When I was a freshman in high school I had a penpal who lived in Germany. His name is Tyler. We were around the same age. He was a ‘military brat’ and we met online on a penpal website.
Despite the time difference, we managed to talk almost every day on emails and then on Kik before moving on to Facebook, until one day he stopped responding altogether. I didn’t see it coming. We didn’t have boring conversations or some dramatic fight. He kind of just disappeared.
I always wondered what happened to him. It was years later I learned this experience is called being ‘ghosted.’ I tried to find him, but from the minimal information we knew about each other this was practically impossible.
Naturally, I was intrigued to find out that the impossible mission of finding someone after being ghosted had been made into a reality show: MTV’s “Ghosted: Love Gone Missing.”
The show is on the MTV channel Tuesdays 8/9 central or online. The premise involves helping people who have been ghosted in the context of romantic relationships, friendships and family relationships. The series is hosted by Season 13 “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay and musician and actor Travis Mills. Together they search for “the truth” and come up with theories as to why someone was ghosted.
In the promo, Mills says, “Every ghost has a story.” However, is it really their job to get people to tell their story, or are some things better left alone?
Here are 3 questionable messages I got from watching “Ghosted.”
1. Ghosted victims are owed an explanation.
Are some ghosted victims owed an explanation? It seems the main mission of the show implies ghosted victims do. The hosts go on a hunt to find the ghoster and find a resolution for the ghosted. However, in some cases, this might not be true. Some people may be ghosted because of safety. They see ghosting as an option to cut themselves off from a toxic or abusive relationship.
2. It’s ‘okay’ to cross boundaries to find out the truth.
In the world today, cyber-stalking on social media and other platforms have become something of a norm. On the show, the investigations center around social media stalking as “research” to find answers before they contact the ghoster. They talk to people around the ghoster before the confrontation and a final sit-down. Would this really be okay outside the scope of a reality show?
3. Communication is key.
Communication has shifted since the innovation of cellphones and the internet. Most people text, message each other online, or use any other platform to chat or make connections more than face-to-face interactions. Some of the reasons people have been ghosted are because of misunderstandings. Ghosters could refuse to acknowledge this and turn to cutting people off completely to avoid the issues at hand. The show has the ghosted and the ghoster talk it out by the end of the investigation to communicate in-person and possibly resolve any past/present issues, a useful model of how to resolve conflict. They get to speak and really listen to one another before deciding if they want to salvage what’s left. You can see that communication here can be a key to save a relationship or provide closure.
In the end, the morality of the show seems to mean well. There can be a silver lining to tracking down a ghost. Some people can get closure while others can repair something that had once been lost. But, in the end, remember that you are not entitled to an explanation and people have the freewill to decide if they want you in their life.