About a month ago, I met a woman from Austria. She told me that she moved to the U.S. six years ago to advance her career. Two years into her stay, she fell in love with a guy she met, and after four years of dating, they decided to move in together. They signed the lease to their new apartment, and she never heard from him again. She believes he ghosted her.

Being ghosted is an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but everyday people become excited about getting to know someone, only for them to seemingly fall off of the face of the earth. It’s selfish as hell to ghost someone, not to mention just plain punk behavior. I could spend the next 500 characters talking trash about people who believe in ghosting others, but I’d rather assist those who are left with the short end of the stick. Here are four ways to deal with getting ghosted.

1. Don’t take it personal. 

Unless you are just a complete a**hole, most times you’ve done nothing wrong to deserve such dismissive treatment. The person who decided that your feelings were not worthy of being acknowledged is at fault. No matter the excuse, their decision to no longer call, text, or see you is on them. Do not take on the burden of thinking you’ve done something wrong.

2. Do not feel ashamed.

Listen. You held up your end of the bargain by being consistent, expressing interest, and leaving the lines of communication open. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of, so don’t be. It’s normal for ghosting to sting. But blaming yourself absolves the offender of doing what he or she is supposed to do, which is to effectively communicate that they’re no longer interested.

3. Give them the benefit of the doubt, but don’t make excuses for them.

While ghosting is extremely selfish, understand that not everyone is good at confrontation. Sometimes a person thinks they’re doing someone a favor by not speaking to them without any explanation. There is also a possibility that the reason for their disappearance may be too embarrassing to detail. Some people ghost folks as a way to avoid hurting feelings. What they do not realize is that they hurt the person even more, and they leave them feeling disappointed and confused. Whatever you do, don’t waste time attempting to justify their behavior. Only they can tell you why they did what they did.

4. Be thankful for finding out they’re not worth of your time.

When getting to know someone, it is important to see them for who they really are. A person who straight up disappears on you without notice doesn’t seem very reliable, considerate, or worthy of your time. Unless some tragic event occurred, there is usually no good reason to ghost a good person. See them for exactly who they are.

Being ghosted triggers feelings of shame, disappointment, and thoughts of being disposable. But people are fickle and things happen. I believe that every “bad” instance can serve as a teachable moment. Take note of how an individual has decided to handle your presence (and feelings), and adjust accordingly.

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