectly acceptable to just STOP. Sure it might be annoying if you’re on the receiving end and have felt like there was a connection there, but is it really the end of the world? No.

I’ve had plenty of people do this to me and I’ve done it to other people too and I know that 99% of the time it’s not about the other person. Wasting hours desperate to know ‘what you did wrong’ is pointless because it’s very probably nothing to do with you at all. It’s because the other person got busy or scared or bored or changed their mind or WHATEVER, the fact is that it doesn’t matter. Move on.

I read a lot of people saying that they would just rather KNOW, that it’s always better to be honest, but is it? Would someone rather I said to them ‘honestly I just found your conversation boring’? I don’t think they would.

For a lot of people ghosting comes down to wanting to feel in control. Being ghosted takes away all the control and can, if you let it, leave you feels powerless. The truth of life though  – NEWSFLASH – is that you can’t control other people, all you can control is your reaction to their behaviour, and so it’s up to you to choose to move on, to accept that that person clearly wasn’t right for you, and leave it at that.

I also don’t like the idea perpetuated by the ghosting critics that we always OWE somebody something. You don’t owe anybody anything, unless you’re their mother or married to them or what have you.

You don’t OWE a man an explanation for not wanting to talk to him any more, just because you happened to match on a dating app and chat for a few weeks. You are completely at liberty to stop talking to anyone at any point. In fact you are at liberty to do this even if you ARE their mother or married to them, you just have to be prepared to accept the consequences. (I wrote about this idea of choice and only needing to face the consequences quite recently if you fancy a read.)

I actually think that I could have been spared a lot of heartache when I was younger if I had not felt like I owed so much to people. If I had always been able to say ‘this isn’t for me thanks, and I don’t need to justify it’ then I’m sure I wouldn’t have wasted so much time with so many awful men just because I felt I needed a better reason to leave than ‘I don’t want to be with you anymore.’

Nowadays if I ghost someone I find it liberating. It makes me feel like I have control over my own decisions and reminds me that it’s okay to put myself first. If I’ve been chatting to someone for a few weeks and then been on a date with them, but then just didn’t have a good feeling about it, I feel okay about ending it there. I don’t owe them a reason.

So that’s my potentially unpopular opinion of the day – I don’t think ghosting is that bad.

What do you think? Is ghosting ever okay and where do the boundaries lie for you?


Is ghosting okay?

Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash





  1. F M
    12 January, 2022 / 4:51 pm

    Totally agree! I think most of the upset come from friendships and not casual acquaintances.

    I’ve had to ghost a lot of friendships that weren’t good for me. I’ve tried the nice way and explained what’s not working for me or that ‘we aren’t good for each other’, and for some reason that’s not enough. (I think because usually that friendship is one sided and so works very well for them!). They were bringing out the worst in me and felt I still owed them something.

    Anyhow, I think we should reserved people the right to ghost someone who isn’t good to them. A one sided friendship isn’t nice. Ultimately these people will always feel like it’s unfair because they lost someone who was good to them.

    So whenever I hear of someone who has been ghosted, it reveals a lot about them. That person probably tried many times to approach the problems and I’ve no doubt they either didn’t hear them or care or see it as an issue to fix. They are usually quite self involved, and of course always like to be the ‘victim’. Usually, the one who has been ghosted is more likely to be the victim.

  2. Susan B
    13 January, 2022 / 5:06 am

    In personal life, it is understandable. However, in business, it is inexcusable.

    • Jo Middleton
      25 January, 2022 / 12:54 pm

      Oh that’s really interesting because probably I’d say I expect it even more in business! I wonder if it depends on the industry? Definitely when I’ve worked more in journalism I would pitch loads of often hear nothing back, or have someone express an interest in an idea and then go cold.

  3. sarah burton
    14 January, 2022 / 3:23 pm

    I’ve ghosted many people over the years, but it’s more of a I don’t have time at the moment to reply, scenario. Then weeks or months have passed and then it seems too late. But I don’t have a problem with it, its just they aren’t a priority at the time.

    • Jo Middleton
      25 January, 2022 / 12:54 pm

      Yep, I do exactly this, and I figure if I’m not making it a priority then it just isn’t a priority, and that’s okay.

  4. 14 January, 2022 / 4:14 pm

    I was ghosted by a guy I’d been seeing for a year. In fairness we started slow and only got slower and it made me available for meeting someone nicer, which I did, and we married, and still are. So I’m kind of ok with it, but then kind of cross he didn’t have the guts to tell me he was finishing with me and it’s the why that lingers with me.

    • Jo Middleton
      25 January, 2022 / 12:52 pm

      Oh wow yeah I can totally see why you’d be pissed off after a year – that’s really not okay!

  5. 15 January, 2022 / 9:01 pm

    Oh my goodness, I loved this post!

    Danielle |

  6. 24 January, 2022 / 1:05 pm

    Exactly. If I don’t hear from someone for a while, and the ball of the last message was sent to their court by me, I assume they’ve become a ghost and move on. But I am an overwhelmed procrastinator who has rarely thought, “I’ll never respond to x again” – I just don’t at the time, and sometimes that’s it. I believe this may be happening if someone ghosts me. I might be disappointed not to be their top priority, but I can draw that conclusion in peace and quiet.

    Though I might not reply to a message, it’s not malicious. Normal communication doesn’t goad me into decisively breaking contact, though harrassment might. If someone insists on KNOWING and bombards me with contact attempts, they might get some bluntness if that’s what it takes to make them go away.

    Seems masochistic to me – I’ve been through enough pain and rejection. I’m quite happy to go about my business and casually think, oh, x never emailed, okay, never mind. That’s not a referendum on my awesomeness. If I WANT to be in touch with someone I will make sure I am. If I can find the time if I want to, anyone can. Sometimes I need time to reflect, and if the other person interrupts that, then I definitely decide against. So I’ll do the same for others.

    • Jo Middleton
      25 January, 2022 / 12:56 pm

      I totally agree with all of this, and just like you say it’s about drawing that conclusion in peace and quiet, on your own time, without it having to be a huge deal that suddenly that other person owes you a massive explanation. We all lead busy lives, let’s just accept that people move on and not stress over it.

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