Exorcising Ghosting, A Sensitive Tale

Arnolfo Teves Jr, a member of the Philippine parliament, is a sensitive soul who also seems to be a canny politician. Understanding the latest trends and heartburns of young(er) members of the population, he wants the Philippines to pass a law that makes ‘ghosting’ an ’emotional offence’.

Ghosting, as most people who aren’t reading this column know while most people who are don’t, is the act of ending communication with someone, usually after a moderately long period of exchanges, without rhyme or reason. Teves Jr considers such a sudden cessation of conversation, especially between those engaged in some kind of amorous relation over social media, to be not just rude but – to quote that number from Dev D – emotional atyachaar.

Teves Jr’s bill states that ghosting can be ‘likened to a form of emotional cruelty’, the act being ‘mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting’ for victims. The legislator refers to studies that show that ‘social rejection of any kind activates the same pathways in a brain as physical pain’, therefore, linking rejection and pain. Hmm.

Perhaps he has a point. After all, we do live in sensitive times. Will the breaking off of an affair – a cause for pain for at least one party – also merit legal punishment one day? Who knows. But, for now, we know that it can be scarring to leave someone suddenly hanging, and then.


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