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.

What About Your Friends? (Throwback to TLC)

There are some days that it really hits that I don’t have that many friends. I definitely have a few good friends but I’m not getting 800 invites per weekend to do things. People aren’t throwing parties in my honor, I’m not getting a ton of texts a day, and my weekends aren’t crammed with random events.

To be fair, having kids also limits your social life a little bit but I don’t want to blame them since this has spilled over from my life pre-kids.

My friends have now evolved into people who will come running any time of the day if I need them, people who will be there to the best of their ability between their busy lives, people who I can be completely open to about what I feel and think.

And while I love that I do have some really good friends, sometimes, it does hit me that I’m never going to be the popular girl.

I guess I never was. From the second I was in school, I have never been the center of anyone’s crowd. I’ve never been the person that everyone needed at a party. I’m not the person that would up anyone’s social standing (if there is still such a thing). Even my “groups” from college or different dance teams have moved in a different direction. And while I was there though, I was always on the periphery. I was the one person who was good friends with one of the people in the group which is how I was a part of it.

Honestly, I suck at making small talk with people. And to be completely blunt, sometimes, I’d rather be home with a good book or watching tv than be in a social setting full of people I don’t know.

For example, a few years ago I went to a party without my kid for the first time since becoming a mom. I was so excited to be able to be in the party scene again. But when I was there, I spent all my time hanging out with a good friend who I still saw on a monthly basis and talked to all the time anyways. I did small talk with a bunch of other people who I knew but wasn’t really friends with and then just hung out with the person I was most comfortable with and liked being around. It made me wonder what the point was of being at this party.

Recently, I watched someone who has a lot of friends at their social events. I kept trying to figure out if she was just more extroverted than I or maybe nicer than I am. Maybe she is just easy-going enough to be able to accumulate a lot more friends. Maybe she just has more time since she isn’t raising 2 smalls kids. (Although again, I don’t think that is a fair assessment because these personality traits of mine were there before I had kids.)

I also started wondering if sometimes, people just hang out with each other so they have “friends”. Do some of them in the group really even like each other? Or do they just tolerate it because it’s their group?

I don’t really have a conclusion to this. All I know is that this is where I am in life. At this point, I don’t really expect it to change. Maybe between the time I was a teenager to my 20s. Or my 20s to my 30s. But now, on the downside to 40, I doubt that I can change this part of my personality. I don’t even know if I’d want to. I’ve made the effort this far in my life and maybe it’s time for me to just be.

This might just be who I am.

If You Aren’t Happy, Change It

We have all probably gone through a time where we felt stuck and didn’t know how to get out of it. We all know that person who complains about the same thing over and over again.

Me, personally, I didn’t necessarily complain. I just fell into a deep, dark depression while pretending everything was okay. And then, I’d explode and cry and be extremely┬áconfused on what I was supposed to do. Then, I would fall back into the same cycle I was in before I exploded. It was never-ending.

After going through that a few times, I realized that nothing was going to get better just because I was dealing with something I didn’t like. Things didn’t just fix themselves. I had to fix them. I had to change something.

Change is hard to make. We all get used to the way things are or the way we think they are supposed to be. One thing we have to realize is that there is no set plan on how to deal with something. What works for one person might not work for another. We are allowed to adjust our life to make it a happier place for us to be in.

Sometimes, these changes are the biggest decisions you will ever make. One of mine was to leave the college and major I had chosen and move back home and attend a local college with a different major. It took me a year and a half and a lot of depression to figure that I was not supposed to be at that school, doing what I was doing. I have never regretted it.

So take the leap. If you are stressed about something or unhappy about something, change it. Figure out a better way to deal with it. Don’t just accept that this is the way life is and this is the only way it has to be.

A Weekend of Memories

This past weekend was a weekend of memories. How many times have you gone to a wedding or an event and the people from your past were there?

Sometimes, it can be a good thing. Sometimes, it can be a difficult thing.

You find out how many people remember you and how many of those people remember the good about you.

I was lucky enough to run into my former roommate from a college I had left after my sophomore year. We had kept in touch for a while but as life happens, we just lost touch. It felt good catching up. There was definitely a reason we had been friends in the first place.

I ran into some people that I used to hang out with, some that I used to dance with. Some of the people I had just met through someone but for some reason, they actually did remember who I was. And it was funny because one of those people actually knew my husband from a completely different situation.

I also ran into a few people from my former life and from my former relationship. Luckily for me, they were kind and didn’t treat me like I was the bad guy for leaving that relationship. At one point, I had a good friendship with them so it was a relief to know that we could at least catch up in a positive way regardless of whether we would ever resume that friendship.

It was a weekend that gives me hope for resuming and continuing a few friendships that I had just lost touch with.

It was a good weekend.

When We Change, Do Our Friendships Change?

Facebook keeps us connected with a lot of people we have met in our lives. I still have friends on Facebook from high school and college. And, honestly, it’s interesting to see where we end up.

Somehow, over the last few years, I’ve become completely separated from most of my friends from college. I had already separated from the friends I made at the first college I attended but now I’m not really in touch with the friends I had made at my second college as well.

When I look over the last 10 years and see the amount of friendships that have just faded, I wonder if it’s me. Is it that I’ve changed or that I haven’t kept in touch? Or is it that these friendships were never really solid in the first place and were more a matter of circumstance? Have I stayed in touch more with those people who I share a mutual interest with or was there something different that kept us connected?

We want to keep those around us that helps us be better people. And when we don’t feel good about ourselves around some, we choose to give ourselves some space. But when we look at the past, it is sad to realize that there are so many people we have walked away from or that have walked away from us.

Could we have done something differently? Could I have done something differently? Would I have wanted to do something differently? Would it have to take a sacrifice of self in order to maintain these friendships? Or just working through difficult times with certain people?

How much of ourselves do we have to give in order to stay friends with people who we have outgrown or who have outgrown us? Is it worth it? When I see so many people I know still socializing and celebrating each other’s life events (thanks completely to Facebook), I definitely do wonder if I missed out.

I know I need to focus on the people who are currently in my life and continue to work on those relationships. I don’t want to take them for granted and there is a reason that they are in my life now. I don’t want to dwell on what could have, should have, would have been.

But every now and then, I do wonder.