Almost all of us has experienced a form of ghosting – the act of disappearing from someone’s life gradually or suddenly without any warning.
It sucks, to say the least. You are left feeling confused, bewildered and often rejected, wondering what you did wrong and why that person left you hanging, especially if you once shared a close and intimate relationship.
I have been on both sides of the story. I have, ashamedly, ghosted friends and interested men because I was simply afraid to tell them the truth: that I outgrew the relationship, that I was not interested in them, that I was not looking for anything more than just friends.
On the other hand, I have been ghosted before, and one such time happened recently. After this person showed his interest and made his intentions clear with me, we started talking for a couple of weeks. Suddenly, he stopped replying. No reason why was given. After a couple of more weeks of complete silence, I decided I didn’t have the capacity to deal with it and moved on. I felt lead on and rejected, sure, but there was also a feeling of anger that stemmed from wondering why; did I say or do something that made him drop and leave? What I would have greatly appreciated was an explanation. I think most of us would agree that being told no is okay if we are actually told no.
Basically, being ghosted has the ability to make people feel confused, upset and pretty rejected. Don’t do it.
Ghosting is undoubtedly easier than saying the hard stuff, the stuff no one wants to say, but needs to be said. This is not only for your peace of mind but because you have a duty to be kind and truthful to one another. It can be as simple as saying, “I appreciate your interest in me, and you seem like a cool person, but I’m not looking for anything further than friendship right now” or “I value our friendship and think you’re a ____ person, but I need some space for me right now and will connect with you if/when I am ready.” End it with a hope for their understanding and thank them if they are.
By being truthful as to why you need to distance yourself or completely end all communication, you respect their time and their energy rather than wasting it. You give them clarity and the peace to move on. Too many times have I heard perpetually stuck, frustrated friends say to me, “I just wished he/she was honest with me.”
We are living in tech-obsessed culture where simultaneously connecting and disappearing from someone’s life is all too easy, but I encourage and implore you to take the high road and say the hard stuff. Be very upfront, but be kind. People will appreciate it much more than you think.
Photo via Lehxay