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June 12, 2024 25 mins

Welcome to another episode of One Hot Mess with Brittany! In today's episode, we dive deep into the emotional and psychological impacts of ghosting. We'll discuss why people choose to ghost, the feelings it evokes in both the ghoster and the ghostee and the broader implications of this phenomenon in our personal and professional lives.

Drawing on a recent study, we explore the various reasons people ghost, from incompatibility to avoiding confrontation, and how these actions leave those on the receiving end in distress and feeling punished. Brittany also touches on the new terms of non-committal behaviors such as breadcrumbing, submarining, and orbiting, explaining how these actions are becoming increasingly normalized.

Learn about the emotional aftermath for ghosters, including feelings of relief, guilt, and sometimes complete detachment. Understand why ghosting deprives individuals of closure, leading to long-lasting emotional pain. Brittany shares insights on how these behaviors affect our mental health and offers advice on coping and maintaining your integrity in the face of disrespectful actions.

Whether you've been ghosted or are trying to understand why someone might disappear without a trace, this episode is packed with valuable information and practical tips. Tune in to gain a deeper understanding of ghosting and its ripple effects on our relationships and well-being.

Don't forget to hit the follow button and share One Hot Mess with a friend. Thanks for listening!

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.

What's up, guys? It's Brittany, and welcome to another episode of One Hot Mess.
So, today, we are going to talk about ghosting.
Why people ghost others and how it makes them feel.

Avoiding confrontation, but ignoring the cost. We can all agree that receiving
the silent treatment, it can be extremely painful or infuriating.
It leaves no space for discussing what the problem is.

And it leaves those receiving the silent treatment distressed and feeling punished. punish.
And in the recent years, a new term, ghosting, has been used to describe the
process of being cut off abruptly and without explanation by others.

And this can happen not only in dating situations, but also between friends and family members,
because this happens so frequently and and leads so many to feel the pain that
rejection inevitably will cause and researchers, they're trying to understand,

the process more thoroughly.
There was a recent study that was conducted in 2023,
and the interviews of 34 undergraduates who had ghosted others were analyzed.

And from this group, 68% of participants identified as female,
while 32% identified as male.
Additionally, 65% of participants identified as Latina as,
not as, and then 15% as Asian American, 12% as African American,

and 3% as European or European American, and 3% as Native Hawaiian,
Pacific Islander, and 3% as Middle Eastern.
Oh, so clearly this differs from the largely Caucasian groups who are often in studies,

and this study will need to be replicated on such samples in the future.
But they looked
at the aspects of
ghosting you know they were interested in
learning about the reasons that ghosters cut

people off and their attitudes toward ghosting and how the ghosters experience
the consequences of the ghosting process and the results were interesting and
And may help us not only understand the process of ghosting,
but also understand the type of person who is likely to ghost.

Now, why do people ghost to begin with, right?
Oh, my bad. The most frequently cited reason for ghosting was because of a clear
cause, including incompatibility, clinginess, inappropriate behavior,

or unreciprocated feelings.
And the second most common reason was to avoid confrontation.
The third most common reason was short-term orientation.
And this referred to not wanting a relationship with the ghostie,

but instead wanting some sort of short-term interaction, such as physical connection.
The fourth most frequently described reason for ghosting was feeling that the
ghostie didn't meet their standards or was socially inferior.
The ghoster's referred to the ghosties as needy, pushy, annoying,

insecure, jealous, and a whole host of other undesirable descriptions.
The third most common reason was their short-term orientation.

And this referred to not wanting a relationship.
I just said that. Did I not just repeat that? Oh my god. Anyway, my bad.
Okay, so anyway, moving on because I messed up there. My bad, guys.
So anyway, yes, some described having a fear of commitment, but in general,

the ghosters are probably not the partners for you.
And the takeaway is that if you're looking for a relationship,
then consider looking in a different direction.
So let's talk about the ghosting process.
Interestingly, most of the coasters did not begin the cutoff process by blocking.

They described initially trying
to just ignore the ghostie but then
they moved on to blocking if the ghostie continued their attempts to communicate
fucked up right and they reported that the ghosties attempted several methods
of communicating including reaching out to mutual connections,

directly communicating, and or via via via whatever social media activity.
And sometimes the ghoster's experienced stalking and would then move on to blocking.
So yeah, the takeaway here is that if one or two of your attempts to interact

are met with a lack of response, then move on from your ghoster.
Is just simply obviously not a good fit.
Must not be stalkers, alright guys? It is not cute. It is not a good look.
So, consequences for or of ghosting for the ghosters.

