Ghosting – if you have been ghosted, let it go, if you ghost, let it go
‘Being ghosted and ghosting feel equally “crappy”’ Joseph Rauch
I didn't even know this term existed until a couple of days ago when I was reading a Facebook post by Jade Teta of Metabolic Effect. According to Jade 'for those who don't know ghosting is when a friend (romantic or otherwise) starts ignoring all your communication. Texts go without a reply, calls don't get returned etc. Apparently a huge percentage of adults engage in this behaviour rather than just having a conversation. This leaves the ghosted person often confused and hurt'.
This has happened to me, and to others I know, and I hadn't known that there was an actual name for it! I thought it was just people, well, not wanting to communicate with me, for whatever reason, through not replying to messages, emails, texts, phone calls and even being deleted from Facebook by some!
Yes it hurts, no I don’t always know why someone has chosen to behave like that. Yes I’ve often thought it was something I’d done, how I’d behaved, that it was obviously my fault, I wasn’t a good enough or worthy enough person for them to want to reply or keep in touch. And if they did deign to eventually reply then I should be ever so grateful for that and not wonder, or question, why it had taken them so long to do so.
Having done a little bit of research into this it’s quite saddening to see how often it happens and that it happens in all types of relationships, with friends, with family, with partners, with clients and, unfortunately many people who have experienced it have also been guilty of doing it to someone else.
How you deal with it I think very much depends upon you as a person
Like I said I’ve been ‘ghosted’ and I’ve always found it quite hard to deal with, even though I have become better at managing my reaction to it happening now. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t’ hurt, sadden and disappoint me that some people have chosen to ignore and not reply to whatever method of communication I may have used with them. If I have perhaps behaved, spoken or acted in a way that wasn’t agreeable with them then maybe I could understand a bit more but even then I think it’s better that someone has a conversation with you rather than just ‘ghost’ you.
Fortunately my belief in myself has been returning for a while now, and does so more each day, so I can now acknowledge what has happened, work through it and then come out the other side. I also have people I can talk to about what has happened, how I feel about it and who help me rationalise these feelings and how I manage going forward.
Yes people are seemingly more busy these days and often the reasons used for ‘ghosting’ (if reasons are given that is) are a lack of time, something they hadn’t quite gotten round to yet, other things got in the way and such like. But that’s no reason to ignore, to not respond and to not be honest if you don’t want to keep in touch.
People don’t seem to like endings whichever end they are on
Endings ‘are awkward and uncomfortable and it is becoming easier and easier to avoid them all together’ according to Elisabeth Joy LaMotte. With the rise in social media it’s even more apparent and more obvious when it’s happening as there are now even more methods in which to communicate and hence more ways in which you can decide not to keep in touch!
Of course if someone is stalking, and/or harassing you then yes maybe the best thing to do is not reply but what we’re talking about here is people who you’ve been friendly with, been in a relationship with, who may have been your client or even a member of your family. Those to whom you’ve given your time, your trust, with whom you’ve shared experiences and confidences with, whom you thought would treat you with the same courtesy and respect that you would treat them with.
Of course not everyone is right for everyone all the time
Sometimes we just drift apart from people for no reason in particular, it just happens. Not everyone is the right fit for you, yes they may have been right for times in the past but it doesn’t meant that they’re right for you now.
Life takes us all on our own journeys and people come and go, some stay, some don’t but these are often relationships, friendships that have run their course and you know that nothing in particular was wrong and that you’re not being ignored or ‘ghosted’. That, if you saw each other again you’d, hopefully, be courteous and respectful. There are even those that were in your life, left for a while, and are now back in it – some people are right for some stages of our lives and some for others.
It’s the deliberate act of ‘ghosting’ that is harsh and hurtful
When someone ignores your messages, your calls, your texts, even ignores or doesn’t acknowledge you in person, without any explanation why, this is what hurts, saddens and disappoints. This is when your mind goes into overdrive analysing, questioning, wondering what you did wrong, why they’re behaving like that towards you and, as often is the case, you end up thinking you’re the one at fault (even if you’re not) and perhaps not feeling like a good enough friend, client, partner and you can then take this into future friendships and relationships, both personal and professional, which will affect how they develop, grow and evolve.
As Jade Teta said in his post, whereas you might expect such behaviour (avoid/ignore tactics) from ‘an immature teenager, if an adult is doing this than plain and simply they are an emotional scrub. If they don't have the awareness, decency and courage to have a conversation with you as to why they no longer want to talk, they just did you a favour.’
He continues with ‘You should never have to convince someone how great you are. They either see it, and are mature enough and secure enough to let you know, or they don't and can’t honestly compassionately tell you. Why would you ever waste your time with someone who doesn't appreciate your greatness, or can't be honest with you why it's not a good fit for them?’
I love this approach and I think it’s missing in a lot of people, they revert to childish, sometimes quite nasty, cowardly even, behaviour rather than actually be brave, honest and authentic and tell someone how they really feel in a mature and open way. I have been guilty of this at times as well, I think we all have, but I think that to be a mature, responsible, kind adult we do have to face up to these difficult conversations, bite the bullet and just say it as it is. Who knows you might find that you can work through whatever went wrong and come out the other side with, or without, the friendship, relationship intact but both having more respect and understanding of each other and both being able to go forward in life without dwelling, pondering, wondering, blaming.
Potential Reasons for ghosting
If you have ghosted or are tempted to do so
‘The next time you have the urge to ghost someone, consider sharing this simple and direct sentence with them instead – “I’m not developing the feelings I should be developing, so I don’t think we should continue hanging out”’ Elisabeth Joy LaMotte
Or something to that effect, if you can be honest with someone at least you have shown them respect, demonstrated courtesy and treated them like the decent human being that they are. They may not like it, they will, more than likely, be hurt and saddened but, as you’ve been honest and truthful, they will not then be wasting their time and energy on confusion and wondering why and if there’s anything more they could be doing to try to make you communicate with them again.
Yes their self-esteem could take a battering but not as much as it would have done if they hadn’t had someone being honest with them. They can they learn how to manage their reaction and feelings and, eventually, hopefully, go forward in a more positive way.
If you are being ghosted
As Miranda, in Sex and the City, decided to do if she was ghosted ‘understand that if someone can’t be bothered to let you down easy then they’re not worthy of your emotional energy’.
It’s most likely that it’s not about you, it’s about the person doing the ghosting and their insecurities, issues and inability to be honest and truthful. Yes sometimes there are genuine reasons which you may eventually find out but don’t waste your time and energy wondering or worrying about it, not easy but possible and definitely healthier for you.
‘Each ending is an excellent opportunity for emotional growth. The passive aggressive act of ghosting represents a missed emotional opportunity. Concluding a relationship with the respect it deserves demonstrates the ability to own and articulate an independent decision’ Elisabeth Joy LaMotte
Remember in the words of Jade Teta, ‘there are a lot of attractive people in the world and it is easy to find one with depth of character, empathy, maturity and kindness’. These are the people in whom you would be better off investing your time, your trust and your emotional energy. Work on yourself, work on being true to yourself and you will attract these type of people to you as well as being one yourself of course!
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