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How 'ghosting' someone has become the new breakup

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You’ve started talking to someone new and things seem to be going really well. And then suddenly, they disappear. You double and triple text them over a few days only to find that they haven’t responded or even opened your message.

Why don’t they at least have the decency to reply back?

Whatever you want to call it – “ghosting,” “deading” or “stonewalling,” this sudden disappearance is just part of today’s hookup culture. Dating is no longer the norm in college; rather, it’s being together with someone for a few weeks and either becoming “official” or eventually growing tired of them.

Sometimes, ghosting is just a product of someone coming off too strong.

“If a guy keeps texting me over and over, I’m eventually just not going to respond,” said Jaime LaChapelle, a junior biology major. “I don’t really like texting to begin with, so if a guy texts me a lot I’ll just ignore him after a while.”

Whether it’s someone who’s too persistent or someone you’ve lost interest in, ghosting can be an easy way to avoid contact with someone you’ve made out with in the past.

According to sexologist Dr. Timaree Schmit, hookup culture is nothing new, but the label is.

“People have always had brief, sexual encounters,” Schmit said. “People like sex; they enjoy the physical pleasure, the validation, the fun, the peer approval. Sometimes they do it out of curiosity, to fill time, because they’re drunk. Hook ups aren’t inherently bad – it’s only negative if it leads to unethical, shallow, dishonest behavior.”

According to The Spectrum’s sex survey of 702 UB students, 52 percent have had a one-night stand. It’s a relatively common occurrence, which explains why ghosting has become such a phenomenon. Over 19 percent of students surveyed who said they have had a one-night stand said the most frequent outcome was to never talk to the other person again.

While it depends on the dynamic of the relationship, ghosting can be a product of a few different factors. Although it may seem crazy, some people aren’t on their phones all the time, which means they can accidently ignore messages. Others’ personalities don’t shine through via text messaging and some don’t like texting to begin with and will ignore anything that isn’t urgent.

Ghosting, though it can seem rude, can be an easy way to get out of talking to someone you didn’t really want to give your number to.

“I’ve had a boyfriend for so long, I don’t even really give out my number anymore,” said Maor Purnishman, a junior nursing major. “I don’t even give someone a chance to try to talk to me, I know I’m not going to hook up with him.”

Getting ghosted can be painful for those on the receiving end, especially if it happens unexpectedly, or worse – if “caught feelings.”

It almost feels like a breakup with someone – someone you didn’t have a real relationship with, but it’s still painful to stop talking to them.

While it may seem like ghosting happens often, Schmit reveals that young people today are actually doing better than their parent’s generation, the baby boomers.

“Young people today actually have sex with fewer people than the baby boomers did,” said Schmit. “But we’re more likely to have sex that leads to relationships, rather than the other way around.”

Don’t sweat it if it happens to you – getting ghosted just means it wasn’t going to work out and the other person stopped pursuing. Just remember – if you’re going to ghost somebody, there’s still a chance you’ll run into that person and you can’t avoid face-to-face interaction. 

Tori Roseman is the senior features editor and can be reached at tori.roseman@ubspectrum.com


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