Charlize Theron and Sean Penn

Charlize Theron and Sean Penn


Let's face it, many of us have been there. Everything was going so well, you've even thought about installing a toothbrush in their bathroom and - against your better judgement - introducing them to your squad. Then come the tumbleweeds. It starts innocently enough with a few unanswered texts, those rings go to voicemail, and before you know it, they've just kind of disappeared from your life.

Three words: You've been 'ghosted'.

It's was the trending verb back in July 2015: what exactly is 'ghosting'? It hit the headlines after Charlize Theron 'ghosted' Sean Penn. Let us explain - he was thinking all was well, until suddenly out-of-nowhere, Charlize just...well...according to rumours flying about the internet - disappeared (as disappeared as an A-list actress can be).

Theron allegedly broke off her engagement with Penn by 'ghosting' her fiancé, ceasing all communication including texts and calls. A Hollywood rumour maybe, but the word suddenly took on a life of its own. 

Ghosting even hit the news as one of Collins' 2015 words of the year, alongside manbod and Corbynomics. Good going, ghosting!

So, now it's in the dictionary, just how common is 'ghosting' exactly?

According to a recent You Gov/Huffington Post poll in the States, 11% of adults have ‘ghosted’ someone over the course of their lifetime, which may not sound like much but when you consider the United States population on July 4, 2014 was 318,881,992, you may just change your mind.

It's the relationship equivalent of Star Trek teleportation, only this relationship has nothing to do with a paranormal occurance and there isn't a Starship Enterprise in sight. Instead, what we have here is an awkward phase-out from someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't want to break up with you face-to-face or even via text.

And then there's social media, a platform that's always great for one's self-esteem, right? Whether it's a 'hide', 'block' or an 'unfriend', the internet can often be a devastating 'ghosting' facilitator.

What's more, it isn't just reserved to boyfriends or girlfriends, either. We bet there's quite a few of you out there who have a story or two to tell about a friendship that suffered a similar fate.

A 21st century relationship affliction? Beam us up, Scotty...

Continued below...

Read More: Ghosting, Manspreading And Binge Watching - Look Back At 2015's Words Of The Year