In this day and age, we all know someone who has or been ghosted. In some instances, that person may be you. For those who don’t know, ghosting is the modern day term for giving someone the slip, usually in a way that involves technology (think: being left on read indefinitely). While the term is often reserved for Tinder matches and failed dating prospects, friendships are not immune to the one-sided decision to abruptly end a relationship. Not only is friendship ghosting a real thing, but it also happens for similar reasons to romantic ghosting: lousy communication, safety concerns, or even just lack of interest.
Because it’s 2019, here are some do’s and don’ts of friend ghosting:
DO CONSIDER YOUR “WHY”
It’s just as important to figure out what you don’t like as it is to figure out what you do like. Reap the most from your situation by asking why you need to end your friendship and why you need to do it via ghosting. Whether you’re ghosting because you just never feel like answering your old group partner’s invite to drinks, or because you had a falling out that would make the Real Housewives cringe, you’ll learn something new. You may find that your friendship had turned toxic and now you know which behaviors you want to steer clear of in future relationships. The reason your ghosting could be linked to knowing based on past actions that your ex-friend will not respond well to confrontation. Conclusions like these can help you spot red flags early on, and avoid having to ghost in the future.
DON’T GHOST TO BE PETTY
2019 is the year that self-care gets taken up a notch and we start looking at the toxic behaviors that we perform in our own lives. Have you been manipulative or selfish in a friendship? Have you been the one who has caused many of the issues you’re experiencing? Is there something you need to apologize for? If so, don’t ghost! Get your conscious clear and say what you need to say.
Ghosting should be done in your best interest, not as your go-to move for when you want to get back at someone and avoid responsibility for your actions. You don’t want to cut off conversations and attempts at reconciliation because you don’t like what you’re hearing or the outcome of the situation. You also don’t want to ghost and then spread rumors or wrongfully “expose” someone. As Dita Von Teese once said:
“Keep your dignity at all times.”
DO KNOW THAT IT’S OKAY TO GHOST SOMETIMES
Some people stand by the idea that ghosting is never okay and there’s never a good reason for it. We’re going to have to disagree. Ending all communication with a person for the sake of your mental health and well being, your safety, your valuable time is a hard but sometimes necessary decision. If you’re making this decision for you, feel okay about it. You don’t have to be ashamed or feel guilty about putting yourself first.
You should think about the role you played in the downfall of the relationship while also knowing that you can’t change another person. You can only change yourself based on what’s best for you.
DON’T MAKE GHOSTING A HABIT
As convenient as ghosting can be, there is a benefit to having hard conversations. This past year was the first time I had to tell a person close to me that we couldn’t be friends anymore. Actually saying those words hurt. However, I learned a lot from that situation and was able to say, “we push each other’s boundaries in unhealthy ways. Maybe we’ll be able to rekindle this sometime in the future, but not now.”
I also had someone tell me they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. Being on the other end of the break up is just as painful. It sucked, but I was able to see her point of view. Our values just didn’t align and they hadn’t for a while. It was time to part ways. It hurts, and I wish I could be everything for everyone and vice versa, but that’s never going to happen. I have closure and learned a lot from both situations: something I never would have gotten if I’d ghosted or been ghosted. Hard conversations can be worth it.
In an ideal world, no one would have to ghost anyone. We would all be on the same page and have similar communication styles. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, but it is where we should strive to be. Put yourself first, keep your dignity, and do what you need to find some good old fashioned peace. If that means deleting a phone number or blocking a social media account now and again, now you know how to do it.
Swipe through Hey! VINA to find your next gal pal that you’d never want to ghost.