We’ve all experienced the inevitable ghosting by a guy. You know, you’re cruising along, things are going well, you’ve been texting every day, maybe even hung out a time or two…when all of a sudden, POOF. He vanishes, into thin air and into the night, leaving you wondering what you did wrong or what could have happened to scare him away and sometimes even checking obituaries because only death itself is a suitable excuse for him literally falling off the face of the earth. (C’mon. We’ve all been there.)
But what about when a friend ghosts?
It seems in this day and age of endless forms of communication, never has it been easier for people, and yes, even friends…to excommunicate themselves from our lives. I recently had this happen to me. A friend who I considered very near and dear to my life, someone I talked to almost daily and hung out with weekly and even traveled with, just one day disappeared from my life. I’ve been in this place in my life where I don’t want to do all the work anymore when it comes to friendships or relationships. I don’t want to feel like I’m making all the effort, doing all the inviting, always reaching out and asking and planning and coordinating. It’s exhausting. And it leaves you wondering “if I stop doing all of the work, would this person still be in my life?” And if the answer to that question is no, then was the relationship ever really that strong to begin with? I guess I got my answer with this particular friendship, because when I stopped being the initiator, the relationship completely fizzled. And that hurts. And left me wondering why I wasn’t more important to this person’s life the way they were to mine. But going through the upheaval that I’ve been through over this past year – all the changes and struggles and growth and BECOMING – it’s taught me more than a little bit about letting go. I don’t want to hold on to people who don’t want and don’t actively choose to be in my life, friends or otherwise. And I might have lost a few friends over the past year as a result of no longer being willing to carry the entire friendship on my back, but was it really a loss? I think some losses are really gains in that we gain back time we were investing in the wrong people and energy spent worrying about why they never seemed to quite reciprocate our efforts and even parts of ourselves that we lost in the frantic efforts to stay in someone’s life who wasn’t doing anything to keep us in theirs.
The really crazy thing is that my adventures in online dating with Bumble are teaching me a lot about letting go, too. The hard truth that I’ve learned through this process is that some guys are simply going to disappear with no explanation and there’s nothing I can do about it and no point in trying to understand it. Sometimes I’m going to think a meet-up or a date went really well and then I’m never going to hear from the guy again. It’s not going to always make sense and I’m not going to always get an answer or closure. That’s just life.
And so it goes with all people who ghost. A pretty wise woman once said: “Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did. Let it go.” (In case you were wondering, that pretty wise woman was me, haha!) So whether it’s a friendship or a relationship…here are a few tips for surviving a ghosting:
• Ask yourself: Did I do anything wrong here? Is there perhaps something that happened that I need to own up to and apologize for? Did I alienate this person in any way? If so, do what you need to do to make it right. Sometimes when we get really honest with ourselves, we realize that our own actions played a role, however, minor, in the other person’s retreat. HOWEVER, I will say this. When someone ghosts and completely vanishes from your life without a trace, typically there was nothing you did to cause it and nothing you could have done to stop it.
• Make peace with the fact that you may never know why they disappeared, stopped texting, stopped calling, and never talked to you again. Maybe they were going through something in their own lives that caused them to isolate themselves. Maybe another friend or relationship came along and distracted them. Maybe they were intimidated by you and didn’t see a place for themselves in your life. Or maybe it was none of the above or all of the above. The point is…you’ll likely never know. So you can beat your head repeatedly into a wall trying to figure out the un-figure-out-able, or you can simply let go and move on with your life.
• Realize that as horrible as this ghosting feels, this person’s retreat from your life does not have to completely devastate you. You have other options, both in love and friendship. Look around at the amazing people already in your life who DO make an effort to be there. Hey! Now you have more time to spend with them. And if you are in need of new people in your life, love and/or friendship might just be a swipe away. Give Bumble a try! Even if you’re not looking for love, the Bumble BFF function is awesome for making new friends. It’s HARD to make friends as an adult, and BFF takes all the work right out of it. I met one of my best friends on Bumble BFF, and if she’s the only thing Bumble ever brings into my life, it will be enough. You have to be willing to put yourself out there a little and try new things if you want to meet new people. Nothing worthwhile in life was ever achieved by staying safe inside your comfort zone!
At the end of the day, just know that a friend or a romantic interest ghosting says nothing about you and everything about them. If they couldn’t even take the time to explain why they needed to exit stage left of your life, they’re not worthy of being in your life. Don’t hold a place for them. Move on to all the people and relationships and friendships that are rewarding and life-giving and always reciprocal. They are out there, I promise. You just might have to swipe right or left a few times to find them. ￼