We all know the story too well. Meet someone, have a blast, and then they fall off the face of the earth. Sometimes we shrug and move on, other times we sorely touch the ding in our ego, and there are those times when the pain of being ghosted lingers like a bad spirit.
How Ghosting Became the Norm
Nowadays, ghosting seems all too normal; if someone physically and digitally disappears we don’t go into panic mode. We live in the time of the sideswipe, of dating apps, social media, and endless new connections. Because our ‘social’ worlds have cracked open, we don’t always feel we have the same level of accountability to more recent connections.
The Art of Avoidance Culture
We accept avoidance culture. In some ways, it makes sense. Most people don’t dig confrontation and don’t enjoy hurting other people’s feelings. We think by not having the awkward conversation someone will get the message and move on. But sometimes its harder to move on without the closure of an honest-to-god conversation.
Ghosting sucks and for those who have suffered the spectre, we have a few short sharp tips to help you come to terms.
Give Yourself Time
Ghosting has become such a social norm that we seem to expect ourselves to brush down and get back to business. This doesn’t allow time and space for feeling all the feels and processing whatever it is you need to process. Take some time to weep, be disappointed, binge Netflix and practice self-soothing. However, do try and agree on an inner time limit on how long you can mourn for.
‘It’s not you, it’s them’ it may be a tired cliché but in the world of ghostbusting, it rings true for a reason. If someone ghosts it shows up a lot more about their character than it does yours. It’s not that someone is necessarily a terrible person for doing the disappearing act but it does mean that they may have problems with boundary setting and communication, or they may just not be compatible when it comes to comfort levels. Ask yourself honestly, if this sounds like someone who will bring positive energy into your life.
Easier said than done but dealing with perceived rejection can offer a great opportunity for growth. If this bout of ghosting has hit you particularly hard then it may be worth taking a closer look at the reasons why. Not the reasons why someone has ghosted you (hunting for these kinds of answers don’t help), but rather why it smarts so much. The psychology of being ghosted taps into our deep-set human fears of not being seen, heard and recognized. It takes us back to our primal fears of being ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’. If you notice you are carrying these beliefs, do a little digging to see what you upturn.
While you can’t control or shape other peoples behaviour, you can modify who you choose to spend time with. It’s not always easy to spot a ghost, but you can start by looking at how people you like treat those around them. Early on, you will see signs that someone isn’t a great communicator – not initiating conversation, not being responsive, and those who just put in enough effort to keep things going but no more. Keep a mantra in your head not to stay at the table if you are only being served crumbs.
Call it Out
There’s no shame in calling bad behaviour out. If someone has ghosted you, of course, you can take your lessons and let it go. But if you feel the need to let that person know that their behaviour has hurt you and is unacceptable, go right ahead. We aren’t talking about hounding someone or indulging in negative behaviour but feeling like you have a voice and can speak up for yourself is always a positive lesson.
Be the Change
In a world where we are trying to eliminate ghosting, don’t be a ghost. It’s easy to disappear, but what’s harder to practice and infinitely more rewarding is having the courage, empathy, and boundary control to have those awkward conversations.
Have you been ghosted before or have you ghosted? We’d love to hear your haunting tales.