There is nothing I have grown to hate more than the dreaded ‘read’ receipt on iMessage or the sinister empty arrow on Snapchat. “Are you still talking to that guy?” “No, he has been ghosting me for a couple of weeks.” If you have not said this before in your life, you have probably heard someone else say it.
From an outsider’s perspective, there are so many questions. Was this a relationship? Did they have actual face-to-face interactions or was it strictly over a keyboard? And what in the world is ‘ghosting’? Welcome to the new age of relationships.
To be honest, I was not prepared for this type of culture shock when I started college last fall.
Call me a hopeless romantic, an old soul, or maybe an idiot, but I always had a more traditional view when it came to having romantic relationships with people.
For one thing, I always thought relationships consisted of unapologetically chivalrous behavior.
You know, that whole door opening, hand holding, always giving meaningful eye contact type of thing.
Compared to my glossy perception of relationships, this was nowhere near the reality of it all.
The tarnished reality that we live in consists of limited face-to-face communication, casual intimacy, and ultimately defacing human emotion.
This brings into question, is chivalry on a college campus a wounded animal that is begging to be put out of its misery?
Let’s talk about social media first. Social media has become a necessity in recent years, especially for the younger generation. We depend on it for nearly every form of communication, whether it is academic, social, professional, and now romantic. More and more individuals are meeting and forming relationships with social media sites.
All you need is a screen and a keyboard.
I have listened to conversations about relationships that are only legitimate over Snapchat. While I’m not bashing relationships that are born out of social media, I do think it has potential to become problematic.
For one, it makes it easier to deface human emotions and throw the basic communicative skills of human interaction out the window. What we have found out over the last couple of years (this is still a fairly new phenomenon) is that it is so much easier to “break up” or simply stop talking to someone when it is over text or Snapchat.
Because of this, this has birthed the terms ‘ghosting’ and being ‘haunted’. ‘Ghosting’ is simply never responding to a person. Maybe one day you both were Snapchatting and he or she left your picture on open. It’s been about a week since that happened. You, my friend, are being ghosted.
‘Haunting’ on another hand, is an arguably more of a psychological game being played opposed to being ghosted. Haunting occurs when a past significant other occasionally makes an appearance on your social media feed. Maybe they were the first one to watch your Snapchat story for five consecutive days in a row. Maybe they liked your post on Instagram for the first time in what has felt like forever. Why are they doing this? Are they trying to let you know they are thinking about you? This is haunting.
Both actions are just ways to avoid communication when it comes to ending things with people. Hiding behind a screen to do the dreaded break up talk is so much easier than having that same conversation in person. But now, it has been taken one step further to the point where individuals don’t even feel it is necessary to have that conversation. It’s on my phone so it doesn’t matter, right?
In many ways, being ghosted and haunted is just plain annoying.
Many times, we don’t even really think about it, because it is something that just happens now. We’ve become acclimated to it. However, there are repercussions because of this. While this may only be a behavior observed on social media, I do think there is a correlation to be made about how individuals, especially college students, treat relationships with regards to the way they treat communication on social media.
Now I know what you are thinking. This is somehow turning into another article about how women are falling victim to the barbaric, chivalrous male. While there is some truth in that statement and how I speak from experience that there are some guys out there that should major in ghosting, the male gender is not entirely to blame.
Women, although slightly more uncommon, have grown accustomed to ghosting guys on social media.
The same answer I stated before: No one wants to have to deal with that face-to-face interaction of ending things.
When nearly every aspect of communication occurs on a screen it is easier to emotionally detach from it, disregarding that there is a human capable of emotion hiding behind that screen. So, it is not just a gender thing, it is a generational thing.Call me what you want, but I for one find this new trend in communication when it comes to relationships slightly disturbing for our society. While it has become a norm for many, we are now running the risk of permanently damaging the way in which we decide to treat relationships and interactions with other people, especially romance. Will we outgrow this trend or as long as the internet is around, is it here to stay