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with Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., MFT

20 Signs a Lover or Friend May Eventually ‘Ghost’ You

Relationships that end when one person exits without any explanation and refuses to communicate further can be especially painful.

Here are 20 characteristics of people who have a higher tendency to “ghost” others. The more of these traits or behaviors a person has, the more likely he or she may be to vanish without a word.

People who ghost others tend to:

  1. Fear confrontation
  2. Be secretive or non self-disclosing
  3. Repeatedly become distant or aloof for no apparent reason
  4. Have few long-term friendships
  5. Initially idealize, then come to devalue other people
  6. Frequently fail to keep their promises
  7. Send mixed or vague messages
  8. Lie
  9. Be indirect
  10. Have met you anonymously, such as online, and have no friends in common with you
  11. Be reluctant to introduce you to friends and family
  12. Have an avoidant attachment style
  13. Be socially immature
  14. Be narcissistic
  15. Avoid taking responsibility for their actions
  16. Lack empathy
  17. Use or take advantage of others
  18. Be passive-aggressive
  19. Disparage their past long-term partners
  20. Stonewall or give you the silent treatment when upset

People ghost for many reasons. They may rationalize their behavior by telling themselves they are sparing you a difficult scene. They may have been ghosted themselves, and feel it is okay to do it. They may be secretly involved with more than one person. They may have had a bad experience in the past by being direct when they ended a relationship. They may feel unsure what they are feeling or unable to put it into words and simply vanish, hoping you will get the hint.

On a deeper level, people who leave without a word generally lack courage to have direct, potentially emotional conversations. They lack respect for others. They tend to be less committed to the relationship than the other person. They may be self-absorbed and care only about their own comfort

The emotional toll of being ghosted can be steep.

If you have been ghosted, you may feel discarded, unimportant, unworthy, or unattractive. You may feel baffled and have a strong desire to find out why the person left. It may feel hard to get closure. Especially if the other person seemed engaged in the relationship, attracted to you, and you shared good experiences, you may question or doubt yourself or blame yourself for their actions.

Being left by another without a word is not about you, it is about the other person. Whatever their reasons, their behavior tells you they don’t respect you (or themselves). As painful as it may be initially to recognize it, such a person is not healthy to be around. Reassure yourself that such behavior is immature, disrespectful, and not something you want in your life. Reach out to friends and others for support.

Copyright © Dan Neuharth PhD MFT

Photo credits:
Woman alone by Nadya Lukic
Dissolving partner by Pimchawee

20 Signs a Lover or Friend May Eventually ‘Ghost’ You

Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., MFT

Dan Neuharth, PhD, is a marriage and family therapist and best-selling author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has more than 25 years’ experience providing individual, couples and family therapy. Dr. Neuharth is the author of If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. He writes two blogs for PsychCentral: Love Matters and Narcissism Decoded. He is licensed as a marriage and family therapist in California, Florida, Texas and Virginia. His website:

Please note: Dr. Neuharth's posts are for information and educational purposes only. These posts are not intended to be therapy or professional psychotherapeutic advice, and are not a replacement for psychotherapy. I cannot give psychotherapeutic advice about your individual situation outside of a therapist-client relationship. The posting of these blogs and the information therein does not constitute the formation of a therapist-client relationship. Please consult your physician or mental health provider for individual advice or support for your health and well-being. If you are in crisis, please call your local 24-hour crisis or mental health hotline or dial 911.

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APA Reference
Neuharth, D. (2019). 20 Signs a Lover or Friend May Eventually ‘Ghost’ You. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Jul 2019
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