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The Ethics of Ghosting

P1: You’re still interested in a person and continue to communicate with them.

P2: The other party is no longer communicating.

P3: The other party is no longer interested.

C: You just got ghosted

Ghosting is an infamous, colloquial, and acceptable phenomenon in modern dating. It’s today’s euphemism for “no longer interested.” No one Loves being ghosted unless well, they were as enthusiastically disinterested in the other party as well. So that begs the question-when is it Good to ghost someone? Here’s my philosophical and applicable take on the ethics of ghosting.


Ghosting can only be Considered ghosting when communication and/or interaction has been opened in the first place. You can’t ghost someone or cut communication with someone if there wasn’t an exchange in the first place.


And what is considered “communication” can be subjectively interpreted. I think for the ghosting to have taken place, there should have been substantial communication either in quality OR quantity. If there was explicit romantic implication in question, then it’s considered ghosting. If there were multiple counts of active communication and engagement, then it’s ghosting.

It’s Not Ghosting, It’s Rejection

If it’s too early to even access a person, then it’s not ghosting. Without the threshold and the right context. It just isn't. It’s not ghosting if someone didn’t reciprocate your interest. It’s not ghosting also, if they didn’t reciprocate your enthusiasm. It's rejection.

Dating is just like the hiring process. Courtship has stages and so it’s not ghosting if the company of interest never called or returned your email or followed up even with a phone call. You just didn't make the cut.

By Association

Just like any investment, the more you put into something, the higher the stakes. So the more dates, conversations, and interactions you have with someone, the less ground you have to “ghost” usually.

It’s more approachable to ghost someone I went on one date with rather than 2 or 3 dates with.

Polite Filter

Sometimes, it’s more polite to not express disinterest and ghost instead. It might be imposing or ruder to have an assumption that the other party would want to be informed of your disinterest in the first place.

Technological Buffer

Tinder, Facebook, Snap Chat, Instagram are all platforms in which you can instantaneously connect with someone, and just as easily, part. If you have interacted with the person way more virtually than physically, then ghosting is not even a second thought. Technology, in essence, dilutes the confrontation.

When Ghosting is Justified

I think the most important factor to mull over when deciding to ghost or not, is to figure out if ghosting will aid or worsen the situation. Will it do more harm to ghost or less? Will it add more fire to reject someone explicitly (though still respectfully)? Ask yourself if it’s purely for the sake of your own feelings.

Ghosting may be necessary if even After you rejected someone directly and they still don’t understand. It may also be justified when the other party did something that warrants you to exit out of their life without explanation. I’m talking about that one killer bad ass example of a woman basically disappearing from her cheating soon-to-be-ex-bf’s life. Yeah. Ghosting’s pretty awesome then.

When Ghosting isn’t

This honestly, comes down to your own value system. If you personally believe that after an X amount of time or Y kind of relationship, that someone should have a face-to-face conversation with you about it not working, then it’s not acceptable; whereas if it was Z, ghosting’s acceptable to you. Conversely, someone who didn’t have X, Y, or Z, may Still want some explanation.

I’d say just stick to your value system and don’t treat someone in a way you wouldn’t want to be treated.


In today’s age, ghosting always happens and will continue to do so. Instead of feeling frustrated over someone ghosting, one should instead, give others the benefit of the doubt. Also, I think it’s healthy to be comfortable with rejection whether it be explicitly, implicitly, or Ghostly communicated. Live with ghosting. Don’t hate the ghoster. They are just phantoms after all.

Author Profile

Sarah Suhaimi practices 명음 by day and the art of dark chocolate bar swindling by night. She is currently working closely with a local Pittsburgh non-profit that serves sex-trafficked victims, Living in Liberty, as a volunteer and grant proposal writer. She founded the Southeast Asian Student Alliance (SEASA) at her university, and, as well, the "Offer Islam Campaign." Her works vary from prose to poetry to articles. Her published works include, ‘The Home of an Immigrant’s Daughter’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2012 Dublin Biennial, Dublin, Ireland and ‘Hidden Beauty Reveals Itself (Intellect Vs Instinct)’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2011 Florence Biennale VIII, Florence, Italy.

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