icro-ghosting is a lot like regular ghosting– except, instead of the person that you are trying to form a relationship with cutting you off completely, they still flirt, engage with you, and make small talk. Arguably, this is more difficult than a real “ghosting” scenario because you do not always realize that it is happening until it has already happened. 

Couple sitting on a ledge looking at the sunset
Ghosting is when someone cuts you off completely, whereas micro-ghosting is when an individual slowly becomes emotionally unavailable bit by bit.

What is the difference between ghosting and micro-ghosting?

Ghosting is when someone cuts off all communication without warning– whether that be a friend, a relationship, or just someone you have been flirting with. Ghosting is closely associated with social media, but it has been happening as long as society has existed in person as well. This is more often than not deliberately done, and can be a combination of non-responsiveness, complete lack of communication, blocking, or removing of friend status on various apps. 

Micro-ghosting on the other hand is when a person starts to break off communication bit by bit. It starts out strong, then they slowly stop engaging in conversation but still entertain you. They will flirt, but they refuse to see you in person. This can also include when a person chooses to “like” your text rather than respond to it. This is micro-ghosting, and more than likely, we have all fallen victim to or been the perpetrator of this at some point in our lives. 

Couple holding hands
People who micro-ghost only want your attention, they do not want a real relationship.

What makes micro-ghosting worse than other types of ghosting?

Micro-ghosting is the worst type of ghosting simply because it is more difficult to let go, or to realize that you are being played. It is also known as soft ghosting, where slowly your partner or friend becomes emotionally unavailable overtime. The big thing to note about micro-ghosting is that this individual does not want you out of their life. They want your attention, and they want to feel better about themselves by keeping you around rather than dropping you all together. This shows that ultimately, they care more about themselves than they do about being in a relationship or friendship. 

Learning about micro-ghosting helps you  learn more about a person’s ego as well. If their interest is more in getting your attention rather than building a connection with you, then there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed before getting into a relationship or friendship with this individual. If a person’s ego is too big to be able to treat you the way you deserve to be treated, then they are clearly not a good partner or friend, and should be left to figure out themselves before they get into a relationship of any kind. 

Micro-ghosting is also the worst type of ghosting if you are dealing with this within a friendship. Within friendships, it is vital that you reach out to them to let them know that you see what they are doing, and that you are there for them. Unless, of course, your friend is doing it to you vindictively. This is another thing that makes micro-ghosting difficult to understand. You run the risk of potentially embarrassing yourself by confronting the micro-ghoster directly if they are doing it intentionally, but it is worth it in the end. You have either combatted a micro-ghoster and got yourself out of a bad situation, or you let your friend and/or partner know that they are cared for and loved. Either way, the end result is you benefitting, even if you are a bit embarrassed.

Couple looking longingly at each other near a body of water
You need to be emotionally aware within your relationships to avoid being micro-ghosted.

How do I keep myself from being micro-ghosted?

Ultimately, you just have to be emotionally aware in relationships. It is important to ensure that you know to walk away when you feel that you are being ignored, or things are starting to go quiet. If you are consistently texting first, asking them to hang out with no response, or they are only responding when they want to respond, you should either confront them or end things. 

You should not let someone lead you on by believing that micro-ghosting is a real relationship. People who micro-ghost may be going through something personally, and they may not even realize what they are doing. If this is a friendship that you are experiencing this with, having a sit down conversation with them to see what they are going through. But, if this is a budding relationship, leaving is most likely the best option for you. There is no reason to be continuously led on if the relationship just started. Realizing early on and leaving is the best way to save yourself. 

If you are someone who is being micro-ghosted in a long-term relationship, it is important to handle it like a friendship. Oftentimes, when a long-term partner begins micro-ghosting you, it is because they are feeling emotions– whether about you, or a separate situation– that they cannot handle on their own. Encouraging your partner to talk about their feelings is a great way to make your relationship stronger, and also helps them to let them know that they are safe to express their emotions to you.

A man and woman sit on a couch with a dog and a cat
You have to consider whether or not you are ready to be in it for the long hall with someone who struggles to communicate their emotions with you.

Is micro-ghosting better than a breakup?

No, micro-ghosting is not better than a breakup. Often, micro-ghosting occurs when a person wants to break-up, but they cannot work up the courage to see it out. This can be a good way to understand when your relationship is ending so that you are able to assess the situation and potentially break up with them first. 

In all honesty, micro-ghosting hurts more than a breakup does. A breakup can be quick and easy, and then you can mourn your lost time. But, micro-ghosting drags on for long periods of time– sometimes weeks, months, or years. This is why it is ultimately easier to break things off when you know they are going bad, or to talk about what needs to be talked about before things get worse. 

Communication is key, and unfortunately, people who tend to micro-ghost are often terrible communicators. Obviously these underlying issues need to be addressed, and if it is a long term relationship, you have to ask yourself– “Am I in this for the long haul”? and “Can I be in a long term relationship with an individual who is not willing to communicate their feelings to me”? Once you answer these questions, you can better understand how you should move forward. 

Man looking out of a window.
It is important for an individual to identify who they are as a communicator before getting involved in a relationship or friendship.

Looking inward to identify the problem

When thinking about micro-ghosting, it is important that you first teach yourself how to operate in a relationship. If you are not willing to outwardly express your emotions to a friend or partner, you cannot expect them to be able to do that for you. Looking inward will allow you to not put yourself into situations where you need to make a decision of whether you should break up with someone, or lose a friendship over micro-ghosting. 

Self reflection can help you respond to situations with more ease, simply because you know yourself better, and there is no need to guess. Additionally, self reflection will help you to understand others better. If you try to observe yourself from the lens of another individual, this may help with your self reflection process. 

Understanding how others view you, and how they see you as an emotional being is an important step of understanding what type of person you are in relationships and friendships. You may just realize that you have been the micro-ghoster all along without even knowing it. 

You also must consider the type of people you attract. If you are attracting people who do not want anything long term– relationships or friendships– then it is likely that you are more prone to being micro-ghosted. If you are attracting genuine individuals who care about you and your wellbeing, then there is less of a chance that you will be ghosted in general. Understanding your intentions first is the best way to understand the intentions of others.

Feb 8, 2023