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Dating Apps: Why People ‘Ghost’ And What To Do About It

woman being ghosted on a dating app

12 minutes read –

The big question on most singles’ minds nowadays: “Why do people ghost? Was it me? Did I say something, or maybe say too much? Why does this always happen to me? Am I enough?” Ghosting is when someone you’ve been talking to suddenly disappears without explanation, leaving you feeling confused, hurt, and questioning your self-worth. But what if I told you that there’s a way to navigate this experience with grace, resilience, and a stoic mindset?

Social media has added many positive benefits to our lives, but one big negative one has been the impact of ghosting. The online world has created a cowardly shield for singles to hide behind on dating apps. The ability to just disappear oftentimes makes it easier than having to have a real conversation or express one’s true feelings authentically. Numerous singles hide behind their phones or laptops without conscious introspection as to how they may be impacting another human being. Not to mention, the lack of accountability and integrity that one is also subconsciously programming into their own world of what is acceptable and what is not. 

Why Do People Ghost?

As a professional matchmaker, relationship coach, and stoicism enthusiast, I can attest, that it oftentimes has nothing to do with you. Any judgments or decisions that happen before actually spending time getting to know a person, are often a direct reflection of that person’s internal world. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether you’re enough or not. Here are the most common reasons why people “ghost”:

  • Fear of Confrontation: Many people find it difficult to confront others, especially when it comes to potentially uncomfortable conversations about ending a relationship or communicating their disinterest. Ghosting can be seen as an avoidance tactic to sidestep these confrontations altogether.
  • Lack of Communication Skills: Some individuals may struggle with effectively communicating their feelings or intentions. They may feel uncertain about how to express themselves honestly or fear that their words may hurt the other person, leading them to opt for silence instead.
  • Conflict Avoidance: In situations where there has been a disagreement or misunderstanding, some people may choose to ghost as a way to avoid dealing with the conflict altogether. They may perceive ghosting as the easiest way to exit the situation without having to engage in potentially difficult or uncomfortable discussions.
  • Emotional Immaturity: Immaturity or emotional unavailability can also contribute to ghosting behavior. Some individuals may not fully grasp the impact of their actions on others or may prioritize their own feelings and needs above those of the person they are dating.
  • Lack of Interest: In some cases, people may simply lose interest or become disengaged from the dating process without feeling the need to provide an explanation. They may view ghosting as a convenient way to signal their disinterest without having to explicitly communicate it.
  • Overwhelm or Burnout: In today’s fast-paced world of online dating and constant connectivity, some individuals may experience overwhelm or burnout from juggling multiple conversations and potential matches. Ghosting can sometimes be a result of feeling overwhelmed or emotionally exhausted by the dating process.
  • External Circumstances: Life circumstances, such as personal or professional commitments, may also play a role in ghosting behavior. Someone who is dealing with stress, major life changes, or other priorities may unintentionally neglect or withdraw from their dating interactions without intending to ghost.
Man walking while scrolling on a dating app

Understanding Ghosting from a Stoic Perspective

First and foremost, let’s dissect what ghosting truly represents from a Stoic viewpoint. Stoicism teaches us to focus on what is within our control and to accept what is not. When someone ghosts you, it’s an action that lies outside of your control. You cannot force someone to communicate with you or behave in a certain way. However, what you can control is your own response to the situation.

Marcus Aurelius, a prominent Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor, famously said, “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” This quote encapsulates the essence of Stoicism and serves as a guiding principle in navigating the ups and downs of life, including the experience of ghosting in dating.

In early dating, it’s easy to presume the worst, as our brains naturally put us in fight or flight protection mode. However, the real secret here is detachment. The more attached you are to an outcome, expectation, situation, or even individual, the more suffering you potentially bring into your life. We can’t control how other people act, think, or behave, but we can control our authenticity, self-awareness, perspective, and personal judgment. Next time you find yourself questioning your presence in online dating, remember that we do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. Everything is a mirror of our internal world. 

