GHOSTING: Leaving a party, event, or group surreptitiously or without saying goodbye


I’ve done it. You’ve done it.  It happens all the time.

You’ve done your duty and attended the party you didn’t want to come to.   For whatever reason, it was clear that you were just a token invitation.   Nobody seems to want to talk with you.  The food is terrible.   You have to pay for your drinks.   The music is loud and bad.  The host is all caught up in schmoozing with big shots and hasn’t even acknowledged your presence.

Without a word to anyone, except the person checking coats, you work your way to the door (front or back) and simply walk out.  Taking advantage of your freedom you find your way to a nice cocktail lounge and have a wonderful evening surrounded by friendly people who appreciate your presence.

Oh, it’s not always that dramatic.   Sometimes it’s just a boring event that doesn’t need you there, and you and your spouse decide that it’s okay to depart.   There’s nobody around to thank…the host/hostess has disappeared with friends to some other part of the house.  So you just leave.

It’s called ghosting, and there’s no need for a lengthy research to discover the meaning of the word.  You become a ghost.*

I remember my wife and I being invited to the wedding reception of a couple we  knew somewhat.   I thought I had played a significant role in their  wedding.   It was clear from the first moment that they couldn’t figure out why we were there.   Somebody had screwed up and invited us!   They even said so…in so many words.   We didn’t even have a drink.   We worked our way to the other side of the room and disappeared.  I’m sure we weren’t missed.  We went to a nearby restaurant to have lunch and discovered another couple who had done the same thing!   We reveled in our ghosting.

The significance of ghosting is that everybody is a winner.  The hosts haven’t missed you.  You are glad to be free.  There’s nothing worse than hanging around a function where you don’t want to be.   Just do it.   Ghost!


Photo Credit:  Mark M. Miller

*When I was in High School I had an English teacher, Miss Dolan, who would create a ghost at the drop of the hat.  If you hadn’t done your homework, weren’t paying attention, or something else that “broke the rules” she put you in a seat at the back of the room.  You had to be present; you had to do the work everyone else was doing; but you were invisible. You wouldn’t be called upon; you weren’t acknowledged.   It was a very effective punishment.  Another form of ghosting, but it wasn’t your idea…it was hers.

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