A new study shows that “ghosting” has negative consequences
For this study, researchers at the University of Vienna in Austria wanted to delve deeper into an understudied part of ghosts: ghosts in friendship. Specifically, they wanted to see why people see romantic partners as opposed to friends, and the effect this has on both the person who was ghosted and the “ghost” themselves.
To do this, they interviewed young people about ghosts and their influence, asking questions about communicative overload, self-esteem, depressive tendencies, etc.
And based on the responses, it seems that there are very different motivations for ghosting different people. Specifically, participants reported ghosting romantic partners due to communication overload (eg, feeling surrounded by text messages), whereas ghosting in friendships was more related to self-esteem issues.
“Friend ghosting predicted self-esteem,” the study authors wrote, adding that, in particular, “ghosting others in romantic relationships did not affect well-being, whereas friend ghosting increased depressive tendencies over time, demonstrating that ghosting is not only harmful to those who are ghosts, but can also negatively affect those who are ghosts of others.’
So, while the results of this study differ in various nuances, it’s clear that no one wins when it comes to halos. Namely, if one of your friends can see you, you can check them.
Knowing that ghosting friendships is associated with increased depressive tendencies, the study authors note that further research is needed to investigate the link between mental health and ghosting. “Depending on the relationship in which ghosting occurs, it is based on different antecedents and can have different detrimental effects on the ghost’s well-being,” they add.