If you’ve ever been ghosted, you know that it hurts. If, on the other hand, you’ve ghosted someone else, you know how awfully convenient it can be. Whether you’re the ghoster or the ghostee, one thing is for sure: Ghosting is mighty common nowadays.
According to some measures, as much as 80 percent of millennials have been ghosted at least once in their lives. Maybe that explains the rise of a new genre of online narrative: the ghost story. Odds are that you can relate to a few of them.
As fans of the genre, we’ve been collecting our favorites for some time. But nothing could prepare us for the tale at the heart of this piece. We won’t give anything away, but let’s just say that not all those who are ghosted are victims.
(All of the stories in this piece come from Reddit posts, so we edited them for grammar and readability.)
“My best friend during high school was a couple years older than me, which meant she went off to college first,” wrote Othelianna. “She changed a lot during college (don’t we all?), and became someone I no longer liked or respected.”
“I didn’t know how to deal with it. I was 18 and stupid. So I slowly but surely ghosted her.”
“I still run into her sometimes, and she gives me sad puppy eyes, and I feel like the gigantic a**hole I am.”
“I went on a date with a dude who was totally gorgeous, and we were vibing so well (or so I thought!) wrote Jilltro.
“We made out and I was super into him. He told me that he used to cosplay as a Ghostbuster and then…he ghosted me! I got ghosted by a Ghostbuster!”
“We lived together and had discussed marriage paperwork,” wrote RadBenjamin.
“He came home [one night], started a fight, [and] disappeared the next morning. Total silence ever since.”
“A couple of days after he left, I learned all my accounts had been emptied before he bounced. He took the car and the dog. Two weeks later, I learned that he lied about signing the lease. The whole thing had been planned for several months, and I was none the wiser.”
Since this story was posted on Reddit, it’s racked up more than 75,000 likes and 4,500 comments. The post title is, you guessed it, “I ghosted my boyfriend of 5 years.”
“I came over to his house one morning to surprise him with breakfast and a video game he wanted, only to find him naked, asleep, and with his ex curled up in his arms,” wrote throwawayaccountrar.
“He didn’t hear me come in, so I closed his bedroom door and left his breakfast and game on the kitchen counter along with my key to his house.”
“I went to my car … and blocked him on all … forms of social media. I then called my phone provider to change my number before driving off.”
“I texted family members and close friends that we were no longer together, and [I told them] to block him on social media, as well. I didn’t tell them why.”
“I was in a position to end the lease at my apartment early, and I started a new job in a different city later that week.”
“I completely removed myself from him and didn’t offer a shred of explanation or opportunity for dialogue. I disappeared from his life after his betrayal, and I think it’ll not only help me to focus on myself without his presence, but I think completely shutting myself off from him will hurt worse than anything when he thinks on how good he had it with me these last five years.”
“I have only ever been ghosted once by a guy I regularly dated who was angry that I was three hours late the week before,” wrote slavicgypsygirl.
“It backfired, though, because I stayed at the venue, met many new people, and left with a certain musician.”
“When my regular date asked me how I liked being ghosted by him days later, I laughed and told him about my night.”
“We still date.”
“This is not my personal story, but my friend doesn’t have Reddit,” wrote MidgeletteIsTaken.
“She was in a committed relationship of three years. To my knowledge, and even her own knowledge, they had a perfect relationship. They had fun together, shared similar viewpoints, and [had] similar goals in the relationship and in life.”
“He had experienced a very traumatic event in his childhood, and to protect the privacy of those involved, I won’t speak as to what it was. But it never left him emotionally. He shared that with her, and even stated she was the only one he had told.”
“He called her one day to tell her he needed to spend some time alone, which wasn’t unusual because they were independent in the relationship, sometimes spending a few days apart. However, this was the last time she heard from him. He never called her again. It’s been a year and she hasn’t heard from him at all.”
“That is the worst ghosting story I’ve ever heard.”
“Needless to say, she was heartbroken and has spent a lot of time trying to figure out what happened. She still navigates emotions regarding this event, because for her, this was the most painful thing she could have experienced in the relationship.”
Ouch. That’s a bad one alright.
This story describes what happens when a guy ghosts you…but leaves something unpleasant behind for you to remember him by.
