How to Recognize if Someone Might Ghost You

How do you know that that person you just met -and that you like- won't suddenly disappear without telling you anything? Although there's no crystal ball to detect this eventuality, there are a number of factors that could give you a clue as to the likelihood of it happening.
How to Recognize if Someone Might Ghost You
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 22 April, 2024

Have you ever been suddenly left with no explanation? Suddenly cutting relationship or friendship ties for no apparent reason is an increasingly frequent practice today. While it’s true that this kind of behavior has always happened in the interpersonal universe, in the digital society, with its fragile ties, it’s become an everyday occurrence.

Suffering ghosting (when someone ends a relationship without saying anything) can be a traumatic experience. Indeed, many of us fear meeting people who, at some point, will disappear from our lives, just as we’ve started to grow fond of them.

This silent anguish and buried fear are understandable. After all, we expect others to behave in an emotionally responsible way with us. We also expect maximum communication and respect. Although it’s impossible to predict 100% what someone will do, there are certain indications that can give certain clues.

Ghosting can appear in any type of relationship. They’re painful experiences from which many of us never recover. 

Sad couple hugging their partner thinking how to know if someone might ghost you
The fear that we’ll be abandoned is a frequent occurrence when we’ve previously suffered from ghosting.

How to recognize if someone might ghost you

Yesterday, you had a partner with whom you were making plans for the weekend and today they no longer answer your messages. Moreover,  you no longer appear on their social media. A few months ago, you met a great person with whom you had many interests in common. You thought they’d turn out to be a good friend, and yet they disappeared overnight without saying a thing.

For many people, these kinds of stories are extremely familiar experiences. So much so that the topic of ghosting has been the subject of much academic research. For example, research conducted by the University of Alabama (USA) addresses the cause of this behavior. They claim that, although it almost always manifests in a digital manner (not responding to messages), there are more complex realities.

As a matter of fact, it seems that there are certain personality types who are more prone to ghosting. It’d be extremely useful to have some kind of instrument with which to detect these kinds of people. Unfortunately, to date, there’s no such tool available. That said, psychology can provide certain guidelines for detecting these individuals.

When we’re not friends on social media with these individuals, there’s a greater probability that they’ll opt for ghosting if the relationship deteriorates.

1. They’re avoidant and want an easy life

Are you with someone who tries to avoid conflict and arguments? Avoidant people  who don’t address everyday problems and avoid difficult conversations are more likely to leave you without saying anything. They’re the kind of people who prefer relationships and life to be simple, easy, and fun.

However, every relationship and even existence itself means that you have to handle complicated situations. That’s when you find out who’ll stay by your side and work toward what’s worth caring for.

2. They have low self-esteem

There are people whose low self-esteem makes them fall prey to behaviors that are both exhausting and painful. They don’t like or respect themselves and, in a desperate self-protection mechanism, prefer to get away before someone gets to know them better. In fact, they’re irrationally afraid of disappointment or revealing to others the futile and flimsy personality that they hate so much.

Those who don’t love or respect themselves assume that no one will. Therefore, they choose to flee to avoid further damage.

3. They’ve done it before

If you want to know if someone might ghost you, ask them about their previous relationships. Those who are used to these practices will tell you that they’ve left behind many partners and friends they tend to label as toxic.

These are individuals with a greater tendency to criticize others. Indeed, they see endless defects in others and view themselves as extremely self-sufficient. In fact, they give the impression of knowing everything about life.

4. They have an avoidant attachment style

Sometimes, you let people into your life who are still suffering from past conflicts from their childhood. It’d be great if we all healed our pasts and dealt with our past traumas so we could give the best of ourselves to others. But, this isn’t always the case. As a result, it’s common to find yourself dealing with people with attachment disorders.

When it comes to recognizing if someone could ghost you, you must figure out if they exhibit an avoidant attachment. Some people find it difficult to achieve intimacy. They get overwhelmed when you try to connect emotionally with them and they don’t tend to support you. Despite this, they don’t hesitate to tell you that they love you. That said, it’s a distant kind of affection and they avoid committing themselves.

Often, behind ghosting, lie psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression.

Sad teen girl symbolizing how to know if someone might ghost you
Narcissism can cause people to suddenly disappear from our lives with no explanations.

5. You don’t have the same network of friends or acquaintances

You often meet people who aren’t members of your social network. For example, someone you meet on a dating app and start a relationship with.

While not having mutual friends isn’t enough of a reason for you to get dumped without explanation, if things go wrong, it can actually make things easier for them to do so.

Indeed, they can disappear with the certainty that they won’t meet you again because you don’t hang out with the same people.

6. They’re a narcissist or emotionally incompetent

If you want to know if someone could ghost you, you need to know how to identify narcissistic behaviors. People with low emotional involvement who establish relationships based on specific interests are often quick to leave without saying anything when they decide to do so.

The problem is that you don’t always see these kinds of people coming or realize that you’ve let a narcissist in your life. You should always be suspicious of anyone who dazzles you at first with a thousand kindnesses but then begins to demand favors, concessions, and your attention.

7. They suffer from anxiety and desire isolation

People suffering from anxiety doubt absolutely everything, even themselves. In fact, they’re gripped by such intense insecurity, fear, and exhausting thoughts, that they often choose to walk away from relationships. Consequently, someone who suffers from trauma or a depressive disorder will tend to opt for isolation and leave your relationship as they feel unable to devote their energy to it.

In these cases, breaking ties without giving an explanation is a sign of a psychologically fragmented mind. If it were possible, they’d act differently, but their clinical situation pushes them toward behaviors that are often difficult for you to understand.

To conclude, when it comes to recognizing if someone could ghost you, there are multiple factors you must take into account. The kinds of personalities we’ve described here are only possible ‘ghosters’, not certainties.

Finally, it’s important to remember that if someone leaves you without giving a reason, you mustn’t feel guilty about it. Don’t for a moment think it’s your fault for having been abandoned. In reality, most of the time these people have more issues themselves that need healing than you do.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Freedman G., Powell D. N., Le B., Williams K. D. (2019). Ghosting and destiny: Implicit theories of relationships predict beliefs about ghosting. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36, 905–924.
  • Hobbs M., Owen S., Gerber L. (2017). Liquid love? Dating apps, sex, relationships and the digital transformation of intimacy. Journal of Sociology, 53, 1–14.
  • LeFebvre L. E. (2017). Ghosting as a relationship dissolution strategy in the technological age. In Punyanunt-Carter N. M., Wrench J. S. (Eds.), The impact of social media in modern romantic relationships (pp. 219–235). Lexington Books.
  • Krüger S., Spilde C. A. (2020). Judging books by their covers – Tinder interface, usage and sociocultural implications. Information, Communication & Society, 1–16. Advance online publication.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.