All too often, I see or read posts on the web about ghosting. If you’ve been living under a rock, then to ghost somebody means to disappear on them without a trace. If someone ghosts you, then you know that they are still there, except that they are not responding to you (like a ghost). As somebody who ghosts and blocks with near shamelessness, today I wanted to cast some light on why people might ghost you, and what you can do to cope.
On my blog, a lot of my readers regard me as somebody who is respectful and respectable, so maybe it seems unfathomable that I would ghost. Maybe this post will change your view of me, but for the sake of honesty and transparency, it is a risk that I am willing to take. Ghosters take all kinds of forms, and some do it for far more callous or selfish reasons than others. Regardless of how petty or small they might seem, it’s important not to tarnish us all with the same brush.
So without further ado, here are my top eight thoughts on ghosting:
1. It’s Not Me And It Really Is All You
Let’s just get this one out there, shall we? Sometimes people ghost because you text too much, you’re too clingy, the relationship is moving too fast or a variety of other reasons. For me, as a married woman, my acquintances now are purely on a friendship level. The last person I ghosted was threatening to kill himself and when I tried to talk him into getting help so that his little boys still had their Dad, he hurled abuse at me. I say it so many times on my blog; I am not a therapist, I am not a crisis negotiator, I am merely a personal blogger with her own experiences in battling with mental health problems. I do not have the skills, the training or the techniques to help somebody who is this far down in their life and, when he refused my suggestions to seek professional help, what more was there that I could do? I don’t know the man in person and the very fact that he also had a nasty nickname for his ex-wife and continued to stalk me online was probably all the more reason to say that ghosting him was a smart move anyway.
If somebody ghosts you on a whim, take a few moments to think back on your last interactions. Might there be something you’ve done to have caused it?
2. We Need Time To Think
I want to clear this up here because I hear about the “silent treatment” all too often and it’s not always the same thing. When I’m angry, I like some time to think, reflect and come up with a possible solution and I’m far more likely to be forgiving and cooperaptive if you give me the damn time that I’ve asked for! Just 10 or 20 minutes, please?
3. Maybe We Are Being Manipulative
You ignored us, so we’re ignoring you back. You hurt us, so now we’re intentionally hurting you. I can’t say that I’ve ever played this game, but I do know that it happens. If this is the reason, then I quite agree that it’s a childish one.
4. We’re Conflict Avoidant
I’ll put my hands up here and admit that I have a pretty conflict avoidant personality. Not completely, but I have to want to be in it if I’m going to get stuck in with solving the issue. It’s important to understand that conflict avoidant people aren’t cowards. Conflict avoidance often stems from growing up around abuse and domestic violence and for those people (and myself), conflict may bring painful reminders of shouting that escalates into violence. It doesn’t make it acceptable, but it may offer you an explanation.
5. We’re Hurting, Too
When I’m hurting, I shut down. It’s not to manipulate the situation, I’m a Highly Sensitive Person and I get so overwhelmed that it becomes physically impossible for me to function. I want to sleep, and often I can sleep for 2-3 hours at a time. See #2 above, it’s all about self preservation right now.
6. Maybe We Just Don’t Want To Try Again
Ouch, I know, that one hurts. You want us to carry on, you want us to keep fighting and we.. we’ve just given up. My own policy is that I always give people three chances, three chances to screw up royally. Screw up a third time (unless you cause harm to me, my loved ones or my belongings) and I’m gone. It’s about having boundaries and self respect, and enough self respect to not let people keep walking all over you.
7. Maybe The Trash Really Did Take Itself Out
I ghost sometimes, and I have been ghosted, too. You’re having a great conversation and then you get down to minimal answers and suddenly.. poof, they’re gone. Well, that’s okay, let ’em go. Do you really want Mr Dazzling who fled because of you’re a 7, not an 8? Of course you don’t.
