to ghost or not to ghost?

When Teens Ghost Each Other, Should Moms Intervene?

A 15-year-old girl says her mom is pressuring her to talk to a boy she ghosted.

Originally Published: 
A teen wants to know if her mom should pressure her into not ghosting a boy.
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No one — and I mean absolutely no one — likes getting ghosted. It’s rude, it’s uncalled for, and it’s often just not necessary. How hard is it to communicate how you feel to someone before leaving them high and dry? It takes 30 seconds to say not to ghosting and send someone a text that says, “Not interested.”

But also: should you actively prevent your teenage kids from ghosting other teenagers? It’s a tough call. This week in Reddit’s Relationships sub-forum, a 15-year-old girl had a very tough question to answer: it is right that her mom is pressuring her to talk to a boy she’s ghosting because she feels uncomfortable talking to him?

Here’s what she has to say.

“A boy I'm friends with asked me out a few weeks ago through text and I very awkwardly rejected him, he played it off I guess as best as he could but things got really awkward fast. I feel like it was at the back both of our minds what happened and I started feeling uncomfortable talking to him... I know it's not nice, but I ghosted him,” she explained.

She thought that was the end of it, but now their moms are talking and intervening in the situation.

“Now this boy I normally see every few weeks and we otherwise text, but I stopped responding to his texts,” she continues. “I also haven't seen him in a few weeks. He apparently got his mom to message my mom asking why I haven't been responding to people (he's in the center of our friend group so I wasn't able to tell anyone what happened. I was honestly planning on just drifting away). My mom got involved, told me I can't ghost people and that I can't just cut contact. I'm uncomfortable and I don't want to talk to him.”

Down in the comments people had lots of thoughts, and many of them were against parent intervention in this situation.

“Ask your mom why she thinks his feelings are more important than yours. You don't want to talk to him and shouldn't be forced to do so,” read the most popular comment. “If you do respond, tell him that it made you uncomfortable when he asked you out and you have no interest in him that way. Wish him luck finding another girl. Then stop responding altogether. No reason to be mean to him, but no means no and he needs to learn that, like yesterday.”

Another reader pointed out that the boy’s actions are manipulative and he needs to learn that.

“Be clear with your mother,” they wrote. “'I feel like this will send him the message that he can manipulate people to talk to him and me that I need to talk to people I don't want to talk to. That doesn't seem healthy or fair for anyone.' Because in the end it is your mother making the biggest mistake here. She should have your back, she should have told that friend's mother to go eat spiders. You should be free to stop talking to anyone you like and she should be more than happy to respect that.”

Another put it more succinctly: “You do not owe this boy anything. You never have to talk to someone you don’t want to in life. Sometimes being rude is necessary especially with very pushy men.”

Is this really about socializing the girl in this scenario? That’s what one reader thought.

“[This is] a great example of how girls are pressured and socialized with ‘good girl training,’” they wrote.” We are taught it’s our job to cater to others feelings even if we’re uncomfortable. OPs mom probably doesn’t even fully realize what she’s doing because she was raised with the same good girl training. It’s normal to her.”

Wow, that’s a bit of an a-ha moment.

So, to summarize: ghosting sucks. But sometimes, especially if you’ve already clearly rejected someone, it’s necessary to leave an uncomfortable situation behind. And moms? Although it might feel like you’re teaching your daughter an anti-ghosting lesson, what you might actually be doing is teaching her another lesson: to ignore her feelings in favor of a man’s feelings.

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