For years I’ve remarked how all of life is like dating.
Do more listening than talking, watch body language, engage, court, follow up, note nonverbal cues…
It’s really all the same.
This is why it should have come as no surprise what I experienced last year in the friendship world is precisely what my younger friends endure when dating.
Ghosting is a term which began in the romantic realm and is used in reference to an individual suddenly disappearing from one’s life.
Vanishing without warning.
Less Casper the friendly and more old school Bloody Mary.
I’d not anticipated, however, I’d use ghosting to refer to my own experience, but hadn’t paused to consider what Id long asserted:
If all of life is like dating then I could be friend-ghosted in the same way friends have been ghosted by romantic partners.
The details are unimportant (here’s where I clarify if you think I’m talking about you—I’m not) but the sadness and feelings of bewilderment are not.
Someone I’d thought I could rely upon and who was integrated into the fabric of my life disappeared.
Without words. Without disagreement. Without warning.
At first I approached the scenario with my usual this has nothing to do with me attitude. Yet, as months passed and I couldn’t stop contemplating what happened, I knew I needed to reframe my thoughts.
To invest time reflecting on the experience as only after that would I be able to move through it.
Don’t take it personally.
This is my typical approach to life and one at which I rock. I know I have lots more happening than appears on the surface (I’m a duck: calm at top, frantic underneath) and consciously choose to believe others are similar. We’re all out there doing the best we can.
This life attitude serves me well. It simultaneously allows me to execute self-care and offer grace to others. It has allowed me to realize/learn most times other people are not thinking about me at all. They are out there simply struggling to carry-on and be human.
Ghosting, aka deliberate vanishing, didn’t feel this way to me. I shed my ability to maintain perspective. I metaphorically pressed on the bruise of the friendship-loss repeatedly to be certain it still hurt.
Don’t be me.
What other people think of us really is none of our business.
I’m a big advocate of keeping nothing inside. I’m a talker and a communicator and can flog that poor equine to death repeatedly.
Again, don’t be me.
If someone cannot see your value – – they’re not your person.
Confrontation or demanding an explanation won’t change how the other person feels. And, should you be able to change the dynamic in the short term/drag them back, the ghosting will only happen again.
Don’t be me. Take my word on that one.
After 47 and a half years on the planet I’ve leaned I have the inimitable ability to let go and yet still remain stuck.
I told myself I’d moved on—I’d check said friend’s Instagram account and note the fabulous girls weekend she’d just returned from.
(pro-tip: as with romantic partners stalking on social is never a good idea.)
Sure, I rekindled old friendships & created new ones, but as with breaking up with a romantic-partner I still wondered what my Casper friend would have thought when I was in certain situations/experiences.
I needed to not merely give lip service to the fact I’ve moved on from our friendship: I needed to mean it.
I needed to recognize for whatever reason– one which I’d most likely never know–our dynamic changed and she chose not to tell me.
This change, however, did not negate all the memories we’d created together or what our friendship once was.
Ghosting or not, in order to move on, it was imperative I acknowledged what we’d had and make peace with the fact it no longer existed.
And you know what? In the end all of this worked.
Not only could I acknowledge all the good that had existed in our friendship, I was able to forgive and move on.
- Have you experienced ghosting of a non-romantic sort? How did you overcome it?