8. We’re Actually Just Really Busy Right Now
Again, I’m going to put my hands up here and admit that I have penpals on Slowly that I haven’t written to in 6+ weeks. It’s not that I’m ghosting them, it’s that between the blog, my home life and my family, I haven’t had time to check in with them lately! I even had to cut down on how often I blog to make sure I get everything done, and my blog is where I really like to be! Sometimes, what appears as ghosting isn’t, people just get really, really busy and as much as they love their friends, sometimes checking in just isn’t that high up on the list. If you’re important, we’ll find time for you – that’s why I’m still here, blogging!
9. The Conversation Was Lacking (Sorry!)
Eesh, we really don’t like to think of ourselves as boring, do we? But, if a conversation is really struggling, I’m going to admit that I just kind of.. whoops-a-daisy! How did I ever not get back to you? I know it’s rude, but, well, more on that below.
10. Nobody Owes You Anything Anyway
One of the biggest frustrations I have with the attitude towards ghosting is that the other person owes you an explanation as to why they aren’t talking to you. Sorry, but that’s bullshit. There are almost 8 billion people in the world, do you ask each and every one of those who can talk why you won’t be crossing paths again? Of course you don’t. If people are meant to be in your life, they will be. Would you rather that they ghosted you, or would you rather hear how they think you’re socially awkward and how hanging with you would be cramping their style? Yes, at least you’d know, but words can stick around forever. Just occasionally, not knowing may sometimes be better. Have a good cry, then pull your socks up and move on to someone who matches you better.
How To Handle Being Ghosted
Now that I’ve talked about why people ghost, I want to talk to you a little bit about how you can get over being ghosted. I’ve explained why people ghost in my list of ten points above, but I also wanted to share with you the ways that I handle it when these things happen to me. Below are eight tips for handling the situation with grace:
1. Give It Some Time
If you aren’t sure that you have been ghosted, don’t rush in to accusing people of ghosting you. If they’ve been genuinely busy (or worse, even had an emergency!), it can make you seem really rude and self-centred. Calm down, relax and give it a few days to see if they contact you. I know it’s hard, but try.
2. Try A Friendly Message
Again, if you dive right in and ask why you’ve been ghosted, you’re probably going to be met with confrontation. Instead, opt for the casual “hi, how are you, is everything okay?”. Keep it short, friendly and open. If they want to reply, they will.
So you’ve sent a message and waited a few days but sadly, you’ve only been met with radio silence. If this happens to you, it’s time to accept that you have been ghosted. If you have been chatting a while, this may bring about feelings of anger or grief. Whatever you feel about the situation, it’s okay.
4. Cry (If You Need To)
Along with accepting that they have ghosted you. you may feel like you need to cry. Nothing you feel is wrong, you invested emotionally in this relationship and now you need to recover yourself from it. If that invulves big, glubby tears, let them fall.
5. Write In Your Journal Or Talk To A Friend
I write in an e-journal, so usually I just write it all down to cleanse my system, then maybe Ctrl +A then delete it afterwards. If that’s not possible, you may want to try writing it down and tearing your frustrations up, or venting to someone who is willing to listen. Lots of people have been ghosted and lots of people will know how it feels, so find someone you feel that you can trust and spill the beans.
7. Try To Stay Away From Social Media
It may be tempting to write a status about how this person is the worst, but nothing good can come of Facebook drama. Please, for the love of all that is holy, wait until you’ve calmed down before you think to write your next status post, especially if you have friends who are friends with the ghost!
8. (Maybe) Block Them
It sounds a bit childish, but if somebody ghosts me for something which is glaringly immature and not my fault (like just deciding that my photo is not quite what they were hoping for), I block them. It sends a clear and resolute message to the ghost: If you leave me now, I won’t be here when you return. If you think there’s a chance that you may be a B-list booty call, block them now. If you’re not on their A-list, they shouldn’t be on yours.
8. Take Care Of Yourself
Treat yourself, pour yourself a hot bath, eat some chocolate or go for a run, do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel better. They might not think you’re worth the time, but let’s face it, nobody loves you better than you do!
Alright my lovelies, that’s my thoughts on ghosting and being ghosted. Have you ever ghosted? How do you handle being ghosted? Why not share your thoughts in the comments?
Until next time!
Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,