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Forums » RP Discussion » Ghosting: Why do we do it?

This is my question since I've just been randomly ghosted about.. twelve times in the past week. I don't ghost on purpose, sometimes I'll mentally reply to things, but forget I actually didn't, but that's just me. I know most of us hate when it happens, and I want to know why it makes you mad and why people mainly ghost.

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afternoon edit: Since my post somehow wasn't nuked for being too funny let me point out it can be as not-on-purpose for them as it is for you, and "most of us hate when it happens" is the kind of assumption that squicks others in the first place. There'd be less ghosting if there was less judgment when people aren't their best selves in a comfort hobby. Happy Halloween!
Kim Site Admin

People stop communicating because there's some problem they don't feel safe explaining, usually because they have seen a red flag and have been traumatized in the past, because they were never taught the skills to deal with saying no, or both. Or, in some cases life got in the way and they are dealing with something IRL that has prevented them from logging in.

I would like to direct everyone to this awesome and judgement-free topic once again: https://www.rprepository.com/community/forums/topic/71207
As someone with an unfortunate massive tendency to ghost people. I stop replying when I've had a really bad mood hit that made me lose muse for a character. Then I feel bad letting them know I have no desire to write my character at the moment. This is made worse with how COMICALLY unstable my mood is
Health reasons. Sometimes I end up sick for a week and then just forget. I've made sure to let every future partner know that it happens to me, and my health has been better lately so I update my status with things like "I might be slow for a bit" when I just can't reply every day. (I've also made an effort to just... not forget people. I have 2 sticky notes on my desk reminding me right now.)

I just assume people do it for life reasons themselves, but because I use Discord more than any other site, if I really like a partner, I'll just give them mine so we can stay in touch. I can usually talk casually but writing a character takes a great deal more energy even though I enjoy it.

I've just spent 2 days mostly sleeping off a lethargy that hits me hard sometimes and has no explanation so... yeah. Life is grand.
I've certainly had times where people assumed I had ghosted them and it was simply health related. It is hard for me to type out and copy paste to every rp partner that I have that I am sick again so I try to always have my status reflect what is going on so they are kept in the loop that way. Or I lose track of how long it has been. As someone with a rather severe set of mental illnesses and physical ailments I lose days, sometimes even weeks. Yes there is a little notice in the inbox that says 1 week, 1 month, etc but when you're struggle to keep a grasp on reality time is not so simple and cut out for you. 1 week can be a day to me, same with 1 month. So I hope that helps from the perspective of a person who is unwell. So I don't hate it when people do it I just understand that perhaps there are reasons and if I approach them to be understanding.
No idea but I can't stand it. What's worse is when someone ghosts for weeks then comes back with no explanation and wonders why you don't want to continue the rp. I always inform people when I have either lost interest in an rp or, for one reason or another, can't continue it but most people I've met don't and simply decide to vanish.
If you explain to me why you aren't replying, busy work life or something, that's more than fine and I understand but if you just ghost then I'll never speak to you again lol
cause people have lives. rp is a hobby, not a lifestyle. health, jobs, responsibilities, financial obligations, etc come before it. same way i wouldn't get mad at someone in a trivia club for missing several nights because they had other things to attend, i wouldn't get mad at someone for missing rp. who am i to tell a person that i'm obligated to know the deets about their private life or that informing me of their absences is more important than anything else lol

i used to get snippy about it but then i grew up and realized it's selfish to prioritize 'wasted creativity' over the 'wellbeing of another living, breathing human being.' anymore, it's not 'i'm mad because they wasted my time and energy,' it's 'oh damn i hope they're doing ok and that i didn't accidentally offend them'
Edit to actually answer the question:

I try not to. When I do, chances are high that anxiety played a pretty big part in it. Even in times when I know what I should do (which my brain doesn't always let me get to), sometimes there's still a lot that keeps me from following through on that. It's something I'm still working on and... honestly, don't see myself fully overcoming anytime soon.

