Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Been Ghosted? 6 Smart Ways to Respond and Recover

Including the four different types of ghosts.

Karen Nimmo
4 min readApr 20, 2020

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“Love did not work with that person. But it can work with another.” — Eva Longoria

You thought it was going so well.

You’d been dating a while, you’d talked about everything — you’d gone beyond the shallow stuff, you seemed to hit it off.

You liked him; he seemed to like you back. Yeah, you thought. I’m ready to take this up a notch.

Then — whoosh. Gone. Just like a, well ghost. No replies to your messages, no contact, nothing. As if he never existed. As if you made him up.

You’re upset. More than that, you’re humiliated. Your confidence is all over the floor. Those self-flagellating thoughts creep in: What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t he like me? What’s wrong with me?

What to do?

Been ghosted?

Ghosting is the practice of ending a relationship by suddenly (and without explanation) withdrawing from all communication. The ghost ignores your attempts to contact them — it’s as if you’d never had any contact at all.

Because ghosting is a form of rejection it stings — even when you barely know someone or they’re not particularly important to you. It may raise historical issues around rejection or abandonment, as well as taking a swing at your self-worth, which might already be fragile in the relationship space.

Poor form, right? But it’s also extremely common and — in the era of small screens — it’s not going away. So here’s a guide for getting to the other side.

6 Smart Ways to Respond and Recover from Ghosting

1. Don’t chase ghosts.

They’re not coming back and you know it. So don’t try to justify their behaviour or hand them an excuse. Like their mother got sick or they’ve been crazy busy at work or they’re a little bit depressed.

Sadly, it doesn’t matter what was going on for them — the simple truth is you were not high enough on their priorities to rate a call. Or even a text message. So put away your…

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Karen Nimmo

Clinical psychologist, author of 4 books. Editor of On the Couch: Practical psychology for health and happiness. karen@onthecouch.co.nz