Ghosting (definition adapted from Urban Dictionary):
A term used to describe when a person one has been seeing for a while stops taking calls and answering their texts. These actions are usually preceded by many a broken promise to “hang out” or “catch up” on the part of the Ghoster. The Ghostee is left wondering whether the person that who was infatuated with them two weeks ago is now alive or dead. Neither can be definitively proven.
Ghosting is a huge part of life in the 21st century. If you have dated anyone in this millennium, ghosting is practically the calling card of our generation. A study published in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that out of about 1,300 study participants, 25% had ghosted people, and 20% of respondents had been ghosted themselves. Ghosting does not only refer to romantic situations, but also to friendships, being flaky and not following up in situations in general.
We know it’s rude and that we shouldn’t do it, but we do.
When you are the ghost, it is an easier tactic than dealing with your problems directly. But when you get ghosted, it’s really hurtful, especially when it is by someone who you really care about. Maybe you are going through a breakup, maybe it is a former friend, or perhaps it is just someone who you thought cared about you more than they evidently do.
As a recent Ghostee, I can attest to the awfulness of reaching out to someone for support only to find that they’ve disappeared, but I can also attest to the fact that I’m over it. Now that I’ve made it through, I’ve compiled five easy steps to help you get through being ghosted, so you can bounce back and continue to be the fabulous person that you are!
1. Accept it. You’ve been ghosted.
In every process towards self-actualization, you must first accept the situation you are in. No, their phone hasn’t stopped receiving texts; sorry, they aren’t “super busy”; nope, this wasn’t a mistake. Unfortunately, you have been well and truly ghosted. It’s really hard to let go of the idea that this person has let you down and failed you, but this fundamental acceptance is necessary to move on.
2. Feel angry/sad/disappointed/hurt/frustrated.
This is an incredibly important step. Let yourself feel all that you need to. Of course you’re upset – how dare they?!
At this stage you might find yourself in denial again – check the text you sent, it says “Delivered,” but WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? You will wonder what you did wrong, but the truth is, you did not do anything to warrant the unpredictable disappearance of a friend from your life.
3. Think about how to respond.
Resist the urge to keep pursuing the issue. It will only make you feel worse. You do not need to subject yourself to more negative emotions.
Truly, if someone cared about you, you would not begin to doubt their affection due to a lack of communication.
4. Decide that the best reaction is none at all.
Trying to get that person to remember how wonderful you are is not going to make things better. You should never have to make a case for yourself in order to get someone else to treat you with the respect that you deserve. If you have to do that, they clearly do not respect you enough to begin with.
Also, the fact that your values do not align on foundational matters, such as communication, shows that you two are perhaps incompatible for any sort of relationship – romantic, or otherwise.
5. Realize that you are a badass.
You never have to tell someone, “Hey! Come back! I am worth it!” because, it’s true, you are worth it. You have to know that. No one else can validate that for you.
You do not need someone back in your life who can hurt you like that, or who can make you feel unwanted, or insecure. Anyone who can make you feel inferior in any way, or make you doubt yourself, is not a friend. Even if the Ghost comes back in your life, the fact that they have had that impact on you, and have been able to mess with your feelings, means that there is nothing left to salvage.
I believe that the second you lose confidence in a relationship, it’s over. As soon as you stop trusting someone, it’s over. If you get suspicious, it’s over.
Continue to be awesome, immerse yourself in activities that make you feel great about yourself, and realize you are much better off without the negative energy in your life.
The one thing that you can do that makes you a real badass, is to say, “Yeah, you ghosted me. You are going to miss me. This is your loss. I do not need you.”