Once in awhile, I also just plain goof on how I keep track of things and don't realize I haven't responded to something until I happen to stumble across it months or even years later. x.x Sometimes I'll realize it sooner if I happen to remember "hey, I was in a thing, what ever happened to that...?" at a time when I can actually take a moment to check



Yesugei wrote:
No idea but I can't stand it. What's worse is when someone ghosts for weeks then comes back with no explanation and wonders why you don't want to continue the rp. I always inform people when I have either lost interest in an rp or, for one reason or another, can't continue it but most people I've met don't and simply decide to vanish.
If you explain to me why you aren't replying, busy work life or something, that's more than fine and I understand but if you just ghost then I'll never speak to you again lol

You seem to be mixing up ghosting with just unexplained delays. >.> Being ghosted generally means you... don't hear directly from the person again. Like... ever.

And what you described is actually just standard RP habit for me and a lot of others I know. Granted, we usually attempt to communicate the fact that we can be unpredictable messes in my experience, but it can be easy to forget if it just seems like the norm. Comes with a high chance of having multiple games running the same and thus being even less aware of such gaffes happening in the first place on either end. And sometimes we're just hoping it went unnoticed because the explanation is in some way difficult to give - but a lot of times we'll still at least try to explain if asked in a polite way. (Again, just speaking from my own experiences, both personal from either side and things I've witnessed as a third party.)

That's not to say frustration over an unexpected silence is unjustified or anything, of course. Such silences (even ones that aren't really unexpected themselves, but seem to go extra long or happen extra frequently or are just, from my perspective, that poorly-timed) can sometimes really screw with my head depending on some of the circumstances involved, but that's more because I've got my own issues that I need to determine how best to handle. And yeah, sometimes that means dropping the game for the sake of my mental health. The only times I'll personally make a point to avoid the player more wholly after that is if there are/were other things going on that would make any further interaction a problem more generally. A single RP quibble usually won't make me go and blacklist someone.
In my case, most of the time it's either A) I dunno what to reply in the moment, tell myself I'll do it later, and repeat over and over and eventually I just forget about the rp. Or it's B) I lost interest in the rp, and I'm just bad at communicating it.
If there ever is any ghosting on my part, which has only happened but a few times, there is a legitimate reason behind it, which I hope applies to anyone else should they ghost as well. We all have our reasons.

My instances have been based on disrespect or complete disregard for my rules of consent or preferences I have laid out in regards to what I am or am not comfortable with.

A lot of people don't handle confrontations very well, and when interest is lost, or issues arise, they are likely afraid that informing the other party that they can't or no longer wish to participate in the role-play will stir up a confrontation. It has happened, and that sticks with people, so they want to avoid that altogether. That is, of course, an instance.

I tend not to dredge up bad feelings for being ghosted. I usually just chalk it up to something came up or the story was not to their liking and I move forward. Its hard for me to have animosity for anything like that. Its role-play and is meant to be fun.
I've ghosted and been ghosted tons of times in my 15+ year RP career, and honestly sometimes things just happen. I used to get frustrated, because it sucks, but really it's just playing barbies online. It's not that deep, and it's not that intense. I started having way more fun when I just expected RPs to drop and stopped worrying about it, and actually stopped a majority of my own ghosting accidents by taking the pressure off of myself.

Also, one time I thought a partner that I'd clicked with super well had ghosted me and just shrugged and moved on. It turned out that they'd just gotten horrifically injured and needed a literal half-year of recovery before they could even access the place we'd been RPing. After that, ghosting has just become a non-issue to me. It's just a fun writing game, no need to stress. It'll either work out, or it won't and I'll have another RP plot to add to my "wants" list!
Aya

I stopped taking the concept "ghosting" seriously after someone here accused me of ghosting them when I didn't reply for only two days. Role playing is supposed to be fun, it's not a CHORE. When someone can't reply, best believe that something probably came up or they have their own reasons, most of the time it has nothing to do with you. When I was 13 and first started role playing, I got upset that someone didn't reply me for over two weeks, and when I asked them about it, they told me that their mother passed away. Ever since then I realized that we don't know what's going on in other people's lives, and we don't have the right to demand that they prioritize us over their real lives.

All these years of role playing later taught me we must put the well-being, mental and physical health, and comfort of other human beings before anything else, before we start demanding that they be active here and feed us reply. Yes, it's annoying when people don't reply, but this is a HOBBY, not a job or a chore that people are required to do. If they're having fun, they write and stay. If they're not, they leave. It's really not that complicated. And sorry but.... they really don't owe you anything too.
Yeah, it sucks out loud, to be honest.