People don’t experience life, they experience the life they focus on. If you’re happy, you’re eliminating all the things you could be frustrated, worried, or pissed off about. If you’re unhappy, you’re removing all the things that could be great in your life. However, our brains are so conditioned to delete, destroy, and generalize that it’s often easier to focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. So if you don’t direct it, you get whatever shows up. What’s wrong is always available, what’s right is also always available. It’s just a matter of which one you pick. What you focus on multiplies. 

Tools for Overcoming Ghosting

Friends socializing while eating icecream accepting themselves, their growth and gratitude
Cultivate Self-Awareness:

Start by examining your own feelings and reactions to being ghosted. Are you feeling hurt, rejected, or unworthy? Recognize that these emotions are natural, but they don’t define you. By cultivating self-awareness, you can begin to separate your sense of self-worth from external validation.

Example: Sarah had been talking to John for several weeks, and they seemed to hit it off. Suddenly, John stopped responding to her messages, leaving her feeling confused and insecure. Instead of dwelling on why John ghosted her, Sarah took a step back to reflect on her own worth and value as a person. She reminded herself that her happiness and self-esteem are not dependent on John’s actions.

Practice Acceptance:

Once you’ve acknowledged your emotions, practice accepting the reality of the situation. Ghosting may feel unfair or hurtful, but resisting it will only prolong your suffering. Embrace the idea that people come into our lives for various reasons, and sometimes they leave just as quickly.

Example: Mark had been dating Emily for a few months when she suddenly stopped responding to his calls and texts. Instead of dwelling on what went wrong or chasing after closure, Mark chose to accept that Emily had decided to move on. He acknowledged his feelings of disappointment but focused on moving forward with dignity and grace.

Focus on Growth:

Use the experience of ghosting as an opportunity for personal growth and introspection. Ask yourself what lessons you can learn from this experience and how you can emerge stronger and more resilient.

Example: After being ghosted by Tom, Lisa took some time to reflect on her dating patterns and relationship expectations. She realized that she had been placing too much emphasis on external validation and decided to prioritize self-love and authenticity moving forward. Through this process of self-discovery, Lisa transformed the experience of ghosting into an opportunity for personal growth.

Practice Gratitude:

Cultivate a sense of gratitude for the lessons learned and the experiences gained, even if they come in unexpected or painful forms. Gratitude can help shift your perspective from one of victimhood to one of empowerment.

Example: Despite feeling hurt and disappointed by Michael’s sudden disappearance, Anna chose to focus on the positive aspects of their brief relationship. She appreciated the moments of connection they shared and the insights gained about her own desires and boundaries. By practicing gratitude, Anna was able to let go of resentment and embrace the possibilities that lay ahead.

Practice Detachment

Detachment does not mean apathy or indifference; rather, it’s the ability to let go of attachment to specific outcomes. By detaching yourself from the need for closure or validation from others, you free yourself from unnecessary suffering.

Remember, you have the power to control your thoughts and actions, regardless of external circumstances. So embrace the journey, learn from the experience, and trust that the right person will come into your life at the right time. When one door closes, it provides the opportunity for 5 more to open. It’s all about perspective. If someone is choosing to remove themselves from your life, treat that as a gift. The right partner will show up, communicate efficiently, and be accountable to their word.

Embrace the journey

Remember, you have the power to control your thoughts and actions, regardless of external circumstances. So embrace the journey, learn from the experience, and trust that the right person will come into your life at the right time. When one door closes, it provides the opportunity for 5 more to open. It’s all about perspective. If someone is choosing to remove themselves from your life, treat that as a gift. The right partner will show up, communicate efficiently, and be accountable to their word.

If you’re currently burnt out from online dating and are looking for a new way to meet appreciative conscious singles, matchmaking offers a fresh perspective on dating with less wasted time and more compatible partners. Struggling with the mental warfare and microrejections that are ever present in your dating life? Then finding a mentor or coach in the dating world will help guide you through and offer valuable insights into new avenues to approach dating and romantic relationships.

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