In 2015, after a hot and heavy public romance and engagement, Charlize Theron and Sean Penn split or more accurately, according to media outlets, Sean Penn got “ghosted”.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, here is the Urban Dictionary Definition for Ghosting:

The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.

Have you ever been dating someone and they just stopped responding to your text messages? Have you ever made a plan with someone and when you try to follow up, you never hear from them again? If so, then you’ve been ghosted too.

What I am talking about in today’s video is this social/dating phenomenon of ghosting, which, as stated in the definition above, is when someone just disappears, like a ghost, out of your life. This isn’t a new phenomenon in life, there will always be people who are incapable of having an honest conversation about their desire to end a relationship. Over the last fifteen years, the depersonalization of being online or on apps has really made this phenomenon worse than it was because there’s much less accountability with this new dating paradigm.

In this week’s Real Love Revolution video, I will be covering:

  • The definition of ghosting
  • Why this phenomenon is recurring today
  • The signs that someone could be a potential ghoster
  • How to avoid being ghosted

In its simplest form, ghosting indicates emotional immaturity. @terri_cole (Click to Tweet!)

Most of us don’t want to have the hard conversation of breaking up with someone but not having it is hurtful and childish. In today’s dating world, a text stating, “You’re lovely but I don’t think we’re a match. I wish you the best” is all it takes to properly end a relationship and the fact that so many people would rather run away and hide speaks to a greater shift in our social landscape. Back in the day, we met potential mates through family and friends in a very localized manner. The likelihood that you would see cousin Betty again after you broke up with her friend was pretty much guaranteed. This is obviously no longer the case. Whether it’s a lack of social pressure to adhere to behavioral norms or the anonymity of the online/app world, ghosting is something to be understood so you can avoid becoming a statistic.

There are some tell tale behavioral signs of someone who is about to ghost you or would possibly ghost you in the future. One is that you are always messaging first, always the one trying to coordinate, always the one coming up with date ideas. If someone wants to date you, they will put in the effort. If someone wants to date you, they will find the time in their schedule to do so. It’s really that easy. Another sign of someone who might ghost you is them finding a reason to cut the date short – this is a way to put distance between you, and keep you off balance.

The next part of this ghosting video series is how to get over being ghosted and understand your response to this phenomenon. I promise you that people are out there and are a little bit nuts, yes, but this is also about you. If this has happened to you multiple times, I’m not saying you’re causing it, but something about the way that you’re interacting with them, and your low expectation is adding to you being a target for someone disappearing. In next week’s video, I’ll also talk about if you are ghosting people – why you’re doing it and what will happen karmically if you don’t stop!


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.

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*Featured image courtesy of Giuseppe Milo