In honour of this spooky season, four women regale us with their (chilling) stories of ghosting and being ghosted.
Ghosting may be a byproduct of online dating but it’s far from a worrying trend; the millennial version of ‘the silent treatment’ modernly re-vamped to reference the complete and utter disappearance of a potential love interest or friend from your life, with zero warning, almost as if you’d never met them. This form of cutting of ties in a relationship or friendship involves effectively ignoring someone until they get the hint – no painful final message, call or text required.
In honour of this spooky season, yours truly has gathered several stories from women about their (chilling) tales of ghosting and being ghosted. If you feel daring, scroll on. Full names have been omitted (to protect the innocent) but the moral of the story is – don’t make like Halloween and ghost. It never ends well.
“He was weirded out by my Halloween costume”
“We met about six weeks before Halloween,” Anna says. “It was one of those rare matchings where everything is going so well really early on – too well as I soon found out. We spoke every single day, went out during the week so I figured it was ok to ask him to my friends annual Halloween party; we’d all be dressed up so it was safe enough territory.
“This particular year I went all-out and dressed up as an extra-creepy version of Medusa, coloured contacts and all. That should have been a warning sign; he barely made an effort with a costume. He went quiet from the minute he saw me. I put it down to him being nervous but from the next day, he stopped responding to any contact. I ran into a mutual friend of ours weeks later who mumbled something about my costume weirding him out and (I’m not even making this up) that it reminded him of an ex(!!). I think I had a lucky escape. ”
“I ran into him on a date with my friend”
“In this instance, it was me who did the ghosting,” Sarah says when we start to chat. “I felt guilty about doing it – it was only my second ever time to do so – mostly because it wasn’t really the guy’s fault. I was in a bad place with my anxiety and, despite seeing him a few times, my heart wasn’t in it as I felt we didn’t have a real spark. I chickened out; I should have just told him. He kept trying to get in touch and eventually, after a few weeks, he got the message with my totally ignoring him (awful I know).
“But then I was out for Sunday for lunch and who ends up sitting at the next table? Himself, on a date with a friend I knew quite well. It was torture; neither of us wanted to admit we knew each other to save an awkward conversation and I couldn’t look him in the eye. I was so desperate to leave quietly that I messaged a friend to ring and tell me about an ’emergency.’ I still haven’t been back to that place for lunch; I’m too afraid I’ll run into him because I’m so mortified about the whole thing.”
“I’ve been ghosted by the intern”
Apparently, the latest trend in ghosting is now to bring it outside the dating world – and into the workplace. Amy says that she had an intern ghost her – and to this day it remains the strangest thing ever. “I was in a fairly new managerial position and was told I could hire an intern. I was thrilled (it made me feel like a ‘real manager’) and spent a lot of time looking at CVs to set up interviews so I could hire just the right candidate.
“This one girl was really strong on paper and I was anxious to get her in for an interview. I called and followed up the next day with an email. A week passed and nothing so I sent one final email. Two days later she emailed me to apologise for the silence and asked to come in for an interview. I set it up for the following week and nothing – she didn’t show up and no sign of an email. She then sent another email the next day, saying a sudden family tragedy had come up and could she please come in the following day for an interview. Again; the same thing. It was so weird and bizarre, all that effort for nothing.”
“It’s still something I feel awful about”
Ainé explained that her ghosting experience left her with a permanently guilty conscience. “She, let’s call her L, was my best friend. From when we were five, through to college years; we were inseparable. I told her everything, we were never apart – and then her behaviour drastically changed when I announced I was engaged. She would get annoyed if my attention deviated from her for even half an hour to talk wedding plans; she would make cruel comments in front of our friends and put me down whenever she got a chance – it was toxic.
“I see now that it was jealousy – and looking back, there were so many early signs – so I very suddenly cut all contact when it got to breaking point. I’ve only seen her once since and even then it was excruciating because we still have a lot of the same friends, and she told them that my ‘treatment’ of her had brought up her dormant anxiety. She’s treated many people the same way but I still feel awful about it – like it was all my fault.”
This article was originally published in October 2021.