What does Ghostlighting mean?

Cutting off contact with someone and acting as if you’ve never met them

Ghostlighting is a combo of two words: ghosting and gaslighting. It’s a situation where someone you used to talk to suddenly stops responding. And when you try to reach out, they act as if they’ve never known you. It’s a way of dealing with relationships when someone doesn’t know how to end things properly.

This is usually not done with the intention of making the other person feel insane. Rather, it’s a clumsy attempt to avoid the discomfort that comes with ending a relationship. However, the person doing the ghostlighting is often not aware of the confusion and hurt they’re causing.

The irony of ghostlighting is that it’s done to avoid awkwardness, but it can actually create more awkwardness. Especially when the person on the receiving end insists on being recognized. So, it’s a slang term that captures a specific type of messed-up social interaction.

Example for using ‘Ghostlighting’ in a conversation

I ran into Jake at the store yesterday. He acted like he didn’t even know me.

Really? What’s up with that?

I think he’s ghostlighting me because we had a falling out a few weeks ago.

That’s cold. Just to completely ignore you and pretend you’re a stranger.