9 Ways Ghosting Might Actually Be ... Good For You?

Sometimes leaving and saying nothing is the best thing you can do.

sad woman sitting in park looking at phone Boryana Manzurova / Shutterstock

By Sean Swaby

I love my family, I enjoy my relationships and I receive a great deal of satisfaction from my life.

But sometimes, I just need to disappear.

Juggling the demands of life can wear on you. Life can be like sandpaper, constantly scratching your edges. This is stimulating and life-giving. Sometimes you just want it to stop so your mind can catch up. But life doesn’t stop between floors.


RELATED: What My Therapist Told Me About Ghosting Changed My Whole Perspective

Pressures from work, social dynamics, taking care of your home and your body, parenting, and other serious adult responsibilities can feel like too much. I need to vacate. I find my solace in the basement, in the garage, or at some other undisclosed location.

It feels rude to say it, but I can be a Personal ghoster: I avoid, I go on an emotional vacation or I just walk away from things to unwind.

If you are a ghoster like me, you can relate to Parramore’s 2009 hit, “Misguided Ghosts.”

‘Cause I’m just one of those ghosts
Travelin’ endlessly
Don’t need no roads
In fact, they follow me
And we just go in circles


Ghosting stays with you like emotional echoes. Twenty years ago, I resigned from a job after several years of turmoil. When I left, I felt like I had failed myself and the people who hired me. I had a difficult time managing the hello/goodbye emotions and what I felt were awkward conversations. 

So I walked away. 

Numbers were exchanged, but I knew that would be the last time I made any contact.

Walking away from relationships with unsaid things chains you to your emotional ghosts. The ghosts look for ways to leave in peace, but they end up haunting you instead.

Ghosting happens when people disappear from a personal or a group relationship. Usually, ghosting involves giving no notice at all. A person just vanishes, unfriends you, and travels their road.


RELATED: Why You Should Ghost The Love Of Your Life

You have probably been ghosted and you may even have done it to someone.

  • According to a 2014 YouGov/Huffington Post survey of 1000 Adults, 11% of us admit to ghosting.  The numbers are low, but most ghosts I know don’t like polls… because we are ghosts.

Two of the more famous ghosters are Bruce Willis and Charlize Theron. Willis made a movie out of his ghosting experience, The Sixth Sense, and Theron ghosted Sean Penn, according to The New York Times.

Most of us are ghosts, but we usually don’t leave our lives or our relationships. We ghost in quieter, more subtle ways when we:

  • Tune out of conversations and engage in an inward conversation about how much we cannot stand this person, this experience, or the color of our shoes.
  • Vacate our bodies during a meeting.
  • Disappear from a family event for unknown reasons.
  • Avoid our feelings by drinking more alcohol, by eating our feelings (ie: vacATE), or by watching so much TV that we begin to identify with the Zombies.
  • Take three hours to get one item from the grocery store.
  • Use a novel like a paper shield.

Ghosting is a gender-neutral activity. Elle conducted an informal survey and found that 24% of women and 16% of men admit to Ghosting. If the numbers hold, men are not the vacaters, avoiders, or faders that we are purported to be. Ghosting is something we all do and it can even be fun.

Here are 9 ways ghosting might be good for you:

1. For art

Conceptual art or conceptual business ideas are nice, creative ideas that are not real yet. They exist on paper, but in reality, no one knows what it will ever look like or even if it will be born. Ghosting is a way of living conceptually. We exist, but not really.

2. For boundaries

You don’t have to say “no” when all that you do is “go.” The best boundary is being invisible.



RELATED: My Husband Ghosted Me —​ I Haven't Heard From Him In Months


3. For conservation.

Ghosting can save your words for important conversations. Contrary to the Twitterverse, life cannot be lived in 140 characters.

4. For fun

Strange things happen when you are a ghost. You see dead things.

5. For health

Ghosting is good for you because it involves exercise and vacationing. The Avo-iDance is good for your health, it does not require any equipment and you can do it anywhere. When you become good at ghosting, your vacationing becomes a Vaca-Shunning.

6. For protection

If you need to disappear for a while, ghosting skills may come in handy. Consider signing up for the gHosting program (ie: Gangster Hosting). You will have a really good reason for this one, “Honey, I won’t be gone long, I’m just in Canada in the Witness Protection Program.”


7. For recharging

My iPad ghosts whenever I run down the battery. If Apple tells me that it is okay for my iPad to go offline, then I am okay with it. Unplug, go offline, and emotionally recharge.



8. For revenge

Go ahead and ghost your haters, your spammers, your No Sayers, and your Gossips. Ghost the friends who are nothing more than walking beef jerky (skin + salt + 152 pounds of Jerk).

9. For superpowers

I am on a quest to build a super-hero tool belt and an array of super-spy gadgets. One of the earliest lessons I learned from watching Batman and James Bond was their ability to ghost. When I ghost, it’s just me keeping the edge of my superpowers. When you avoid it, you become a Void. You can never be hit if you were never there in the first place.


Ghosts wander until they find a home. “Hi, my name is Sean. I am a Personal Ghoster.” 

This week, be a Ghost and save your words for the important conversations.

RELATED: 'Love Dusting' Is The Horrifying New Dating Term —And It's Probably Happened To You

Sean Swaby is an Internationally Certified Clinical Addiction Counsellor and is a Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Psychotherapy and Counselling Association. He has been featured in Babble, The Mighty, the Good Men Project, and more.