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Why Being Ghosted Hurts

We all have an ongoing fear of being ghosted. Ghosting is now so common that it was added in February of 2017 to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It describes the phenomenon of leaving a relationship by abruptly ending all contact with the other person, and especially electronic contact, like texts, emails, and chats.

It is a biological fact that rejection or being ostracized can make us feel like we don’t belong and to have feelings of low self-worth. Todd Rose writes in his book: “An entire area of our brain (the anterior cingulate cortex) is constantly on the lookout for even the smallest hint of negative judgment.” Rose refers to studies which show, “A wounded heart, it would seem, can hurt just as much as a broken leg.”

What kinds of snubs can cause distress? The author lists hurtful things such as not being greeted on a bus by a stranger, not getting a quick response after sending an email to a friend, or getting the silent treatment from a partner.”

Rose further writes:

It doesn’t take much for us to experience this social pain. Indeed, psychological research suggests that even the mildest snub can cause distress. Our internal sensors are so attuned to rejection that we feel pain even when it is remote and clearly artificial. Cyberostracism, being ignored or excluded online, produces a similar physical and emotional response. Once it’s switched on, our ostracism alarm only appears to have one setting: full blast.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Jesus understands our feelings of rejection since he himself was despised and rejected (Isa. 53:3; John 1:10-11). Jesus has therefore promised that he will never leave us or forsake us (John 14:18, Heb. 13:5), he actively searches for the lost sheep (Matt. 18:22) and helps those who are downcast (Matt. 11:28-29).


Todd Rose, Collective Illusions, (Hachette Book Group, 2022), pp. 35-36; “Ghosting,” Merriam-Webster.com, (Accessed 5/24/23)

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