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How long with no contact is considered ghosting?

Ghosting is when someone you are dating or in a relationship with completely cuts off contact and communication without warning or explanation. It can be hurtful, confusing, and frustrating when someone ghosts you seemingly out of the blue. So when is the cutoff for contact before ghosting has officially occurred? Here is a comprehensive look at how long without contact is typically considered ghosting.

What is Ghosting?

Ghosting refers to when someone you are dating or in a relationship with ends all communication and contact with you unexpectedly. This usually happens after a period of regular contact through calls, texts, social media, and in-person dates. Ghosting can occur after just a few dates with someone or after being in a long-term committed relationship.

Some key signs you have been ghosted include:

  • Your calls and texts go unanswered
  • They unfollow you on social media
  • They stop making or returning phone calls
  • They do not show up for planned dates
  • You have no way to contact them anymore

Ghosting is different than wanting space or needing a break from the relationship. With ghosting, there is zero contact and no explanation given for the disappearance. It can leave you wondering what happened and second guessing the relationship.

When is it Considered Ghosting?

There is no definitive timeframe that marks when someone has officially ghosted you. Ghosting can technically occur after just one unreturned text or call. However, most people do not consider it full-on ghosting until there is at least a week or two of no contact from the other person after previously regular communication.

Here is a general guideline for when no contact constitutes ghosting:

  • 24 hours – One missed call or text is not ghosting. Give them a day to respond before worrying.
  • 3 days – If you typically talked daily, 3 days of no contact is reason for concern. Try contacting them again.
  • 1 week – One full week without hearing from them is definitely ghosting, especially if you were in an established relationship.
  • 2+ weeks – At this point, 2 weeks of no contact means they have likely ghosted you and do not intend to reach out again.

The timeframe can also depend on your typical communication frequency. For example, if you normally spoke hourly throughout the day and suddenly hear nothing, just one day could qualify as ghosting. If you only talked once a week, it may take 2-3 weeks to be sure you have been ghosted.

Reasons People Ghost

There are a variety of reasons why someone might choose to cut off contact by ghosting. Some of the most common motivations for ghosting include:

  • They lost interest or met someone new
  • You had an argument or conflict
  • They started feeling closed off emotionally
  • They don’t want to deal with confrontation
  • They don’t want the pressure of formally ending things
  • Something happened in their personal life
  • They have other mental health issues or emotional struggles

Regardless of the reason, ghosting is often done to avoid an uncomfortable breakup conversation. Some people find it easier emotionally to quietly exit rather than formally end the relationship.

Is Ghosting Ever Acceptable?

In most cases, ghosting is widely viewed as an unacceptable and hurtful way to end a relationship. However, some situations where ghosting may be understandable or warranted include:

  • At the very beginning of dating someone new or after just 1-3 dates
  • After a casual hookup with no expectation of more
  • If you feel unsafe or threatened by the person
  • If they were displaying abusive or toxic behaviors
  • If they were cheating on a partner with you

Ghosting is still not recommended even in these situations, but there may be extenuating circumstances where cutting contact quickly seems safest emotionally or physically. Always do what feels right to protect yourself from harm.

Coping With Being Ghosted

Being on the receiving end of ghosting can be incredibly painful, especially if you shared a deeper connection with the person. Here are some tips for coping emotionally if you have been ghosted:

  • Give it time – The initial shock and confusion of being ghosted is normal. Allow yourself to feel those emotions.
  • Reflect – Think about whether any red flags were present you might have overlooked.
  • Stay busy – Dive into work, hobbies, family, and friendships to help fill your time.
  • Avoid checking-in – As hard as it is, try not to text or call them asking for an explanation.
  • Let it go – Ultimately, ghosting says more about their character than yours.

While hurtful, try not to take being ghosted too personally. Remind yourself of your self-worth and that in time the pain will pass.

How to Avoid Ghosting Someone

Ghosting should be avoided whenever possible. If you are no longer interested in someone, the kinder approach is to formally end contact with direct communication. Here are some tips for avoiding ghosting someone you have been dating or seeing:

  • Tell them you need to talk
  • Have the conversation in-person if possible
  • Be honest but kind with your reasons
  • Offer closure on the relationship status
  • Suggest taking space from each other
  • Unfollow/block if needed after talking
  • Return any of their items you have

Having this difficult conversation shows respect and maturity. Ghosting is often done out of avoidance of uncomfortable situations. But speaking directly can better provide the closure you both need to move forward.

When to Move On After Ghosting

If you have been ghosted, at what point should you try to move on? Here are some suggestions for when to give up hope of contact from the person who ghosted you:

  • After 2 unreturned texts spaced a few days apart asking to talk
  • After 1 week of no response to your calls/texts
  • When you have been blocked on all platforms
  • When they return no items you may have left at their place
  • When it has been 1 month with absolutely no contact
  • When mutual friends verify they have cut off communication

You never owe someone endless chances after being ghosted. If after a month they still will not communicate, it is safe to assume the relationship is over and it is time to move on.

The Takeaway

Ghosting is a hurtful experience, especially from someone you had a meaningful connection with. While definitions vary, most experts agree that one full week of no contact after previously regular communication can be considered full ghosting. If you have been ghosted, focus on self-care and moving forward. Consider it a reflection of the other person’s issues, not yours. Whenever possible, formally ending contact is kinder than ghosting.