Ghosters describe feeling a variety of emotions post-ghosting.
They're emotional experiences. They're complicated. So, on the one hand,
they describe feeling relieved and happy.
On the other hand, they report feeling guilty, remorseful, regretful, sad, and even bad.

Many justify their behavior by engaging in cognitive dissonance.
An example of that might be that the ghostie was a bad person who didn't get
the message and needed to be cut off by all necessary measures.

Over time, some ghosters developed more remorse about having hurt someone while
others became more pleased with their decision. Hmm.
There was even a subgroup of ghosters who reported having no feelings at all. What the hell?

I mean, what? That's hard to imagine, but it was clearly their experience.
And most of the ghosters did recognize that they were hurting others,
and they reported understanding that direct communication is ideal,
deal, but nonetheless engaged in avoidant behavior.

So the takeaway here is primarily for ghosters, basically you are depriving
the ghosties of closure and lack of closure is very freaking painful, okay?
Chances are that ghosters will at some point be ghosted, so it's important to

To recognize the effects of your own actions.
Hmm. So. There's your little bit of knowledge on.
You know. Why people ghost. And blah blah blah blah blah.
I feel like it could have been a little more informative. But I apologize.

Okay. So yeah. I have a few different things that we can talk about.
And I don't know exactly if I want to let's see which direction to go in okay we got let's,
ways to recover from being ghosted, psychological truths about ghosting.

Oh, the terms of non-commitment, ghosting, breadcrumbing, and other non-committal behaviors,
I think we might do that one, or yeah, I think we're gonna hit up that one, because I like it, Okay,
I think you guys will enjoy it also because bread coming, why do I keep saying

bread coming? That's very weird.
Anyway, bread crumbing is like a new term to me. I've only heard it a couple times.
So, you know, disappearing acts and being strung along in careers and relationships. ships.
We're going to talk about that. And being ghosted is often a reason for initiating

an act of ghosting on someone else.
Ghosting, bread crumbing, and
orbiting are new
terms of non-committal behaviors
and all of these behaviors are increasingly normalized like what the hell have

you been the recipient of one too many disappearing acts like no shows or
mysteriously broken commitments.
Ghosting, defined by Merriam-Webster as to suddenly cut off all contact with someone,
well, it now seems to happen shamelessly in our close relationships as well as our careers.

And ghosting is truly on the rise with employees as well as job seekers, two-way street.
In February of 2021, it was stated that 77% of job seekers have been ghosted
by a prospective employer,

yet 76% of employers have been ghosted by a candidate or new hire who no-showed.
And in the world of dating though there
may have been a temporary dip in
ghostings during the first months or the
pandemic or whatever a recent study

indicated that those who have been ghosted
are likely to initiate ghosting on someone else so it appears that the normalization
of ghosting in one area of life such as career or business yeah it affects how
we treat our other relationships,

so maybe justin timberlake was right what goes around does come around right anyway.
In reading some more studies learned that the disrespectful act of ghosting
has a few close cousins, okay?

And discovered three related terms, which is bread crumbing,
submarining, and orbiting.
And these names perfectly illustrate the transactional behaviors that seem to
be escalating, especially on social media.
With one-click solutions we can rid ourselves of anyone we no longer need or

like without any explanation closure or accountability who needs a conscious
with tools like these right.
So bread crumbing is when someone appears to engage with you by leaving a trail

of breadcrumbs like little tidbits,
but never really commits to anything solid or specific.
And this is often called, or this pattern is often called stringing someone
along or keeping options open.
And then there's submarining.

Without notice, someone vanishes into a long period of non-communication,
such as going off the radar or diving deep into the void.
And then suddenly, they resurface again and reach out again as if nothing ever happened.
Freaking rude orbiting circling

around someone online following with
likes making your presence known but never
really making serious contact as an
orbiter your intentions may be good as
well as not so helpful but certainly you
are never reachable when that person you are

or orbiting tries
to contact you with a
phone call in real life you encounter so in short you're playing hard to pin
down but easy to be seen everywhere so indeed ghosting or ghosters often end
up being orbiters keeping an eye on you.

So guys, the bottom line here is these transactional behaviors are fast becoming
normalized as ways to treat one another as expendable commodities.
And even though we are supposed to believe that, not taking it personally is

the cure for all manner of disrespectful human needs, deeds,
needs, deeds, same thing.
The truth is this, well, it does hurt on some level because as humans,
we are hardwired for it to hurt.
We might rise above it, wear the bigger pants, dust ourselves off and move on,

but a ghosting by someone who was once close to us can still haunt us at 3 a.m. in a bad dream.
Humans are biologically invested in forming relationships and not meant to be
cut off suddenly or left hanging in oblivion up until smartphones and social media.

