There is a buzz word in recent years having to do with relationships called “ghosting”. According to the modern definition of the term, ghosting refers to the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.
Although the term seems to refer mostly to romantic relationships, it also refers to all other relationships such as friends, acquaintances, even family. With the prevalence of dating apps in the modern world of dating, the idea of ghosting seems also to point to the idea of wanting to move on to someone better if the customer of the app is unhappy. There is, of course, much more to ghosting than this aspect alone. Ghosting can affect a variety of interpersonal relationships aside from dating.
What is the Catholic perspective of ghosting? Is ghosting a sinful behavior? Is there a better way to end a relationship than to be unresponsive to the other? We will explore these questions below.
Who are ghosters?
In any relationship, there comes a time that personalities come forth in getting to know someone. We quickly learn that things are not always “smooth sailing” in this regard. When this occurs, it truly depends on the personality types of the individuals as to the outcome of that relationship. Some people can easily speak their feelings and confront negativity or disagreement without feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Others are somewhere in the middle, but they deal with confrontation as best they can. Then there are others who at the heart of it all are passive aggressive individuals. They may even be narcissistic personalities as well. Fear is a factor in this type of behavior in terms of the reasons behind it.
Passive aggressive behavior is when a person displays a pattern of behavior where they mask their hostility with subtly aggressive actions toward others. These are people who would seem to have the hardest time with any kind of real confrontation. Additionally, passive aggressive people can sometimes come off as sarcastic or avoidant. Although there are exceptions to any rule, ghosters are highly likely to also be passive aggressive personalities.
Why do people ghost others?
Whether it is a romantic relationship, a friendship, a relative, or someone else, most people have been ghosted at least once or twice in their lives. Passive aggressive individuals and those who tend toward “me-centered” behavior may or may not understand the damage they do to others when they end relationships by cutting ties with little to no explanation.
To get inside the minds to better understand those who partake in this behavior may be difficult to do. It is best to move on instead of attempting to figure it out, although it may be challenging. For those who are traumatized by this behavior, seeking counseling or the advice of a trusted mentor is a good idea. As people of faith, we can pray when this occurs in life. Seeking God’s wisdom through prayer can aid in finding answers to those tough questions of life.
Is it sinful to ghost someone?
If a person has been abused, treated unfairly, or is in an unsafe situation with an individual, getting out of a traumatic situation as quickly as possible would indicate to be the right decision. Safety is first.
In those safe situations, where the ghoster decides to end things because they are tired of the person or because they simply didn’t feel like having to explain themselves, this is much different. This behavior is indicative of uncharitable and unkind behavior for sure.
Sins of omission are ones where we will not perform a certain right action. The right action in ending relationships properly is to attempt to talk to the person about it, if able. Again, if it is an abusive relationship, that is different. In those situations, seeking safety and support is primary.
Ghosters tend to lack courage. They prefer to walk away than to face the person they wish to no longer befriend or have a relationship with. If you have been ghosted, keep in mind it says a lot about the other person in terms of their actions. It is definitely not about you. Since the behavior of ghosting is uncharitable, it would indicate an area of that person’s life that they need to take the Lord for forgiveness. Mean and unkind behavior toward others is sinful, make no mistake.
As Catholics and people of faith, we are called to treat others with kindness, dignity, and respect. Ghosting is uncharitable if the underlying reasons for doing so are selfishness and avoidance for the sake of taking the easy way out. This behavior is against what we believe is right as people of faith striving to treat others with due justice. We must always remember that the way we treat people in life has great bearing on our souls. Therefore, in most cases, ghosting is a wrong behavior which needs to be brought before the Lord for forgiveness.
Healing from ghosting
For people of faith, we must remember that imitation of Christ is our goal. Christ was hurt, humiliated, and yes, even ghosted. Toward the end of his life, most of his friends and followers abandoned him. In the end he gave his life for us through the Paschal Mystery of our faith. Because of his love for humanity through the ultimate sacrifice of his life, we are saved through God’s grace.
To be healed after being ghosted by a former relationship, a friend, or someone else, remember God’s great love for you. He is on your side. He will never abandon you. God has great plans for you. Pray for your enemies and pray for yourself too. Continue the journey of love each day with full trust in God’s providence. The relationship may be over permanently between you and your former friend but remember that God will provide all that you need in the future including good and healthy relationships with other people. May God be with you.