‘Ghosting’ phenomenon leaves students ignored

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While some students ghost their friends, others get ghosted themselves. Photo illustration by Nico Hernandez
While some students ghost their friends, others get ghosted themselves. Photo illustration by Nico Hernandez

Reported by Tanner Bokor

The dubious practice of ending relationships without explanation wasn’t pioneered by millennials, despite a stereotype that they are using the tactic more than any other generation.

Fortune published a blog post in March alleging that ‘ghosting’ — or a sudden halt in contact between friends, lovers or family members — has become more prevalent among millennials over the past few years. The post cited a 2016 Plenty of Fish poll, which found that 78 per cent of millennials reported having been ghosted. The Voice set out to determine the validity of these claims.

Friends vanish from students’ lives

A Langara student named Veronika, who asked that her full name be withheld to protect the privacy of her ex-partner, said contact with her boyfriend ended so abruptly that she was left with more questions than answers.

“It was like a light switch was turned off,” she said. “One day, they just stopped talking to me, and that was it. Done.”

Sarah Wong, a Langara marketing student who admitted to having ghosted someone in the past, said part of the practice stems from an urge to avoid direct confrontation.

“A lot of people are afraid to reject others, I feel, so they’ll say yes at first, but when the days come, they’ll make up an excuse,” Wong said.

Mahfuja Dewan, a Langara nursing student, said that her experience of being ghosted was an isolating one.

“Friends just started not talking to me anymore and pulled away,” said Dewan. “I just felt ignored.”

The Voice reached out to six sociology and psychology professors from UBC, SFU and Langara to ask whether millennials are more prone to seeing relationships end in such an abrupt manner. None of them had heard of ghosting as a phenomenon or of any mainstream research on the topic.

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