How to stop ghosting

Ghosting, the act of abruptly cutting off contact with someone without explanation, has become an all-too-common phenomenon. And while there’s a lot of advice out there for people who have been ghosted, what if you’re the one doing the ghosting?  

Maybe you recently ghosted someone, and it didn’t feel right, or perhaps this is something you do regularly and don’t know how to stop. Maybe you think it’s harmless or deserved. In some cases you may even be right. So, let’s see what might be going on to help you decide if it’s a behaviour you'd like to change. 

What is ghosting? 

Ghosting is the sudden act of cutting off all communication with someone with zero warning or justification, usually in the context of someone you’re dating, although it can also refer to friendships, work relationships and even family. 

The problem is it can leave the other person with no understanding what has gone wrong, often causing feelings of confusion as they’ve been denied clarity or closure.  

If you tend to suddenly cut off communication with someone when your feelings are hurt or you’re no longer interested in them without having an open conversation with them, you might be ghosting. 

Why do people ghost? 

People ghost for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes it's a way to avoid confrontation or uncomfortable conversations. Other times, it's a fear of commitment or a reaction to feeling overwhelmed by the pace of a budding romance.  

We’re all human, and with that comes behaviours that aren’t always healthy but provide a feeling of safety around us, such as ghosting. That said, understanding the root of these behaviours and working to develop better communication strategies is an important part of paving the way to healthy and meaningful relationships in the future.

Fear of confrontation 

You might want to avoid an uncomfortable conversation where you could hurt someone’s feelings or have to share your vulnerability. Ghosting can feel like an escape route when faced with the prospect of confrontation, but ultimately it usually causes more hurt to the other person than an honest conversation would have. 


When things feel like they’re moving too fast in a new relationship, feelings of panic can come up about commitment and the future. It might feel safer to vanish into thin air than to face the issue head on, either out of self-sabotage or simply because you don’t like the direction the relationship is heading in. 


It’s common for one person to feel more decisive about the direction of a relationship than another in the beginning. The guilt of this can make it feel difficult to breach the subject of ending things. This indecision can lead someone to ghost, as it may feel like they’re not actively ending the relationship, nor deciding to stay in it. However, ghosting is in fact a definitive action that sends a strong indirect message to the person on the receiving end. 

When is it ok to ghost someone? 

While ghosting isn’t usually recommended there are a few scenarios where some individuals might consider ghosting as a last resort.  These include if you have genuine concerns about your safety or wellbeing when communicating with someone. If someone is emotionally abusive or displays red flags when you’re dating, ghosting may be a way to protect yourself from further harm, depending on the situation. Reaching out to somebody who can support you such as a friend, family member, counsellor or the national domestic abuse helpline  is usually a good idea. Your safety is the most important thing here and if you are in immediate danger, call the police.  

How to stop ghosting 

If you’re not careful, ghosting can become a habit that becomes harder and harder to break. Although it may feel easier, ultimately, you’re preventing yourself from learning the communication skills to effectively deal with conflict in future relationships and causing hurt to more people on the receiving end. 

Here are some actionable steps to break free from the ghosting cycle: 

Think about why your ghosting 

Understanding what difficult emotions you’re trying to avoid by ghosting is the first step to breaking the habit. Are you trying to avoid the responsibility of hurting someone? Or perhaps you’re afraid of what hurtful things they might say in response to you ending things? Having awareness of the underlying cause will help you to move forward in a more positive way. 

Practice honesty 

Cultivate a habit of being honest with yourself and others about your feelings. This means being true to yourself even when it might disappoint others – in fact, especially, when it might disappoint others if you tend to ‘people-please’.  

Develop communication skills 

Learn how to express yourself clearly and respectfully, even when it’s uncomfortable. Letting people down is a necessary part of life and it’s kinder to be honest with people than leave them without any explanation or closure. 

Seek support 

If you’re struggling to break out of the habit of ghosting alone, you might want to work with a therapist to develop the tools you need. Relate therapists are experts in communication and dating and can help you work through any blocks you might be experiencing. 

Breaking free from the ghosting cycle not only improves your romantic interactions but also paves the way for more meaningful connections. It’s about ditching the sheet of avoidance and stepping into open communication and more genuine relationships.  

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