Beyond Bravo

Charlize Theron Doesn’t Like “Ghosting,” Everyone Else Does

The actress didn’t even know what the term meant.

The term “ghosting” is still fairly new, yet everyone knows the drill. You’re dating someone, then the person vanishes off the face of the Earth—no phone call, no text, no visit. That’s it, you never hear from them again, and you’re left wondering if they’ve been run over by a bus. The New York Times describes it as a “verb that refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out.” You get it.

Unlike your ex, ghosting was back, when in recent news, Charlize Theron denied that she 'ghosted' Sean Penn when they broke up in 2015. It was widely reported that is how it went down when the relationship ended. “And the f***ing ghosting thing, like literally, I still don’t even know what it is,” she said, not referring to the actor by name. “It’s just its own beast. We were in a relationship and then it didn’t work anymore. And we both decided to separate. That’s it.”

And although the actress insists she handled her breakup with a proper conversation, a new survey released by dating site Plenty of Fish finds that most people just—poof—disappear. For millennials, it’s the worst, with 78% of single people between the ages of 18 and 33 being ghosted at least once. There’s even more data to back up the ghosting phenomenon. According to an October 2014 poll by YouGov, only 18% of millennials had been ghosted by a person they were dating, and 16% admit to have done the ghosting. An Elle survey in 2014 found that only 17% of men and 24% of women had been ghosted at some point, and that that number had tripled by 2016. 

Professionals advise against “ghosting,” because it causes worry, anxiety, and is just plain rude. Some so some say practicing your break up speech with a pal before you deliver the sad news can help ease nerves. Or, whatever, you can just join the witness protection program and never be heard from again. 

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