Ghosting is defined as the practice of ending a personal relationship by
suddenly withdrawing from all communication, without explanation. The term seems like just another one of those viral words from the urban dictionary, such as “sauce”, “flexing”, “adulting” and so many others that have crept into our vocabulary. But ghosting has likely been around for centuries: before the internet, there just wasn’t a catchy term for it. Couples in the township have been known to resort to kushayisana ngomoya (also known as Kushayisana nge current) when the relationship is fraught with difficulties. Kushayisana ngomoya could mean anything from the silent treatment after an argument, to an unexplained breakup: either way, the practice has been around since long before the term became viral.
According to the Elite Daily website, as many as 78% of millennials have been ghosted at least once in their lives, and it appears that the practice thrives in the context of the digital world of snaps and chats. Technological developments in communication mean that these days we frame our understanding of ghosting within the context of behaviour on social-media, where people constantly block and delete each other.
“In psychology, ghosting equates to exclusion, isolation, ostracism, and being ignored,” says Karen Moross, a psychologist with the Family Life Centre (Famsa). “It leads to
misinterpretation. The victim will inevitably ask ‘Am I not good enough?’ and the
psychological effects are very damaging because ghosting is done with certain malice,” she says. “In most cases you can’t confront [the person doing the ghosting]. That’s the nature of online ghosting.”