Social media may be able to bring people together, and it may be able to help them stay in touch.  But it’s also the case that it can enable bad behaviour in new and fresh ways as well.  And ghosting, bread-crumbing, cloaking, and EMGs are all these.

Ghosting

This is where people simply don’t respond to any of your phone-calls, texts or messages.  That’s not a new invention of course – it was possible to be ghosted on a landline number.  However, ghosting isn’t just restricted to peoples’ personal lives.  Increasingly employers are being ghosted after interviews, or when employees simply stop showing up for work and effectively disappear.

Bread-crumbing

This is a variant of ghosting found in personal relationships.  The person won’t respond to any of your messages but they will continue to follow you, and like or comment on your social media posts.  Their aim is to keep channels of communication open, but entirely on their own terms.

Cloaking

This is qhosting at an advanced level, and again can happen professionally as well as in relationships.  The person concerned doesn’t just not reply to you – they actively block you from seeing their social media.  This can be really frustrating for the person it’s being done too – not only do they not get an explanation, but their imagination can run riot about what the other person doesn’t want them to see or read.

Empty Magnanimous Gestures (EMGs)

This is the opposite of ghosting, in as much as you do get a reply.  However, what appear to be offers to meet up are couched in such a way as to make them unacceptable.  For instance, “Why don’t we meet for a coffee on Thursday at 10:30 pm”, or an offer to meet up for lunch but somewhere 60 miles away. 

What’s confusing about EMGs is that they send a contradictory message – “I’d love to meet up, but I’d obviously hate to meet up”.  The fact is that they are passive aggressive -just as ghosting, bread-crumbing, and cloaking can be.  And the secret to dealing with passive-aggressive people?  Never lose sight of the fact that they’re being aggressive and set your boundaries accordingly.

If you found this look at ghosting, bread-crumbing, cloaking, and EMGs interesting then why not sign up for my monthly newsletter here with four stories every month on the quirky side of psychology and relationships.