I thought about writing this blog exactly a year ago… totally because of the Halloween timing, but because I knew it would be hard to write, I put it off.
So, if you don’t know what Ghosting is, let me explain.
You usually hear about Ghosting in the dating game… if you thought being dumped by text was rude, this just got to a whole new level! Maybe you’ve been seeing someone for a little while and all of a sudden, they’ve blocked your number, removed you from social media – they’ve vanished. You have no idea what you have done, no explanation… do you make an effort to contact them or not? Maybe they’ve been run over by a bus! But there you are, they’ve disappeared and you just got Ghosted!
I’ve also heard the term Ghosting being used when a friendship breaks down, or when you’re ‘phased out’. I’m not just talking about an acquaintance here, or someone I would say hello to in the street… this is ‘Sister from another Mister’, oldest school friend since the age eight kind of friendship, and given that I’ve now passed the big 40… that’s a whole lot of friendship right there!
I’ve tried so many times to pinpoint when this all happened. When did I start to be ‘phased out’. I can’t. There was no row, no bad words. I just remember that there was a point where I was always the one making the effort. Friendship is a two way street, however this road was only going one way.
Things hadn’t always been this way. Not so long before the ‘phase out’ began, the friendship was very much a two way thing, maybe even swinging the other way. We would spend well over an hour on the phone of an evening when we’d be seeing each other the next day which my hubby would always find hilarious. We’d hang out as couples, going out for drinks and meals, spend time at our house, and she was a big part of our kids’ lives.. they adored ‘her’.
What I do know now, is that when things were very much about her ie; big birthday bash, getting married, I would be very much a part of her life. All the planning – yep, happy for me to be a big part of it!
So what changed? Maybe real life… and realisation of what is to come… or not to come.
There was one big difference between myself and ‘Ghosty’. We’d had children (her godchildren), however the likelihood of this happening for her was slim. Not in a mother nature’s decision kind of way – it was very much a choice thing. And although I’ve never been told, because I wasn’t deemed worthy of a conversation, I’m sure this is the catalyst that drove the wedge between us.
So what happens when you get phased out?
For a while, you continue as you always did, texting funny stuff, trying to arrange to meet for a coffee, but those texts stop getting answered and there is always an excuse not to catch up.
After a while you start playing the game ‘lets see how long it takes before she makes contact’. You leave it for weeks, months and then cave! Then there would be more excuses not to catch up. It would leave any further meetings more awkward with this big fat elephant in the room.
Things that you traditionally do in the year don’t happen. Christmas presents get dropped in by others, birthday cards delivered when you’re on school run and the message is clearly given that you’re not worthy of their time.
It’s not you, it’s them…
The one thing I took from the whole situation was that it wasn’t just me. My other friends from our friendship group were being treated similarly, I just seemed to be taking it the worst. I also found out that I was being blamed for the breakdown of the friendship group as a whole. Nothing to do with the fact that ‘ghosty’ was being a shit friend to all of us! I found that pretty tough to take.
What is so difficult about the whole Ghosting situation is that you don’t get closure. You don’t get to say your bit. You don’t get to ask why. What would I say if I had the chance? I must have gone through a conversation in my head 1000 times. But I was never given the opportunity to say it.
So how does it feel to be Ghosted?
It’s a complete head fuck to be frank! You get to wonder what the hell you did wrong. You get to analyse every text message you ever sent to see if it was something you might have said. You feel hurt when they ignore you, pretending not to see you as they walk past you in the street. You feel heartbroken.
Don’t just take my word for it…
I know what it’s like to go through grief when someone dies, and whilst this will never touch that experience, losing your oldest friend of 30 years and not being told why is a pretty significant second place.
We shared so many memories, from dancing in my bedroom to Wham, to school discos and college parties to pop concerts and hen weekends. You go through a grieving process of not sharing those memories with that person anymore. You think about all the things you did for them in the past and feel bitter for how you’ve been treated.
I totally get the fact that people move on in different directions during their lives, and I’m cool with that. What I have found difficult is not being given the courtesy of a conversation and to get closure on the whole situation.
Time to move on…
I can’t lie, it has taken me a good two years (probably more) to come to terms with it and it’s not just affected me but my family too. Thankfully, I have bloody amazing friends. I make sure I surround myself with positive, supportive people that light up the room… not turn all the lights off! I don’t have time for negativity, stubbornness and constant critique of every situation – so maybe I actually got the good end of the deal!
My advice though, if you find that you’re in a similar situation with a friend, a true friend, do the decent thing and have a conversation about it. Don’t be a dick and ‘Ghost’ them!
Until next time…
Love & hugs,