Boo! It's a ghosting.
BY JENNA WASAKOSKI
Ghosting. It does not involved a white sheet with two holes cut and a plastic pumpkin pail.
Ghosting is something far different and far scarier.
By definition in modern times, ghosting means when someone just suddenly stops talking to you; disappears in a poof.
When someone ghosts, they are gone. No text, no emails, no phone calls — no replies or contact whatsoever completely out of the blue. Whether it be a friend, a paramore or even your own spouse, sometimes people just pick up and leave your life.
It’s a brutal tactic, but fairly common.
A good ghosting is typically a 12- to 24-hour lapse of time where you hear nothing but crickets. Not a text tone, not a Facebook notification, not a phone ringing or even a knock at the door.
But there are different levels of when a person goes AWOL.
If you talk to someone every so often, but still regularly according to your busy schedules, then they don’t get back to you for a full week, you may have been ghosted. There are a ton of variables here, though.
The person could be in Bermuda. They could be donating a kidney. A number of things may have happened, and it may take more than a week for them to return contact, so you should, in this situation, give said person the benefit of the doubt.
They’re busy. They’ll touch base. If a year passes and you don’t hear a thing, then it’s a safe bet you’ve got the sheet pulled over and it’s a full-on ghosting.
And maybe you deserve that, because even with hectic lives and opposite schedules, keep in touch. Even if it as generic as Facebook or a text, touch base with people who are important to you in order to avoid being sliced out of their life like a piece of birthday cake.
We’ll stay in the friend zone here. A level-3 ghosting, as ghosting goes, stings more. As the levels get lower, the sting gets higher. That is totally a fictitious system I just made up right now for this article, but we’re going with it.
A “3” would be someone who you hang out with regularly. If you’re doing something fun, they are with you and vice versa. You likely don’t even need an invite; you’re partners in crime, so to say, and you include each other in things unless it’s a serious conflict.
Then, suddenly, Facebook pictures pop up and you’re like, “Wait. Why am I not in that picture? Why didn’t I know about this? Did I miss my invitation somehow?”
Popular factors in these ghostings are: location changes, relationships or unsaid issues which have festered into the dissolution of the friendship. I’ve ghosted on friends because of getting wrapped up in a relationship so tight, no one else mattered because that person seemed like the still point of the turning world.
Oh, but how easily that lesson is learned if that person exits your life. Now, boo! You’re alone and who do you need? Those you pushed aside to play puppy love to help pick up the pieces. Careful.
Don’t burn your friends, especially your constants, for a love interest.
There’s the saying: (we’ll just use boyfriend for example) “If your boyfriend is your best friend, you’re doing it right. If your boyfriend is your only friend, you’re doing it wrong.”
At this level, we’re moving into dating or life-long best friends. This burn occurs when life is going extremely well. You’re enjoying each other’s company and you text or contact them generally every day. Then, a day goes by and nothing. You stare at your phone and question whether you should text — would that be desperate?
You question your reaction and the scenarios you’re dreaming up in your head: Maybe they lost their phone. Maybe they have no service. Maybe they had a family emergency. Maybe they are sick. Maybe an anvil dropped on them. No, they hate me. Where did it go wrong?
This is pretty common. Sometimes it’s an overreaction, and sometimes it’s an authentic ghosting.
It’s mean. People deserve to know why so they don’t get trapped in their head. And although I admit to doing this to a few guys and I’m not proud of it, I’ve also been very upfront and just said, “Listen, I don’t want to waste your time or mine.” That doesn’t always go over well, but it’s at least honest and doesn’t leave them wondering.
The hurt dial is on full volume here. This is a spouse or a live-in partner with whom you share everyday life for a significant amount of time. With everything else said, I’ll advise this: That person, if they just up and disappear, was a huge waste of time if they can just leap out of your life after sharing a significant slice of intimacy.
Get it together.
The only thing for you to do at this point is focus on you. Pull yourself together by healthy means. Do not sit in a bar and cry. Do not do drugs or drink a bottle of whiskey. Get yourself a therapist. Lean on your friends and family. Go to the gym. Get your confidence back. This ghost is a low blow and extremely hard to recover from. But you will. Just don't fall for their line of garbage ever again.
Always know that you have to take care of yourself because life is not predictable. You could be alone at any moment, for any reason. People will come and go, but the important ones will stick. The ones who don’t are lessons to be learned which you’ll figure out down the road.
At the end of the day, ghosting burns, but it’s better than being clowned.
(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item. Her lifestyle column appears Thursdays.)