Ghosting

So this might seem like a less intense thing to write about after my last few posts.

Here is the definition if this is a new term for you:

“the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication”

It’s not the end of the world. It’s not as intense as this pandemic has been or any topic of mental health. There are plenty of things that are more serious that ghosting. So why am I writing about it?

It isn’t nothing. And while in the dating realm, it might be the new norm (which also seriously sucks), what happens when it affects your other relationships?

Let me explain my background on this. A few years ago, after over 10 years of what I would consider a close friendship, I had a friend who suddenly stopped responding to my texts and calls. It’s not that I haven’t lost friends before. I’ve had huge fights with friends. I’ve had friends where just distance and time and life comes in the way. But I’ve rarely had someone just disappear on me without an explanation especially after a strong friendship was developed.

I grew up in the era of landlines and typewriters. It makes me sound super old but computers only made their start into our education some time when I was in high school. AOL had just come on the scene. We were cool if we had pagers (I didn’t. My mom handed me a phone card.) By the time, I was in college, I had a computer, ethernet was a thing, and a cell phone with limited minutes and limited texts.

The point of my history there is that if we wanted to stop talking to someone, it wasn’t hard because we didn’t have a lot of contact to start with. But most of the time, if two people were going to stop talking, we at least broke up or fought or something. I had an idea of why a relationship had ended or changed at the very least.

In this world of constant communication and availability, somehow we have stopped actually communicating. When I was ghosted, the worst part was that if that friend had just chosen to talk to me about it, we could have probably resolved whatever the problem was (to be honest, I still don’t know). I’m old enough to know I’m human and I make mistakes. I’m also old enough to know that there is a chance I did something that might have hurt her. But I will never actually know now.

Eventually, I kept contacting her until she finally told me the basic reason of why she stopped talking to me. I had to accept it for what it was. Whatever her reason was, she did not want to be my friend anymore. It hurt but it wasn’t my choice at that point.

The effect of it though has lasted. When I don’t have a friend respond now, especially one that usually responds right away, my mind starts going down the rabbit hole of what I did wrong and if I was going to lose them as well. It damaged my belief in myself, that I was a good friend. The doubts become overwhelming. I have to remind myself that I try my best with everyone around me. I have to remind myself that I have self-worth as well.

So in case you think that ghosting might be something you would want to do, just remember that one small honest conversation might be something that could save your relationship or at least give good closure to the other person when parting. Instead of just disappearing, give both people in the relationship a chance to work it out, whatever path it may take. It sounds hard but it’s my honest belief that it’ll show you that you can handle difficult situations as well as create good communication skills for future relationships. Besides, it’s just the kinder thing to do.

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