I've ghosted and been ghosted myself. For example, I've been in college and had just recently finished back in May of this year. But after college, I was trying to find my own place, look for a new job, had depressive moodswings, etc. to the point where I've either told people "Hey, I'm not in the mood for a roleplay, maybe we could try something later on." or I forgot to send a message and just ghost them without realizing until after a while.

Now, I've been trying to get back into roleplaying/talking again, and like everyone else says on here, it's like you get people who are interested, then after a few days, they're just gone. It is super infuriating, especially if you're a veteran roleplayer and want to spend time perfecting your craft. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it's just a hobby and you shouldnt get upset at people for whatever the reason may be. All we can do is either reconnect with those who we already have, or move onto new people.
Rattlesnake

I never ghost, I prefer to talk things out. I used to have a friend who was constantly ghosted and it was damaging to their psyche. I think that the less ghosting we have the more positive our experiences will be. People are to be loved and cherished, every single person. If we keep ourselves humble and kind we will always have good fortunes. If you are not liking a role play, it’s best to just be an adult and say something, and use your words. I personally view ghosting as simply immaturity. Ozzy Osborne put it like this, and I leave you with this as I hope this means something to someone. Love you all!

Maybe, it’s not too late. Too learn how to love, and forget how to hate. ~Ozzy Osborne, 1980.
I'm notorious for ghosting. I do it enough that I have a warning in my profile for it.

I do it for a variety of reasons but mainly it's when I'm not enjoying the roleplay. If we aren't friends or don't talk outside of roleplay then I am not going to communicate my reason. My one goal here is to roleplay and enjoy my hobby which I'm sure is a lot of people's reason too. So, in my opinion, people shouldn't be that worried about it when there are other stories to go after. And, if they have it listed anywhere that they are ghost friendly then people should really not be as bothered with it when you knew about it going in. Just my thoughts.
I can be such a nightmare for it, especially at the moment. I like to keep people updated in my profile - but people here obviously don't know me and like, I don't think you guys want to hear about a random stranger's anxiety, lol! So sometimes I just feel awkward. I tend to say to people to give me a week before replying, just because at times I'm literally paralysed with indecision. If I get to know you, I'm likely to reply quicker, but like... only because I'll be less nervous haha.

On the subject of being ghosted - I had a good friend and RP partner who used to reply multiple times a day, and one day just vanished mid-RP. As far as I know, she's not gotten in contact again - I believe it was personal things, but after that, ghosting hasn't affected me as much. People have lives - and with it being the internet, I kinda expect it lol!

Though it can be frustrating, I understand that usually, ghosting isn't a commentary on the other player - or even the RP.

Also as an edit my mood really affects the characters I can write well. I'm stressed out? Yeah, you're getting Sol mainly. Lmao.
Rattlesnake wrote:
I never ghost, I prefer to talk things out. I used to have a friend who was constantly ghosted and it was damaging to their psyche. I think that the less ghosting we have the more positive our experiences will be. People are to be loved and cherished, every single person. If we keep ourselves humble and kind we will always have good fortunes. If you are not liking a role play, it’s best to just be an adult and say something, and use your words. I personally view ghosting as simply immaturity. Ozzy Osborne put it like this, and I leave you with this as I hope this means something to someone. Love you all!

Maybe, it’s not too late. Too learn how to love, and forget how to hate. ~Ozzy Osborne, 1980.

I actually agree with you. I posted earlier in the thread that I've been guilty of it for health reasons, but for me, this is a failing on my part to be corrected, or for me to be more aware of what kind of commitments to other people I can juggle at a given time. I see a number of replies in here that are just fine with doing it because "We're not friends and I owe you nothing." And I can't get behind that reasoning when the other person has also committed time and resources into something. Maybe it's because I have so little energy to expend in a day myself, and so I limit myself to doing a few things at a time that I can reasonably juggle. Someone who chooses to vanish without telling me is wasting my time and one of those finite slots, because unlike them, I am treating it like a commitment. I understand when it's life things, health problems, anxiety, or self-care related things. But when it's just "I got bored /shrug" then it feels very much like that person does not appreciate what other people have to set aside to make time for them.

