Unpacking digital expectations & ghosting: are we maintaining boundaries or being trash? - Bubblegum Club

Unpacking digital expectations & ghosting: are we maintaining boundaries or being trash?

It’s much easier to say “I dont give a damn” than it is to say, “Im hurt“.

Brené Brown, Rising Strong

The wondrous, yet, completely terrifying reality of the digital experience embedding itself into our subconsciousness and consciousness is one that seems to be topically addressed continuously but this is for good reason.

The evolution of the planet’s social world and interactions accelerated once we became habituated to our digital devices thus creating more nuanced conversations around personal, interpersonal and completely transient relationships.

Additionally, the drafting of these behaviours and their exhibition on different social platforms is one of note, especially because it is one of the many things that propels the creation of echo chambers. Depending on which echo chamber you’re referencing, it seems like many of them are based on fear and a deduction of human vulnerability.


GCF global defines an echo chamber as:

An environment where a person only encounters information or opinions that reflect and reinforce their own. Echo chambers can create misinformation and distort a person’s perspective so they have difficulty considering opposing viewpoints and discussing complicated topics. They’re fuelled in part by confirmation bias, which is the tendency to favour info that reinforces existing beliefs.

The thing with the psyche is that it continually attempts to generate an understanding of the world. However, we tend to forget that this attempt at understanding can be completely distorted based on various kinds of things and one of these things seems to be the fear-based unwillingness to be reliant on other people.


The vulnerability of expressing oneself to another person — even though it could end disastrously — is an encapsulation of what plagues a lot of us. On a smaller scale, this anxiety also exists on the basic level of common decency and politeness.

This particular echo chamber tells us, “You don’t owe anyone anything”. That you’re apparently not obligated to be polite, respectful and caring towards other people including our loved ones.

This need to prioritise self-interest in pursuit of avoiding pain is one that is possibly generating more hurt for all parties involved and it is usually disguised with expressions like “protecting one’s energy” or “maintaining boundaries”.


An interesting example is ghosting. The politics around ghosting have become a well known, wider conversation and one that is quite nuanced because of the infinite possible reasons one could have ghosted someone else.

However, the act of leaving someone on “seen” or “read” without a simple notification of what is occurring or why it’s occurring is cause for pause.

There’s also the aspect of time that creates a more debatable conversation around the idea of ghosting but within these echo chambers, it seems to not matter if you’ve been speaking to this person for years, although I’d argue that it is an empowering move of self-preservation when the reasons for ghosting include removing yourself from abusive and extractive relationships and dynamics. Sometimes the very the ability to end it —  whatever it may be — is an act of vulnerability and that is acknowledgedly very scary.

We all have the right to our personal boundaries, especially in a global capitalist framework that teaches us value in relation to continuously perfuming labour and notions of “productivity”.

We all don’t really owe anyone anything — in theory — but the concept of a “social contract” that is stipulated around kindness, respect, and basic empathy to our fellow people is one that should be acknowledged more.

We don’t exist as islands or in a vacuum. This life on earth is very communal and sometimes the thing that we think is working in our favour and self-benefit is the very thing that is creating the conditions we are scared of. Context becomes very important here, is your (silently) leaving an act of care towards yourself and your psyche, or an easy way out perpetuating more harm?




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