Let me preface this:
People come into our lives to teach us, to love us, and to experience life with us.
Do you remember the first time you were ghosted? I do.
It was middle school and she was my best friend.
Long before ghosting was a term and before cellphones were in the sweaty palms of every teenager, people were disappearing in front of me. I did the only thing I thought was an appropriate response: I confronted it but only made me feel like even the air abandoned me.
It wasn’t clear to me what was happening at the time. But I understood that people are never who they say they are. They are who their actions decide to be.
While silence can be a malicious teacher, it gave me perspective:
We remember how we were hurt better than we remember how we hurt others.
Confrontation isn’t easy.
Why are we so afraid of things that don’t happen on our terms?
I struggle with it myself. It requires vulnerability, bravery and courage to set the record straight. Traits that I have to conjure like a Dark Magic Spell. So, I understand why the “easy way out” is so appealing. Ghosting just requires patience to wait out the silent storm. Like a slow fire, I am left in the ashes, not reborn, but born are the feelings of retribution.
Speaking from being on both ends of the stick, one shittier than the other, deliberately choosing to ignore and set people aside is reckless abandonment. Do I hate you? Do I let you go? Do I move on? Do I treat others like you treated me? Do I stop sharing myself in fear it’ll happen again? Am I the ghost or are you?
The hardest part used to be that I was left in an unshakable state of confusion. Even if I knew it has nothing to do with me. I’m a problem-solver. I can’t help but wonder at what point you decided to leave me. It’s a no-win scenario.
And in this unspoken rejection, there will always be two sides to the story.
Ghosting is not new. It’s the official term that’s still relatively new. And it’s happening way faster.
It’s so strange to live in a time where “ghosting” is in the dictionary. I’ve been reading articles online to get a better understanding of its frequent reappearance in our relationships. And all research suggests that it has a lot to do with dating apps and meeting people online. It’s become a popular (and annoying AF) dating phenomenon.
Dating in these mediums can be a bit dehumanizing…Singles might treat others as if they are disposable and many think it is fine to ghost someone who is pretty much a stranger.—Rachel Russo
Another reality is… Impermanence wins. Every time.
Things fall apart. Some were abrupt, others were a slow death. Some are strangers, others we’ve known for a long time. Very few relationships stand the test of time. It’s time we started to acknowledge ghosting in all aspects, not just in intimate relationships.
Impermanence teaches us to accept the past and live in the present. You, nor I, can control every outcome. If we were able to, we’d be writing fantasies instead of true stories. Conflict is part of life. Drama, too. Communication is the only way to resolve recurring and new issues.
How open and transparent we are about our feelings, allows us to break free, stop getting blindsided, and strip ghosting of its power over our personal relationship with ourselves.
Breaking the pattern falls on us.
Annie Ngu is the co-founder of the Women United Project, a writer and a Lead UI/UX designer at EnergyX. She lives in Toronto, ON spending so much money on streaming services that she doesn’t even remember the total number of subscriptions. She’s on Twitter @AnnieNgu