Ghosting people, abruptly ending communication with someone without explanation, often refers to romantic relationships, but equally applies to friendships and even family and workplace relationships.
If there has been steady communication and suddenly you stop responding, the other person feels rejected, dropped, and even betrayed. There is no “break up” and no closure. It’s a terrible feeling!
It’s only polite, considerate, and respectful to let someone know that you aren’t interested in continuing your relationship as it is currently. Regardless, you don’t want to make an enemy for life, so the way in which you shift your relationship is vital.
Etiquette is always relational, situational, and contextual, so thinking ahead of time about how you want to come out on this can help.
In other words, choosing to separate from this person is about you and your needs. It is not about them or their needs. When you use “I” statements and avoid “You” statements, blame is shifted and your “responding-ability” is increased.
When a reader wrote to ask if there were a polite way for ghosting people, I had to confess that I have committed that rudeness in the past. Sometimes, we look for the easiest, smoothest way to exit a situation. And while it may work in the immediate present, not handling things in a way that honors the needs of both parties involved can come back on us in the future.
There isn’t just one way to separate yourself or end a relationship with someone, and a permanent ending may not be necessary. But taking the time to decide what the best method is for your situation will be worth it for your peace of mind.
Whether you or someone else has been ghosted, there will always be confusion. Empathy should be a number one priority, regardless of which side of the fence you are on.
There are very few circumstances in which ghosting people is the answer to ending a relationship or taking time to evaluate one. Being up front and honest in the kindest possible way, will always be appreciated and creates the opportunity for friendly terms in the future.