On Being “Ghosted”

On Being “Ghosted”

It is bound to happen to all of us at least once in our lives. Someone that you once called “friend”, a best friend even, sort of slips out of your life with no explanation. I’m not talking about getting into an argument and mutually parting ways. I’m talking about situations where no conflict occurs, and yet the person just drops out of your life as though you never existed. It’s called being “ghosted” and I want to tell you my story of how it happened to me. I’m sharing this story because I know I’m not the only person this has happened to and I want you to know it isn’t a reflection of you as a person and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if this happens to you.

It’s unfortunately just one of those weird things that happen when friends outgrow each other and no one has the heart to admit it.

Let me start by saying once school was over and real-life began I realized that I really do not enjoy conflict (hello my fellow type 9 enneagrams out there).  I try to avoid it at all costs. Along with this, I am also someone who has always really struggled with closure – as in, when I don’t get closure I tend to really mull over it and try to come up with the answers myself – never feeling fully satisfied with what I come up with.

Let’s call my former friend, Anne. Anne and I first met our freshman year of high school and although we didn’t have a ton in common, we had a big enough thing in common to become very close friends: a need to survive in this new, scary environment.

pexels-photo-2597365As it turned out we stayed close friends for the entire duration of high school. Even with our differences — she was very religious, I am not. She is very conservative politically, I am the opposite. She came from a family with money, I grew up modestly middle class — we had a lot of fun together. Gosh, if I’m being honest many of my best high school memories involve Anne in some way! We used to spend hours together fantasizing about our future weddings and future husbands. We used to browse luxury real estate sites and say things like “Oh this house on a private island? Perfect!“. We were simply a couple of teenage girls who didn’t quite fit into any cliques but had our own small friend group that we were more than happy with. I still have a Christmas card from Anne with a long and really sweet message about how she hoped we’d always be friends and that she “better” be my future babies’ Godmother. I can’t help but still feel a little sad when I read things like that, or when posts involving our former friendship show up in my “Facebook Memories”.

After we graduated high school Anne went to college along with our other friend from our friend group and I also went to college but a different school than them. I actually wound up dropping out by the second semester (for many reasons that have no need to explain in this particular post but maybe a future one) and found a full-time job shortly thereafter. We didn’t see each other as much, naturally with such different schedules, but we still kept in touch and occasionally met up for lunch or coffee.

pexels-photo-761854The first major drift in our friendship occurred about a year after high school had ended. We had plans to get dinner one Friday night. That afternoon I had texted her to make sure our plans were still on. Hours later she said sorry no, that she forgot to tell me she couldn’t make it because she was tired from attending an event the night before. It wasn’t the first time in our friendship that she bailed on me the same day we had plans but I let it go. However, later on, that same night our mutual friend posted a photo of Anne out to dinner with them and another friend. It was a bit of a gut punch and it hurt my feelings. It hurt me enough that I decided I didn’t want to be friends with someone who was so blatantly dishonest with me, and deleted her from Facebook.

I realize in retrospect that this was not super mature or constructive but keep in mind, I was only 19.  Maybe I should’ve had a conversation with her first, and asked why she lied to me, but as I mentioned earlier, I don’t like conflict or confrontation. After that situation, we didn’t talk. I didn’t text her, and she didn’t text me.  I don’t think she ever honestly noticed I deleted her from Facebook since she barely used it.

woman-typing-writing-windowsFast forward about another year later a former classmate of ours tragically died from a drug overdose. It really affected me emotionally and I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to reach out to Anne because I hated not having closure. I decided to send her a message and friend request on Facebook. I explained that I understood that we had been distanced for some time, I explained my own absence about how I was upset she ditched me to hang out with other friends when we already had plans and after that had impulsively deleted her from Facebook. I told her that I wasn’t asking to be friends again necessarily, but that I just wanted to clear the air and let her know that whatever happened was in the past and I didn’t want there to be any hard feelings between us.

