In honor of the spooky season upon us, I felt it appropriate to dive into the very strange, hurtful and all-too-common practice of ghosting.
For those of you lucky enough to not know exactly what I’m talking about, I’ll explain. Ghosting is a social phenomenon where, seemingly out of nowhere, someone you have a relationship with completely cuts off communication. No calls, no explanation, a one-sided ending of said relationship. The relationship vanishes in thin air, like a ghost. Spooky, right?
I’ve been ghosted three times in my life: by a guy I was seeing, by someone I considered one of my closest friends, and by a family member. All instances painful and difficult in their own unique and challenging ways, but looking back on all three occasions the feelings and repercussions were the same: I felt hurt, embarrassed, confused, ashamed, unloved, and invalidated. And it’s really crummy to feel those feelings at the hands of someone whom, at one point you placed your trust.
What I know to be true about relationships is this: we never, ever know what is going on in someone else’s life and in someone else’s mind. We can never fully comprehend why people do the things they do. We can, though, make conscientious efforts to be considerate and kind, and when necessary stern and direct. I think most of us operate from this basic assumption when maneuvering our relationships, we, of course, keep our best interests in mind, while also being considerate of the other person’s feelings and mental well-being.
Which is what makes ghosting so horrific in my opinion–the apparent lack of care and respect about the other person, and their feelings.
When someone ghosts another person, they cut off communication, they cut off reason, and they cut off explanation, leaving the person who was ghosted to feel completely discombobulated. One second you have plans, commitments, understanding, and then the next minute, absolutely nothing at all.
What we are left with when we are ghosted are questions that will likely never be answered. I know I spent countless hours toiling over what happened, what I could have done differently, wondering what I did wrong.
While it’s certainly possible that I acted in ways that pushed relationships to end, I didn’t (and no one does) deserve to be gaslit by someone who once held prominence in my life. As adults, and as human beings, we should do better.
When faced with a relationship or a circumstance that you feel must come to a close, I implore us all to start treating the situation how we’d like to be treated. Have the maturity to have the tough conversations, the bravery to say no, and the strength to kindly part ways. You can be honest and kind, strong and vulnerable, and open with boundaries.
It isn’t cool to be a jerk, but it is always on trend to be kind. You can have healthy relationships and communications that need to be finished, without ending them in harmful ways.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a ghosting situation, remember the don Miguel Ruiz quote, “Nothing anybody does is ever because of you.” Don’t take it personally. Allow yourself the time that you feel you need to mourn, contemplate, wallow, and then release yourself and move on. Honor your precious time by not giving your energy to someone who couldn’t honor you. Wish them well from afar, and know that you are stronger, wiser, and better off without the disrespect that came from someone who treated you that way.
Relationships are some of life’s biggest assignments, but they only work when we all show up.
Here’s to hoping the only spookiness we experience this season is of holiday fun, and maybe a little too much candy.
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org