A few years ago, I came across an Instagram post on the topic of ghosting by one of my favorite podcasts, Therapy for Black Girls. The post emphasized that we cannot predict ghosting to happen–it just does. The conversation in the comments was quite interesting as women shared their ghosting experiences. Whether it’s done by friends, significant others or potential partners or even family members, the pain and the confusion that comes with the aftermath of ghosting are real.
Ghosting is the act of one party ceasing/slowing down any and all communication without any prior notice. It still boggles my mind that it’s a reoccurring issue, but we are also living in the age where technology has transformed the way we wish to communicate with others.
Quick story: My most painful ghosting experience happened with a friend I’d known since we were in middle school. She suddenly stopped speaking to me the summer after our high school graduation and blocked me on all forms of social media. Naively, I stopped by her house later that summer. Her sibling answered the front door and told me that she was unavailable, before closing the door in my face (although her car was in the driveway). It turned into a really ugly friendship breakup, and if you’ve ever broken up with a friend…you know it hurts just as much as a romantic breakup. A few years later, the ex-friend started sending sporadic texts and calls apologizing for her behavior and asking for reconciliation. I obliged because I believed that we could have a fresh start. There was never any follow-up on her part. Then a pattern emerged where she’d contact me again to reconcile and it never happened. I finally stopped responding all together.
Getting over this experience and the residual feelings were not easy. I eventually learned that my self-worth is not contingent upon someone’s inability to see my value. Remember that in most cases, ghosting has nothing to do with you and you don’t need to put up with it. It’s not your fault. If you still don’t believe that, here is why:
Ghosting is toxic and cowardly behavior. Do you really need that kind of negative energy in your life?
Ghosting shows a clear lack of empathy and regard for someone else. The act inflicts emotional and mental wounds that can be exhausting to process. It’s even more distressful for the party who has shown no harm to the person that is ghosting them. Honestly, it’s not possible to justify that kind of behavior without sounding selfish, immature, or cruel. If you’re going back and forth with someone’s ghosting behavior, you’re not missing out on cycles of uncertainty, false hopes, or unmet expectations. You deserve to have healthy, thriving relationships with those who are willing to communicate with you.
Choosing to tolerate toxic behavior means choosing rejection.
Read that again. This applies to ghosting and other situations in which the other party is being inconsistent. Feeling as though we are not a priority in someone’s life does not feel good. No one deserves to experience a flurry of negative emotions that comes with having inconsistent relationships. No one should believe that this is normal behavior either. It is not your responsibility to manage someone else’s feelings, choices, or behaviors. Yet, when we think we do, we start believing it’s our fault when things go awry (this is codependency).
I firmly believe that tolerating toxic behaviors is a choice. We can never truly experience the joy and freedom in being loved properly when we choose to remain in one-sided relationships. We will always be choosing rejection, including rejecting our self-worth. It’s so important to know what we bring to the table. It is then when we can decide who has a seat with us and who goes.
You are not disposable.
We are in the era of social media networks and advanced technology. Because of these factors, we are also in an age where people make others disposable, and that can cause serious feelings of rejection. It is important to understand that when someone has respect for you, they will make a conscious effort to communicate with you rather than ignoring or circumventing any attempt at doing so. It takes seconds to send a text, private online message or to make a quick phone call to tell someone that space is needed or to say they don’t wish to speak anymore. We may become disappointed in the outcome, but at least we know the truth. If someone demonstrates poor communication skills, know where you stand and decide if that’s okay with you. Ghosting says a lot about the person committing the act. You’re doing yourself a major favor by cutting ties with the one who is ghosting.
No one owes you anything. And you have to be okay with that.
The lack of closure is what keeps people from moving forward after ghosting. It can be difficult to accept that no one owes anyone an explanation for why they stop all contact. When we don’t get the response we want, it’s easy to spiral into unhealthy thinking patterns. But remember to think about the story (or stories) you’re telling yourself. It is self-limiting or encouraging? Are you in engaging in negative or positive self-talk? Ghosting does not mean that anything is inherently wrong with you. It just means that we are not always going to be compatible with everyone we meet. And that it is okay.
Although the ghoster may lack empathy, we can still extend love for them and wish them well (from afar). We never truly what others are battling. I really appreciate the post by Therapy for Black Girls because it tells us that we are responsible for how we react to the actions of others. It is perfectly okay to process your situation and to validate your feelings about your ghosting situation. In the process, remember that your worth and your time matters, too.