Every group activity comes inherently with the burden of communication even if you're doing it for fun and it doesn't cost anything. I've participated in a number of things, from guild raids to board game nights, which aren't necessary for life but will fall apart for everyone (or at least require us to improvise) if one person doesn't show up. If a person's reason is "I didn't feel like it and it's entitled to expect me to talk to you," well, that'll get you kicked from most GMs' tables. Nobody wants to play with someone who does not take their feelings seriously, and you shouldn't need to be friends with someone before you're considerate of their part.

I get that, for some people, they're worried about the other person lashing out at them. I've had to struggle with the same anxiety, because (contrary to popular belief) it is actually pretty easy to hurt my feelings. Unfortunately, I've had to learn the hard way that avoiding conflict because I'm afraid of other people being a jerk to me inherently assumes that everyone will be a jerk to me, and that's neither fair to others, or healthy. It actually makes it much harder to find the people who are worth your time if you assume everyone is guilty until proven innocent (assuming they even get the chance), on top of adding to an already prevalent toxicity that exists in online communities where people refuse to humanize the other person on the other side of the line. (And I think at least some of that is perpetuated by people who don't take "online friends" as seriously as real-life ones, which is its own problematic attitude separately.)

All this to say, I do actually in part want to make friends. When I'm looking for people to play with, I'm also looking for people who will be interesting to talk to OOC as well, or I'm looking for a group that I can get along with. RPGs are social experiences to me, so I value communication more than someone who does not see RPGs as a social outlet. But I also do think some of the sentiment of "I don't owe people an explanation" comes from a lack of maturity and hope it will just be something others grow out of eventually, because it really is not a flattering thing to say and it doesn't make a person come off like a diva so much as an unpleasant jerk who sets off red flags.
DragonofRust wrote:
but really it's just playing barbies online. It's not that deep, and it's not that intense.

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no you don't understand there MUST be a philosophical meaning attached to art of ghosting and we fully intend on getting down to the bottom of it - then, and only then, will we solve this treacherous plague that continues to atrophy our most splendid rp community

jk lol i totally agree with you, 99% of us rpers are just the equivalent of two kids picking up sticks on the playground and beating the shit out of each other for fun until we get bored. the super serious committed people are the 1% at this point
fig

i am a ghoster; ive ghosted a lot of people over the last few years. sometimes with letters accompanying, sometimes not.

my online experiences entail a lot of abusive situations with older people (including RP partners!) that were predatory towards me, some of them "friendships" i retained from childhood that needed to be pruned away for my health. that was when i started the practice of doing it, and since then it has become a habit. i tend not to tolerate people who want to prey upon me anymore and for that i am grateful to myself.

people make me uncomfortable just generally; i am not a people person. being around lots of people in-person makes me feel like i am surrounded by a hoard of dirty rats that i cannot escape. less dramatically, online, i get really overstimulated by multiple conversations or fast-moving 1v1 conversations. they just EXHAUST me. i am learning to be better about it but gosh is it hard. 8(

on top of this, i am really rejection sensitive. i constantly assume people do not like me or find me to be strange or annoying, i guess as a form of self-punishment because from what ive been learning lately it isn't generally true (much to my utter SHOCK), and this can directly affect my decisions when it comes to ghosting. i know it is 100% irrational but i hate bothering people, i hate the idea that im subjecting them to a friendship they might not want. so i will ghost first sometimes thinking that it is the best way, especially if we havent talked in a while. the yawning voids and lack of feedback make me feel anxious.

again, not rational, not justifying my actions at all lol i am working on not being so uncomfortable with not only myself but other people. trying to be less of an alien

additionally im also very aware of when people are being inappropriate towards me; weird sexual comments and other stuff like that makes me instantly 180 and dip out. ive ghosted multiple people for this and i do not intend not to continue this practice. the way it makes me feel when people make inappropriate comments to me does not strike me as irrational or unhealthy. but that is one of the reasons why i will ghost someone. this has happened... tons of times with RP partners, specifically, who for some reason will get all murry purry with me without knowing me realistically at all.

that's all ive got to say on the topic, really. i know sometimes it is easy to look at the ghoster as someone who hated you or didnt like you, but sometimes it isnt that. but uh, sometimes it is. in terms of RP i guess that the reason is that they just aren't digging it anymore, and don't have the courage to tell you, so it's easier to just stop replying and/or block you.

i will say though that you have to learn to cut your losses entirely and just forget about it; anyone who leaves your life needs to not leave it through a revolving door. if theyre not meant to be there, they wont be.

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