Are you single, or have been single recently?
Chances are, you’ve had the gut-wrenching, soul-crushing experience of being ghosted.
But in case you’re one of the lucky ones who hasn’t had the displeasure of this behaviour, ghosting refers to the act of suddenly ceasing communication with someone you’re dating.
Research suggests ghosting has significant negative consequences for mental health, triggering feelings of rejection and confusion which can deteriorate the ghostee’s feelings of self-worth and self-esteem in the short term.
“Part of the problem is the lack of clarity — not knowing why communication abruptly stopped,” said Royette T. Dubar, a professor of psychology who studies the role of tech use in relationships and wellbeing.
“Sometimes, an element of paranoia ensues as the ghostee tries to make sense of the situation.”
And in the long term?
“Some bring this mistrust to future relationships. With that may come internalising the rejection, self-blame and the potential to sabotage those subsequent relationships.”
But – ever the generation leading changing attitudes to mental wellbeing – it looks like Gen Z might be trying to end things with the emotionally destructive trend.
According to online dating app Bumble, 69% of Gen Zs think ghosting is inappropriate.
Just 1 in 5 Gen Zs consider ghosting to be a ‘normal phenomenon’.
On the flip side, 61% of Millennials think ghosting is inappropriate, and almost twice the number of Millennials than Gen Z consider ghosting a ‘normal phenomenon’.
So what’s behind the change?
Experts say it’s down to changing approaches to dating and communication styles.
Gen Zs have a far more laid-back approach to dating, preferring to keep it fun and casual, which might be the reason they’re keeping the conversation going.
And they might have a stronger anti-ghosting stance due to improved communication culture in the home.
“Gen Zers may have younger, more aware and more expressive parents who encourage their children to speak their minds and talk about their feelings,” said Carita Wong, a life and wellness coach at Table for Two.
Sounds pretty healthy to us.