A Filipino Lawmaker Wants to Punish People for Ghosting

It's usually better to be honest about your feelings, but leaving someone on 'read' could come with added consequences.

It’s usually better to be honest about your feelings but leaving someone on ‘read’ could come with added consequences.
Image: Gabriel Bouys (Getty Images)

Dating these days feels impossible, ask anyone, and breaking up is so hard for some that “ghosting”—ignoring someone’s calls and texts when you’ve lost interest—has become the norm. But a politician in the Philippines is trying to make the act of ghosting an “emotional offense.”

Sorry fellow young adults, our days of ignoring our problems until they go away might be numbered. Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. of the Nationalist People’s Coalition has proposed a bill in the Republic of the Philippines House of Representatives that could criminalize the act of ghosting, or, cutting off online communication with another person. The bill, titled “An Act Declaring Ghosting As An Emotional Offense,” was posted to Twitter earlier this week by One News Philippines and likens ghosting to emotional cruelty, arguing that:

Ghosting is a form of spite that develops feelings of rejection and neglect. Ghosting has adverse effects on the mental state of the one being ghosted and his or her emotional state is adversely affected as he or she will be constantly thinking of the welfare or the unexplained reasons of the one who ghosted. The ambiguity with ghosting, is that there is no real closure between the parties concerned and as such, it can be likened to emotional cruelty and should be punished as an emotional offense because of the trauma it causes to the “ghosted” party.

The bill was initially proposed on June 30 and was read in the House of Representatives on July 27. It’s currently pending with the government’s health committee, and it is unclear whether or not it will actually pass forward (I’ll bet it won’t). The bill also does not stipulate what the penalty for ghosting will be, and how the potential law could be enforced.

Honestly, dating is hard enough, but I’m not sure penalizing the act of ghosting is going to help the situation on any front.

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