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‘Ghosting’: Why people do it and its psychological impact

Shoppers at a mall send text messages using mobile phones September 9, 2009
Shoppers at a mall send text messages using mobile phones September 9, 2009

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Orbiting, zombieing, breadcrumbing… these are only a few trends that have emerged in today’s digital age of social media and online dating.

But the most ubiquitous of them all might be the dating trend known as “ghosting.” According to the Urban Dictionary, ghosting is “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.” The phenomenon, however, has since surpassed dating and made its way into friendships and even the labor market.

So why do people choose to “ghost” their partners or friends? And what consequences does it have on people on the receiving end? If you’ve ever ghosted someone, what led you to make that decision? And if you’ve ever been ghosted, what impact did it have on you? Call us and weigh in at 866-893-5722.

With guest host ​Libby Denkmann


Ebony A. Utley, professor of communication studies at California State University, Long Beach; she tweets @u_experience

Cortney S. Warren, clinical psychologist, adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Nevada School of Medicine; she tweets @DrCortneyWarren