“I was hooking up with this guy for a semester my freshman year of college,” wrote premier-cat-arena. “He had all of the symptoms of mono, but wouldn’t go to the doctor.”
“He moved out of state, and a few weeks later I got mono. Two months later, he texts me out of the blue, and I told him he gave me mono. Then he ghosted me.”
“Now I have multiple autoimmune diseases triggered by that virus I got from a f***boy, and I had to take a break from college for a few years because of it! Yipee!”
“I dated a guy for over a month that I really liked,” wrote thekkid. “Up all night conversations, talks of the future—fell too hard, too fast.”
“Then one day, he stopped replying, and I [checked] his [social media], which contained all kinds of pictures I had never seen—we had been [online] friends, but those pictures were definitely not available—with him and his very pregnant fiancée.”
“That was a rough one. I grappled with whether or not to tell her, but opted not to. I still wonder if I made the right choice.”
That’s hard to say, but it’s pretty clear what’s going on in this next story.
“I bumped into a guy from my school a couple of years ago, who I hadn’t seen for years but had been pretty good friends with,” wrote BeautyDance.
“We exchanged numbers and went for coffee to catch up. We were chatting about our lives since school, what we’d been up to, etc. [The] conversation was going great.”
“I mentioned I was getting married, (he was already married), and started asking about his wedding day. Any tips, etc. He suddenly got rather funny. [He] stayed for about 10 or 15 more minutes and then left.”
“The only word I’ve heard from him since was a message about a week later, in which he accused me of leading him on. Since then, zip.”
“Oh, mine wasn’t a guy,” wrote Metal___Barbie. “I had been shadowing a doctor, and on the last day asked her if she’d write me a letter of recommendation.”
“I needed this letter of recommendation. Some of my schools I was applying to required one from specifically the kind of doctor she was.”
“She cheerfully agreed and went so far as saying, ‘I’ll be off tomorrow, but text me Friday and remind me!’”
“I text her Friday. No answer. I text her maybe 10 days later, no answer. On advice from Reddit Pre-med, I sent her a preliminary ‘thank-you’ card with a coffee shop gift card. No answer.”
“By now it’s application time and I can’t find another doctor of this type to let me shadow them, so I had to cut my school list all the way down to those who don’t absolutely require a letter. She really screwed me.”
“Last year, I met a guy on Okay Cupid,” wrote tipsygrape. “We chatted for a few weeks before meeting. He was super intrigued by me (he was 28 and I’m 45), so we really got to know each other.”
“Then we meet [and] have a great time. This continues every weekend. He’d come and stay the whole weekend and we’d make food and [hook up] and talk. It was awesome.”
“Three weeks later. He texts me that he’s eating some garbage food and wishes it was the breakfast that I usually make. I replied and never heard from him again. The next day I texted again a few times. Totally ghosted.”
Finally, here’s a story that has become all-too familiar in this era of ghosting.
“We met online, and he was eager to move things a lot faster than I was comfortable with, but I was 23 and thought, ‘What if this is meant to be?’ and just rolled with things,” wrote nottoosureaboutthat.
“By the end of the second month, he was calling me his fiancée and talking about us moving in together. We decided to spend Christmas Eve together, and everything was great.”
“We exchanged gifts on Christmas morning, and then he dropped me off at home, and that was the last time I heard from him. My mind ran through all the possible scenarios, as the silence didn’t make sense.”
“About a week into my anguish, I decided to call his job because, for all I knew, he could have been in a ditch somewhere. Guess who answered the phone?! He said he didn’t want to speak and that was as much closure as I got.”
“I looked him up on [social media] about two months after this whole thing, and his profile picture was of him and a woman. I ended up looking him up again about a year after, and the profile picture was of him on their wedding day.”
“The whole experience was a bit traumatizing, and I refused to date for about four years after this whole thing.”
Reading all these ghosting stories gives us an idea.
What if we agree to only ghost one another in extreme circumstances, like if you’ve been dating for five years and your partner cheats?
Ghosting is a potent weapon in the emotional arsenal. Deploying it for your own convenience is like reaching for the mustard gas when your neighbor doesn’t clean up after his dog; maybe a brief conversation is justified first.
If we all agree to think twice before hitting the “block” button, maybe someday fewer than 80 percent of us will have a ghost story of our own.