#SpecialGuest is a brand new ongoing series where mental health professionals and other experts share their insight and actionable tips on topics relevant to dating and anxious attachment. Future posts within this series can be found under the #SpecialGuest tag.
You're in the midst of talking to someone new, allowing yourself to get a bit excited, enjoying the conversation, maybe starting to see some potential and then one day you message them and it's crickets.
You tell yourself that they're just busy but deep down your gut is telling you that it's something more. Time passes, you hope they'll message you back but still, nothing. Eventually you realise that you've been ghosted. And it feels soul-crushing.
Ghosting is one of those things that no matter how many times it happens to you, you still feel like you don't know how to deal with it.
From the very beginning of my TikTok journey, long before this newsletter was thought of, ghosting has been a topic that comes up often.
Just over two weeks ago, I had the honour of interviewing Dr Natalie Jones PsyD LPCC so that she could provide her insight on ghosting.
Dr Jones is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of California (nationwide licensure pending) who provides counselling for professional people who are in the process of healing from narcissistic abuse.
She's also worked within the criminal justice system and does organizational consulting. Her consulting work focuses on helping companies humanize their employees.
Dr Jones is also the host of A Date With Darkness podcast, which focuses on the impact of narcissistic abuse and other relationship wounds on your well-being and provides tips to help you break free from unhealthy relationships.
➡️A few weeks before this interview, we spoke via Zoom to discuss my history and experiences with attachment issues and how I've processed having an anxious attachment style. You can listen to the episode here.
At the end of our discussion, I invited Dr Jones to be interviewed for the newsletter. This is how it went.
How would you describe ghosting to someone who has never heard the word before?
"There's a lot of different ways to describe ghosting. For me, it's when someone lacks the emotional maturity to express feelings, to have a difficult conversation or communicate their feelings, so they break all contact."
She continues, "people just don't want to feel uncomfortable, they don't want to have those uncomfortable conversations, they don't want to deal with the other person. There's a dehumanising aspect."
"Especially with online dating, you think, well, I've just met them, there's little emotional investment, I don't owe them anything, I'll just XYZ myself out of here."
What would be some red flags or signs that someone is about to ghost you or is potentially a ghoster?
"A lot of times, I would say 9.5 times out of 10, there's going to be an indication that someone is going to ghost you. You have to be able to pick up on it. Oftentimes, especially if we're talking about dating, someone will indicate that they've done this in the past."
"When you're going through those questions about past relationships, they'll tell you. They might not say outright that they ghosted, but they will say something that indicates that they ended the relationship without explanation and it takes further probing to get them to do that."
"There's also something that I like to call micro ghosting. Micro ghosting means you've probably seen some evidence of potential ghosting with you. For example, there might've been a period when they were interacting with you and they just disappeared unexplainably. It's a much shorter timeframe than ghosting, but they disappear and they don't communicate. I don't mean if they've disappeared for a few minutes. I'm talking about when they've disappeared for a few days and come back."