Most Young Canadians Experience “Ghosting” in Life and Work

More than four-in-five Canadians aged 18-to-34 say someone abruptly ended communication with them without explanation.

Vancouver, BC [August 2, 2023] – More than half of Canadians have endured “ghosting” from a person they know or had a conversation with, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 55% of Canadians acknowledge having been “ghosted” over the course of their lives—including 81% of those aged 18-to-34.

The term “ghosting” has been used to refer to people who abruptly end communication with someone without explanation. Almost four-in-five Canadians (79%) are familiar with the term, including 83% of women and 91% of those aged 18-to-34.

Most instances of “ghosting” endured by Canadians are related to a friend (32%), a person they went out with (23%) or a relative (17%).

Fewer Canadians have been “ghosted” by a person they talked to during a job interview or hiring process (15%), a person they had a telephone conversation with for work-related purposes (9%) or a prospective client who sought information about their business (8%).

There is a significant generational gap when it comes to “ghosting”, particularly on friendship. While practically half of Canadians aged 18-to-34 (49%) have been unable to connect with a friend they sought out, the proportion is lower among their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (34%) and aged 55 and over (16%).

More than two-in-five Canadians (45%) have “ghosted” someone over the course of their lives, including friends (25%), someone they went out with (21%) or relatives (13%).

More than three-in-five Canadians say they would prefer to be told what happened—and not endure “ghosting”—when looking for a job (63%), dating (64%) or during work-related interactions (73%).

Canadians are divided on whether everyone should rely on “ghosting” if they so desire, with 44% saying the practice is sometimes appropriate, and 42% believing it is never appropriate. Only 2% of Canadians think “ghosting” is always appropriate.

“Just over three-in-five Canadians aged 18-to-34 (61%), who rely more often on electronic modes of communication, say that ‘ghosting’ is sometimes appropriate,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Conversely, more than half of Canadians aged 55 and over (56%) think the practice is never appropriate.”

Residents of three provinces are more likely to brand “ghosting” as sometimes appropriate: Alberta (54%), British Columbia (49%) and Ontario (48%). Those who reside in three other regions of Canada are more likely to say the practice is never appropriate: Quebec (47%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (also 47%) and Atlantic Canada (46%).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from July 20 to July 22, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]