People didn't just disappear quite like that and they were more likely to be
shamed if they didn't if they did run away pull a no-show or drop out without a decent explanation.
All right, so let's talk about how ghosting, bread crumbing,

orbiting, and submarining can hurt us.
Well, first things first, there is real physical pain when we are ghosted,
shunned, flat out rejected, or just left hanging.
Physical and emotional pain are quite the same in our brains.
According to MRI studies reported by the APA since the early 2000s.

Number two, confusion, lack of closure, or no resolution can trigger self-doubt.
Hanging in limbo, we don't know what to do or how to respond.
Bond left in the murkiness our inner demons or inner critics have the opportunity
to run away or run around crazy in the shadows of our headspace and given the

uncertainty of the pandemic
and all that has gone on since
we may already have
felt lost or unsure
of ourselves and those of us who battle ptsd depression or social anxiety may

be even more haunted by these inner voices piling on after someone has ghosted
or breadcrumbed us so in short without closure and clarity,
we might default to finding something to blame in ourselves.
All right, so number three is an increase in a sense of loneliness and isolation.

A year's worth of ghostings, bread crumbings, and submarinings can leave us
feeling disconnected, disconnected isolated and discouraged from trying to meet.
Sorry guys I cannot keep my concentration today because I don't know what is up with me,

but um okay from trying to meet
new people because these feelings can be difficult to share with others.
We might hide our loneliness and put a fence around ourselves.
Staying home with Netflix, a cat on our lap, and a bowl of ice cream can be
a lot more satisfying than putting yourself out there.

Number four, we may actually be going through grief.
This could be disenfranchised grief, which is a term coined by grief researcher
Kenneth Doka in his book in 1989.
Disenfranchised grief, recognizing hidden sorrow.

True grief-free actions can develop on many levels and it's not just a matter of getting over it.
You know, you may be suffering through your own individual stages of grieving
with a messy mix of shock, anger, bargaining, sadness, or breakthrough periods of acceptance.

And no one goes through these stages in any particular order,
but you might recognize your feelings as a legitimate grief response to a significant loss.
Okay, so now here are some losses you might be grieving in relationships as

well as your career. Fear.
Loss of trust. You feel betrayed, manipulated, or misled, so you are grieving
the loss of trustworthiness in that person or group.
Loss of hope in the decency of people.
You rationalize that you must lower your expectations for future encounters.

Or worse, you write off most human beings as selfish, flaky,
mean, or some other not-so-kind attributes.
Loss of initiative. Alongside a lack of hopefulness, you just don't want to
try so hard anymore to do the right thing.

Why bother to reach out to others? Why be so thoughtful and considerate in your correspondence?
Loss of relationship. Whether you have bonded with a dynamic business partner,
or treasured a long friendship, or feel super excited by a new romance,

any erratic behavior that focuses or forces a loss makes grieving particularly difficult.
So acknowledge and name what has happened. First of all, call it out and give it a name.

Did you recently get ghosted, breadcrumbed, submarined, or orbited?
We can also honestly name our responses, such as grief, bitterness, fear.
And we can express our raw reactions in a journal or an art form or share our

story with a trusted friend.
It can be very helpful to ask someone to give you a reality check or to hear their.
Point of view of the rude behavior that you have encountered.
So the bigger picture, see the bigger picture and learn how to spot these problematic

behaviors in your personal and professional circles.
Because as you know, it's not about you.
It helps to learn more about
these societal habits and unhealthy social media trends clearly identifying
unethical behaviors and examining how to avoid work cultures or dating cultures

where these behaviors run rampant.
Aim to uphold your integrity and moral character.
So declare your intentions to to continue to be decent and considerate in your interactions.
There's no need to lower your standards just because so many others don't care.

You can claim your integrity because you didn't allow yourself to cave or flake
or be a jerk under pressure.
And be sure to prioritize your mental health.
If this experience continues to haunt you or has triggered you too much,
you know the deal an honest talk with someone who you trust or some kind of

therapy may help so set aside time to discuss ways to prevent further hurt from
ghosting and similar behaviors,
do we really want to treat each
other like devices to be
tossed like a spent burner
phone own definitely not so

let's stand up against the normalization
of treating people badly or
like shit all right y'all okay thank you so much for listening to today's episode
all about About ghosting and bread crumbing and orbiting and submarining.

Yes, I remember.
And all that stuff. I really appreciate it. Please make sure to hit that follow
button. And please share One Hot Mess with a friend.
And I will talk to you guys later.
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