Ever heard of ‘Friendship Ghosting’? No? Well sadly, it’s an everyday reality and very, very real concept, which is increasing daily.
We all put a huge amount of effort into putting ourselves out there to meet people and build meaningful relationships, however, after a few months or years of being mates, you discover that they have disappeared off the face of the earth? They have left you on ‘read’ and don’t return any of your messages and that’s the last you have heard from them.
This can be incredibly distressing and can also have a knock-on effect to your confidence and self-esteem, especially if you have literally no idea as to why you have been ‘Ghosted’, ultimately it can bleed into the rest of your personal life.
Ghosting has become a very ‘normal’ thing people do to one another and has become more acceptable within the millennial generation. So, here’s the deal …don’t get worked up about it.
What is friendship Ghosting?
Friendship Ghosting is when you have built up a relationship with someone to the point you would consider them a good friend. Once when rapport and banter has been going back and forth and you are feeling good about the relationship, without warning your calls are not returned, nor are your messages or even any acknowledgement. You keep messaging and phoning etc as excuses such as , they have lost their phone, they are busy/ill/had a car crash or even technology failed, but the reality and hard truth of the matter is, they have ‘disappeared’ like a ghost, which is where the term comes from.
Ghosting is most common in the online dating world where you might match with someone, talk online for a day or two and them poof they disappear without a trace and you never hear from them.
In any circumstances its hard pill to swallow, you automatically think ‘it’s me’ or ‘I must have said something upsetting’ or some other lame excuse blaming yourself rather than the ‘ghost’.
When you’re matched with someone online the getting over it period is quicker. You might feel disillusioned and the ego may have taken a hit, but after a few days you shake yourself down and bounce back get yourself online matching and giving the banter with the plethora of other on-liners just waiting to hear your repartee.
It’s slightly different when this is done by so called friends. Not only is it very alarming, but also very hurtful and more personal as you have considered them a friend over time and your mind goes into over drive trying to figure out why they ghosted you.
Why do People do Friendship Ghosting?
Friendship Ghosting can be done to you for a few reasons; however, every circumstance is different it may be one of the following instances.
The person themselves are dealing with an external situation or pressure
The person who ghosted you may be dealing with some family or work related issue that is distressing them and instead of talking about it with friends they have regressed into their own world to deal with things and blocked out any other communication, after time there is awkwardness and it’s too late to mend the fractured relationship.
Within their own social circle, you are regarded as the weakest link
When people are building their social circle, they might look for particular attributes in a friend such as someone who likes outgoing, who is funny, talkative etc. You may have come into their lives at the beginning of their social circle development ticked a few of their social boxes at the time, but a their circle of friends start to grow, they might be getting a bit gallous and the original attributes become more niche and at this stage you don’t tick all the boxes so the time has come that they have ‘what is perceived’ to be better friends that fit in with the new niche group and as such they want to stop socialising with you.
They are avoiding confrontation by Friendship Ghosting
Having built up a relationship with someone over time, they then become a person that we do not like to disappoint. Think of it as a daughter who went out to a party, that her parents specifically told her not to go to. Does she come clean? Of course, not she tries to sneak in and not get caught. This person in your life could have done something that could potentially upset & anger you, so instead of putting their hands up and coming clean they try to avoid you and break the relationship down before the situation does that for them.
Negativity could be setting in
A BFF is someone we can go to with all our problems, it doesn’t matter if its work issues, relationship woes or family trouble, they are there for you to listen! Right? Yeah, the qualities of a good friend are to listen, however, be aware of your own quirks and conversations. If you are constantly coming to your BFF with problems, complaints, troubles and basically being the bearer of bad news and the pesi-poo of the relationship, then they are not going to want to stay friends with you as you are bringing too much negativity to the table. Don’t get me wrong a BFF has to be there through the good and the bad times but sometimes this is just a self-aware problem, it’s all about getting a happy balance so make sure you can harmonise the occasion.
People Grow apart
This can be a harsh reality that the friend you once had has changed in some way or another, this could be down to a new love interest, a mindset shift or an identity change. For whatever reason you do not fit in the new change. This is quite common with long term relationships.
They were Using You.
There is a saying that goes “They are either in your life for a reason or a season” which shows you that some people are here to stay and some will leave. There are people out there who will befriend you just to get better opportunities, more status, get preferential treatment etc. They manipulate you to get something that benefits them, and once they get it they do not need you anymore. A very hurtful tactic but unfortunately those people with no scruples do exist.
What can you do when someone is Friendship Ghosting You?
The first thing is to relax and not get yourself worked up. Most to the causes of friendship ghosting are out with your control and you have little/no power in preventing them. Your mindset has to be ‘This person is no longer investing in me this cannot affect the other aspect of my life’. You don’t want to start questioning the who, what, where and why too much as that can send you into a spiral, it is what it is, you need to build a bridge and get over it!
Give the person breathing space
Our instinct is to re-send that one last text or bombard them with multiple calls, in order to get a reaction. This can actually damage the relationship especially if the situation does not merit the over reactions. Either way the person will need some space, so step away from the phone, give them time out, intensity can be a huge turn off.
2. Send a voice message with opportunity for follow up
Text messages can be intimate especially if you send a whole essay but they do not convey emotion and humour. Think of using a WhatsApp voice message or Facebook Voice note. This way you can get over the tone and feelings of the situation without overwhelming them. You also eradicate any opportunity to misread the situation and you can really get your thoughts and feelings across. You also want to finish up on a question so it opens the dialogue giving them an opportunity to respond
3. Ignorance is bliss
In some instances, hitting the situation head on can have a detrimental effect. If you are trying to message try to avoid long monologues about how this made you feel and the affect it has had on your life don’t make it all about you. You may need to look at taking a softer approach and perhaps not addressing it within the very first message but start off on one topic and manoeuvre the conversation so that eventually leads on to talking about the problem.
4. Understand it’s not everyone who can be saved
As much as we would like to change everyone’s mind, the reality is you are not going to. People change and make up their minds, like a horse you can take it to water but cannot make it drink. It is actually much easier looking for new friends than trying to convince someone who doesn’t want to be your friend to be your mate. Focus on building back, focus on what you can offer people and look for new friends, put a value on yourself, remember who you are and that there are a million and one other folk out there just looking to be your new BFF.
Conclusion of Friendship Ghosting
Friendship Ghosting is a horrible thing to happen to anyone and unlike, getting ghosted by a love interest, where you can bounce back after a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, friendship ghosting cuts are much deeper. There are many reasons why people ghost others and it’s very hard not to take it personally, however, just remember you don’t know the full picture, so don’t immediately start asking what you have done (no one likes a needy friend). Once you have found that the bridge cannot be rebuilt start to focus on gaining new, more quality friends as that will help your self-confidence and make you feel happier sooner!