Disclaimer: This is my rant on ghosting. I apologize in advance for my crude language, cussing, and general bitterness on this topic.
Why has it suddenly become societally/socially acceptable and commonplace to stop communicating with or even acknowledging someone’s existence (especially someone you had a solid and frequent relationship with of some sort)?
Let me be clear with you. The *only* time it’s possibly justifiable to ghost on someone is when there is a legitimate concern of safety / there is a restraining order in place with someone.
I’m serious. Have you ever been ghosted? Ghosting sucks. It’s not okay.
Why Ghosting is Not OK
1. It provides no avenue of resolution.
The only way to hear the other side of someone’s story and get to any possibility of resolution requires something most people don’t seem to do anymore: TALKING. ACTUALLY VERBALIZING THINGS. Clearing the air and understanding each other and maybe even finding some common ground can only be done in a DISCUSSION. This requires 2 or more people opening their mouths and SAYING THINGS and LISTENING. What the fuck?! Why is this such a concept to people? It’s like we’re all such fucking social retards that we don’t understand how to tell people when we’re upset and hear why they did X that made us feel like Y. We’d rather walk away and chew on the guilt of upsetting someone FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES than just doing the *right* thing and picking up the phone or seeing the person face-to-face and trying to find out what’s going on that led that person to their actions. We so often assume malicious intent in an action where there was none – even with people who have been solid friends for years! People are human. People make mistakes. And hate to tell you this – but SO ARE YOU! Give people the benefit of the doubt. Or at the very least tell them you’re walking away and why. You owe them that at least.
2. It doesn’t provide either person practice in healthy confrontation, communication, or closure.
God knows we all need practice in confronting people about hard shit – whether that is about telling someone something you did wrong or something you feel they did wrong. We *all* can improve on *how* we tell someone these things and how we can listen to the response back. If you’d like to learn more about this and see great direct examples of how to do this, look up books and talks on Non-Violent Communication (NVC). Great, life-changing things. If we can’t learn to do this with small things in life, we definitely won’t be able to talk to the most important people in our lives about things that really matter. Start now. If you’re willing to let go of this relationship anyway, is there really anything to lose in trying something different?
3. It doesn’t allow or encourage either person to own their own shit or learn from their mistakes.
There is *always* something to learn in situations like this – even if it’s just being responsible for your own emotions and your own decisions to let a relationship go. It is hard to reject someone. It’s even harder to say it to them without running away. You owe it to them and you owe it to yourself to say what you need to say. It’s also possible their response is different than you expect. It’s possible it will change your whole perspective on relationships, the world, and everything. Okay, maybe I’m being overly idealistic. But seriously. Put on your big person pants and do what you know is right and fair to everyone involved. For the love of Pete.
4. It’s just fucking rude. And cowardly.
Treat others as you’d like to be treated. You want people to communicate back with you when you speak with/text with/email them, yeah? So please just fucking communicate back with them. Period. The end. Thanks.
5. You’re dumping a good thing for a stupid reason.
If you’re willing to lose a good friendship, why not at least try to find some healing by doing the above? If you can’t, fine, tell the person “I wish you the best.” But seriously? This person mattered to you – possibly a whole hell of a lot – before something (or many somethings) made it suddenly seem like the best choice to walk away without even telling them you were leaving. Maybe there is something worth saving there. Maybe you can find it if you…hey…TALK. Re: #1.
How to come back from ghosting:
1. Apologize. A genuine one goes a long fucking way.
2. Explain why you ghosted.
3. Own your shit.
4. Say goodbye or say how you would like to change and repair this friendship/relationship.
5. Ask if they are open to this.
6. Accept a “no.”
7. Sleep better knowing you did the right thing whatever the outcome.
How to avoid ghosting in the future:
1. Don’t avoid your feelings. Tell someone when something upsets you RIGHT THEN (or at least once you’ve figured out your thoughts about the situation). Be honest. Don’t let it turn into months or years of resentment where every little thing piles up. Just get it out there. JUST DO IT. Write it down if you need to. I recommend sleeping on it before sending. In the book If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late by James Sexton, he recommends a “Hit Send Now” policy with your significant other. Overall, I think the concept is right on. (Also, this book is a really good read. Highly recommend it.) Also, this post is a good example of “Do as I say, not as I do.” because I’m hitting send now without sleeping on it. 😉
2. Own your shit. Realize your emotions are your responsibility and theirs are…well, theirs.
3. TALK. I think this point has been made. Add in #2.
4. LISTEN. Even more important than talking.
5. Don’t be a dick. (Sorry, I’m really angry about this topic. But seriously. Don’t.)
In summary: Ghosting. Not Okay. If you fucked up already, you might be able to come back from it. That person does not owe you forgiveness. If they don’t accept your apology, learn from it for the future.