Ghosting isn’t just for romantic relationships. Friendship ghosting is a real thing and can hurt just as much as a boyfriend or girlfriend leaving you without word. This simple guide will help you deal with this type of situation and move on from it in a healthy way.
[note: since publishing this post originally there was closure in my personal situation and I harbor no ill will towards the situation referenced here]
When you think of ghosting you usually think of someone cutting off communication with you after chatting on a dating app or not texting you back after you’ve gone on a few dates. But believe it or not ghosting can happen in friendships to, and unfortunately it happened to me at one point.
I was hesitant to open up about this on the blog but I feel like my experience can help other people who have gone through this as well so I thought I’d share some steps I took to get over losing someone who I thought was one of my closest friends.
But first, for those of you who aren’t familiar with ghosting, here’s a simple definition…
What is Ghosting?
Ghosting is essentially when a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating. They do this with zero warning or notice beforehand. They avoid your phone calls or texts, social media messages and posts, and even go as far as to avoid you in public.
This is essentially (or well…EXACTLY) what happened to me this a few years back and it was done to my by someone I considered as close as family.
In some regard, I think being ghosted by a friend can be even harder to deal with than a boyfriend, girlfriend, or love interest. Friends are supposed to be there for you no matter what, especially after you’ve gone through a lot with them, confided in them (and they in you), and made specific promises to each other to never walk out of each other’s life without explanation.
For weeks and months after the fact, I went over the whole situation in my mind and tried to come to some sort of conclusion as to why my friend did what they did. But in all honesty, I couldn’t figure it out and I don’t know if I ever will since they refused to have an adult conversation with me or even acknowledge my presence at all.
One of the hardest parts about being ghosted is that it comes without warning and typically as a surprise. This was definitely the case for me since I went from planning to meet up with my friend one day to the next day (and from then on) them ignoring me completely.
Personal Experiences with Ghosting
Some other people shared their experiences with being ghosted with me and I was amazed at how similar all of our stories were…
My best friend since I was 10 unfriended me for unknown reasons a few years ago. I reached out numerous times but she will not answer me nor tell me the reason why. | RS
I have experience with it in a platonic relationship. Someone who was supposed to be a very close friend just stopped messaging me one day. I tried because I know relationships are a two-way street, but to no avail. I find it extremely immature – if I did something, tell me. If you’re just too busy or moving in a different life direction, tell me. Don’t just disappear. | SZ
Even when you knew it wasn’t a good relationship and wasn’t bound to last, getting ghosted makes you feel like you need more answers. It almost makes you care more while you sit obsessing over what you did or didn’t do and how the other person could so quickly go to just completely ignoring you! | LA
I can so relate to all of these sentiments….especially the feeling of wanting ANSWERS. When the ghosting first happened, I was upset for many reasons. Sad, angry, and slightly depressed over losing what I considered a “good” and important relationship.
Now that I more removed from it all, I am no longer “mourning” the lost friend, but I still feel this need to have closure. I am the type of person that likes closure in any and all situations…good or bad. If I did something wrong, tell me. If there’s something going on with you that changes this between us, tell me. Whatever it is, I’d rather end thing as adults and with mutual respect for one another than being ignored like we are in kindergarten. But I realize this is a lot to ask of someone, especially if they are not as socially mature or empathetic as you are.
As I said at the beginning, the reason I am sharing all of this is because I’ve gone through ghosting and now on the other side of it I’ve been able to reflect on the steps it took for me to get through it and MOVE ON. If my experience can help even one other person do the same, then this post will have been worth it.
5 Steps To Moving On From Toxic Relationships
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Whether you were best friends for years or just started hanging out, you’re bound to upset, angry, sad, and probably confused. It doesn’t feel good to be ignored, avoided, or dumped, so everything you’re feeling is totally NORMAL and HUMAN. Don’t try to stuff down these emotions or put on a brave face. Give your self some grace, sympathy, and understanding.
Talk It Out
If you were ghosted by someone close to you, it may be hard to open up to others about what you’re experiencing, especially if the “ghoster” was the person you usually went to to vent. But as hard as it is, putting your thoughts and feelings into words to another person can change be extremely cathartic. When you share your experiences instead of holding them in and ruminating on them, you can begin to move out of the difficult rut that you’re in. Processing painful experiences is so much easier and more healing when done with someone else and not in your own mind. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to another friend or family member, consider seeing a therapist/counselor.
Prioritize Your Personal Wellness
When we are feeling down or upset about something, it can be hard to get motivated to engage in our typical healthy habits and to really take care of ourselves. But believe it or not, the basic tasks of eating well, getting good sleep, and moving your body is incredibly important to managing emotional and mental pain. Mind-body practices (yoga, meditation, etc.) are especially helpful in reducing the strain that sadness causes on out bodies and minds.
Try To See The Other Person’s POV
Even though ghosting someone is incredibly cruel and probably something you yourself would never do, it can be helpful to consider the other person’s (the ghoster’s) perspective. It can help you to move on if you acknowledge that the person who ghosted you thought that he or she was doing the right thing. It may have been mean and cowardly, but some people who have ghosted others may sincerely believe it was the easiest way to let the other person down. They may have thought that ghosting gets their message across without confrontation. (Definitely not saying this right or FAIR, but it can help you move forward to the consider the other person’s thinking process in making their decision.)
Let It Go
Arguably the hardest, yet most important step; and definitely easier said than done. Whatever happened with you and your friend, or really in ANY negative situation in life, you’ll feel 10 times better once you stop dwelling on what was and start putting your energy towards your future. Using the mental space you were reserving for grieving the lost friendship for fostering REAL healthy relationships instead will help you move forward and fill the void your bad friend left. If anything, your experience being ghosted can help you learn that people don’t always show their true colors or only stay in friendships until they get what they want out of them. These types of “users” are not the people you would want to be friends with long term anyway. They are takers and any friendship that isn’t reciprocal is not a good one to be involved in. It’s perfectly normal to worry about being ghosted again in the future, but stressing over that possibility is not worth all the opportunities you’d miss for true friendships by not moving on.
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