Ghosting for Beginners
I never thought I would be someone who ghosted. It’s mean! It’s cowardly! It’s unfair to the other person! I told myself with the kind of moral outrage that’s really easy when you’ve never been in a particular situation. Then I ghosted. Twice. It’s okay to judge me, Stranger On The Internet. Believe me, I spent many nights judging myself. Ghosting sure didn’t make me feel great, but in both situations it felt like it was the only option available. For those who might not be familiar, ghosting is “breaking off a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.” (Thank you, Wikipedia!)
Ghosting gets a bad rap, and it’s often justified, but just like everything else in life, nothing is ever black and white. Having been both the ghoster and the ghostee in relationships, I now consider it a perfectly viable option if used carefully. And here is the part that I will shout from a rooftop – ghosting can be the best option for your physical and mental health. When I ghosted in a romantic relationship, it was because the person was hostile and aggressive when he was in a good mood. I was, quite honestly, afraid of what his reaction would be when I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore. The idea of a potentially volatile confrontation with him left me not eating or sleeping for several weeks. When I realized I was worrying about the feelings of a person who had frequently mistreated me more than I worried about my own feelings, I decided to ghost. When I ghosted a non-romantic friendship, it was a little trickier. We don’t define friendships in the same way as romantic relationships (Questions like where is this going? or are you ready to meet my parents? never seem to come up.) Sometimes people just wander into our lives and it’s very difficult to get them to wander out of our lives. In this case, I wanted to stop hanging out with this person because she constantly talked over me, didn’t listen, and put her needs ahead of mine. How do you have an important conversation with someone who talks over you and doesn’t listen? So, dear reader, I ghosted. (In both of these situations, I did manage to say some version of I do not want to continue this so my departure wasn’t a giant question mark. But I did block all future contact immediately after I said it. So, maybe that’s an 8 out of 10 on the ghosting scale? Ghosting comes in many shapes and sizes, find the one that’s right for you!) I know it sounds heartless, but life is complex. I, like most people, am capable of doing both great things and terrible things. I’ve been a good friend and a bad friend at the exact same time. Breaking up with someone will hurt, and there is never going to be an easy way to do it. However, you have a right to prioritize your own mental health and safety above the feelings of someone who didn’t value you in the first place. If you’ve ever been tempted to ghost a person, my advice is to weigh the relationship you had with them and decide if ghosting is suitable to the circumstances. Don’t do it because you’re weak and lazy, but consider it if it seems like the only way to get the message across. Handle ghosting with care, friends.
Written by: Crystal Wood