That's right — haunting. It's basically when someone is lurking in your social media after you've stopped seeing or talking to them, says Cosmo. It's low-level social media interaction, so doing things that are going to create a notification on your phone or force you to see their name, without actually interacting with you. For example, someone who pulled a slow fade on you a few months ago requesting to follow you on Instagram and Snapchat, would be a classic case of haunting. Someone who ghosted you keeps liking your Facebook photos. Someone who break your heart is looking at your LinkedIn profile. It sucks. Because they're still reaching you via social media, popping in and reminding you of their existence, without actually interacting with you in any meaningful way. And depending on how things ended — whether one of you ghosted, it was mutual, or an absolute disaster — it can be really freaking annoying.
Why does it happen? "People haunt for one of a few reasons," relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. "Reason one would be that they didn't want it to end and they're infatuated with the person they're haunting. It eats at them that things are over and they must stay connected in their own way. Reason two would be that while they wanted it to end, they are a controlling person by nature. They want to have their cake (the breakup) and eat it too (not have the person they're haunting to be with someone else). The third reason is that they feel the need to bug the person they're haunting. They like that attention and annoyance it brings."
I would add that personally, I think some people just do it for the hell of it. Some people just like to watch the whole damn world burn. But in any case — they are rarely healthy reasons. And you should never take it as a sign you'll get back together.
There are many different effects them haunting might have on you, depending on your relationship with this person. If you're a bit hung up on them, it's going to be difficult — because there's this constant reminder that they're out there and maybe even thinking about you. But maybe not. Maybe they're just bored. Try not to read too much into haunting. The good news is, there are lots of ways to get over someone who's haunting you.
So how do you do it? Here are the steps you can take:
1. Don't Engage
First off, don't engage. Don't even bother. Don't give them the satisfaction. It's totally not worth it.
"Truly, the best way to deal with this is to not deal with it," Armstrong says. "Regardless of why someone is haunting you, acknowledging the haunting will justify it to the 'haunter' and drive you crazy. Leave it be and they will either stop haunting (because they're not getting the rise out of you they want) or they'll haunt (read: grieve) in silence."
2. Unfollow Them
One thing you can always try is unfollowing them. Not only does it send a message that may make them notice you've done it, there's a chance that they'll be embarrassed and in return will unfollow you. And just leave you the eff alone. Either way, unfollowing them will help you stop thinking about them altogether.
3. Consider A Social Media Detox
If you're getting sick of hearing your phone buzz only to see that your ghost has liked another Instagram photo and feeling weird about it, then take a break from social media. In fact, you can take a break from your phone entirely.
"Try to cut back on using your phone gradually," David Brudö, co-founder and CEO at mental wellbeing and personal development app Remente. "Try simply not checking it unless you actually need to use it. Or, leave your phone at home when you go out for dinner or grocery shopping. This way it will help you to change your habits in small dosages." Not only will you have less interaction with whoever is haunting you, you'll also be distracting yourself from them and getting your life back. Definitely a good move.
Even though haunting may not seem like that big of a deal, if it affects you then it affects you — and you have every right to those feelings. So don't be embarrassed if you take some steps towards protecting yourself — it'll help you move on. You don't deserve to be haunted.