She responded apologizing for her own actions and said she did not want to lose our friendship. She expressed interest in getting together sometime soon. And we did. We met for lunch and talked about all the things that had happened since we last saw each other. She shared about how she had traveled across the world, a dream she had since high school. I felt happy for her. Truthfully, it felt as if the rift never existed. See that’s part of why it was so hard to let this friendship go. We always had so much to talk about. We always got into such deep life conversations, and it felt like although we lead quite different lives, at the end of the day, it was nice to have that long-time friend to chat with who I had known and who had known me since our formative years.

This reconnection was not to last. We saw each other a few times and lost touch again until a few months before my wedding. She was invited to my wedding and even threw me a little “bachelorette party” with our other friend from high school and it was honestly really fun and a throwback to our younger days. I felt very grateful.

After my wedding, there were a few attempts to make plans but they never quite came to fruition. I was so excited to show her my new apartment and share our experiences “adulting” since we were both living away from our parents now. Many times she just blatantly didn’t respond to my texts. Then one day I ran into her at Walmart. She had her nose in her phone texting and I said hello. She seemed surprised to see me, gave me a hug and expressed sorrow for not being in touch that she had helped plan her sister’s wedding a month ago and she had been so busy. I took the excuse at face value. I mean, after all, it was her sister’s wedding, not hers. It was what it was right? People get busy. We again promised to make plans soon but didn’t.

Fast forward a few months after this encounter. Kevin and I were about to announce our pregnancy and I was excited to share the news so I texted her. She seemed genuinely happy for me and we made plans to meet up shortly thereafter. We met up, ate pizza, laughed, talked about current events, and talked about how crazy it was that both I and her sister both got married within months of each other and were now both expecting babies in the same month with the same midwife. It felt as though no time had passed and our friendship felt natural like it always did when we managed to get together. We occasionally kept touch via text during my pregnancy and she was really excited to find out what the sex of my baby was. When I told her I was having a daughter she was so excited, I recall her telling me she couldn’t wait to have a little girl in her life (her sister was having a boy) to buy dresses for.

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Then it all came to a halt. She was invited to our baby shower and never responded. I texted her sometime after that to see how she was doing and she didn’t respond to my text. At this point, I felt hurt by her actions and decided that I finally needed to let the friendship go, and have some self-respect. I didn’t need to chase a friend who didn’t seem interested in the friendship anymore. I had bigger things to worry about, like becoming a mom.

When Julia was born, as I’ve mentioned in the past, things didn’t go well. She was in the NICU and we were asking friends and family on Facebook to pray for her and keep her in their thoughts. The mutual friend of ours I mentioned earlier in this post, was still in touch with Anne and had sent me well wishes so I know there’s no way on Earth Anne didn’t realize that my daughter has been born. Forgetting that your friend is pregnant is not something that happens. Yet she never once reached out. So it hurt. It really did. Sometimes it still does.

But that’s what happens when you get ghosted by someone you once thought was a friend. It continues to hurt and confuse you for a long time. You don’t get any closure. But eventually, you have to let it go for good. For you.

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It took me a long time to come to peace with losing my former friend. I had hoped we would remain life long friends, that she would be an honorary “auntie” to my daughter and me to her future children. I had hoped that we would still know each other in our old age and plan tea dates as we had joked we would as teenagers. I wanted to read and support her novel that she has been working on for years. I wanted to be in each other’s lives, period.  But it wasn’t meant to be. With her loss, I have become closer to other friends in my life. I may not have a “best” girlfriend like I always wanted, but I have an incredible husband who is my best friend.
And also I eventually realized — I gave birth to my girl best friend! (my daughter, duh)

If you made it to the end of this post, thank you for taking the time to read my story! I know this was a LONG one. But some stories are long! I appreciate you being here. If you have ever been through the experience of being ghosted know that you are not alone, you are not a bad friend or an unlikeable person. Sometimes people just drift apart – as stupid as that sounds, it’s the truth.

Sending you love,

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