Being on the receiving end of ghosting suck. The one time you thought you found your person, whether as a romantic partner or a friend, they switched the bulb on you. It’s a scar that drives you into contemplation.
“Did I do something wrong?” You start feeling remorse and guilt for nothing you did wrong. You are out on your first date looking suave, anticipating all the fun…bubble bursts, and your date cancels on you without any communication. Or you suddenly stop getting any response from the person who always had your back unprovoked. What happened? You got ghosted.
There is no worse feeling than being blindsided, especially if it’s someone you care about. They stop answering your calls and responding to texts. It’s like asking someone to walk you down a dark, narrow street, and they say, “I’m right behind you,” only for you to look and realise they are nowhere in sight.
Ghosting is unavoidably a trend in both worlds of friendship and relationship. In an experiment comprising 747 people, 39% confirmed a friend ghosted them, while 32% admitted to being guilty of ghosting.
No good feeling comes from being Ghosted
While in some situations, ghosting may be attributed to the advent of social technology, it can also come from our social circle. The everyday people you wine and dine with. Imagine saying “hello” to your roommate in the morning and getting snubbed for no obvious reason. People passively moving on from their friend or partner is a tale as old as time. It’s almost easy to avoid actively ending things.
“Unless there’s a major breach of trust or act of disloyalty, people are less likely to break up with their friends than they are to, very passively, let the friendship wither on the vine,” says Beverley Fehr, Ph.D. a professor of social psychology at the University of Winnipeg, in Canada.
Which is to say they are probably no longer into you.
Now, that can dampen anyone, especially since you can’t get closure if they won’t reply to your text or answer your calls.
“When something is going wrong in a romantic relationship, people tend to want to talk it over and resolve it,” Fehr says. “But when a friendship ends, it can be murky and unclear. You’re left dangling with no resolution.”
How to Deal with Ghosting.
While your action may be subjective to your ghosting stories, here’s what you should know.
Allow Things to play out naturally
This is not to say you should embrace the situation; it just means letting yourself see things differently. Things happen, and people find themselves in a dicey situation that takes them off the bridge. It could be a medical emergency, work issues or kids to tend to. However, it can sometimes be challenging to know if a person is going through something or is deliberately ignoring you. But you can give your friend the benefit of the doubt. If, after, say, three attempts to get in touch, you see that they read your text or left you unread, it might need to back off.
Fehr says, “If you’ve made a couple of overtures and you’re not hearing anything back, it may be a sign the person is moving on from the friendship,”.
Let your Goodbye Reflect kindness
Allow yourself peace from within, knowing you genuinely care. Laura Whitney Sniderman, M.A., a coach and founder of the friendship app, says, “You can send a final thoughtful text show you care and are curiosity” Rather than deflect and throw blame, be curious to understand what is going with them as to why they’ve been a ghost mode. In the same spirit, be vulnerable in sharing and express appreciation for your connection with them.
Laura suggests you end your message with: “I’ve always valued our friendship and would love to hear from you when you’re ready to be in touch again.”
You may also like: 5 Simple Tips to Stay Happy Even in Distress
Avoid the Social Media Rabbit Hole
Staking is unhealthy; constantly checking their social media page to see what or who they hang out with will only prolong the misery. It’s fine to check to see if they unfollowed you, and if they did, it removes the ambiguity and doubts you may have. “At that point, it’s a good idea to remove them from all your social media, as well, so you don’t count and dwell on your loss”, says Fehr
Give yourself time to Grieve
Losing something endearing bitter pill to swallow. It feels like rejection. And when not handled appropriately, rejection can blow up and crash our self-esteem. Fehr discovers from social psychology experiments that people have a striking negative reaction when rejected by someone they’ve just met in a lab experiment. A friendship breakup is just as hurtful as a romantic breakup. Whether it’s a friendship or romantic relationship, you deserve all the self-care and support.
They say when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade. While these friendships may have impacted you, it is just one phase of your life. However, “It’s important to step back and remind yourself that this is just one part of your life where things haven’t gone the way you wanted, but you have other people who love you, and there are other areas in your life where you’re valued, and your efforts are appreciated,” Fehr adds how it also helps to write down things in the form of a gratitude journal as it allows you process and crystallise your thoughts. Whatever the nature of your ghosting experience is, never allow yourself to be swayed by it; always remind yourself of your self-worth.