A recent tweet by a young woman in despair created a lot of buzz on the twitter streets. The woman tweeted about how she had been ‘ghosted’ by her boyfriend of four years, who, strangely enough, was still actively posting on social media despite not responding to any of her texts or calls for almost two weeks now. This quickly sparked outrage as users replied to the thread in disbelief and even circulated memes about how they would show up to their boyfriend’s house when he’s not there and have tea with his mum, or sneak into his wardrobe and wait there for him to come back – if he ever attempted to ghost them after a four year relationship.
Now, let’s define ghosting. It’s a phenomenon that I’m sure has been around for a long time, but only recently got dubbed the universally popular term “ghosting” as more and more people started to experience it. It happens when you are in some sort of a relationship with someone, whether it’s a friendship, in the talking stages, or (as in this case) a fully-fledged relationship, and the person walks out with no explanation or prior warning. In other, more dire but really common cases, a woman could announce her pregnancy only for the guy to disappear off the face of the earth. The worst part about ghosting is that things usually seem to be ‘normal’ and you might actually assume they are going on really well, before the person makes their grand exit. Name a more painful experience… I’ll wait.
I myself have experienced uCasper, and it’s a process you slowly but eventually heal from and are able to laugh about later (as I did on my ghosting storytime). But to be honest guys, this is such a hurtful thing to do to somebody’s child. Mbali, a South African influencer, tweeted her own story about how the guy she had been dating a couple of years ago ghosted her, so she decided to catch an 8 hour flight to his city to surprise him at a club she knew he would be going to that night. Of course, this didn’t end well and she ended up in the backseat of this man’s car while him and his new girl sat in the front flirting and coo-ing to one another as they escorted her to the side of the road!
Somehow, Mbali claimed in her story that she needed that terrible experience to help her to grow character and build some resilience. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with this notion… we are not actors in a movie and ghosting does NOT build character. We honestly live in this weird time where people post quotes on their social media platforms in passive aggressive attempts to communicate their emotions to one another instead of just talking it out.
We are both “too grown to have to explain to people why we cut them off when they know they have done us wrong”, but also simultaneously feel like we are all adults, and therefore people should be able to communicate when they no longer want to be with someone instead of just going silent. But which one is it?
I myself have struggled with this in certain friendships because, while I have no issue with confrontation, I sometimes convince myself that I simply don’t have the time or energy to deal with that person, and so distancing myself becomes the best way to handle the situation. But that’s the thing with ghosting – it’s just an easy way out. It doesn’t offer the opportunity for open and honest conversation, which, like it or not, is more impactful than the former.
Some people like to use the excuse that a conversation might steer their judgement and the person might convince them to change their decision to leave when that’s really what they are trying to avoid – but even this isn’t a good enough excuse. The truth is, if you first practice good communication yourself, then it isn’t impossible to sit someone down and talk them through your decision about why you aren’t ready to continue communicating with them. If you’ve truly reached the conclusion that you cannot put up with the friendship/relationship anymore, the least you can do is tell the person and give them closure. Don’t leave them hanging suddenly and expect them to read your mind or guess what your thoughts are.
For as long as you handle your part maturely, the way they respond is entirely up to them. An honest discourse can effectively help expose that person to their shortcomings (which sometimes, people are not actually aware of), or your own, while transparently making them aware of why you feel the need to detach from the relationship.
This is still going to hurt but it will also have healthier effects on that person even in the long-run, when they are later able to reflect on their behaviour and how it might have been toxic at the time, or even just what it is that made the two of you incompatible. Managing difficult situations in this manner also doesn’t burn the bridges between you forever… because contrary to what society tells us, we NEED people. You don’t know what the future may hold and it’s always important to treat people kindly. Social capital isn’t built in a day, beloved.
These are the kinds of things that build and develop character, ladies and gents. Clear communication, self-awareness and full comprehension (wherever possible) about why things didn’t work out, coupled with insight on how to improve in the future… not the unfinished business, humiliation, unanswered questions, and self-doubt analogous with being ghosted. So please, leave it to this terrible economy to help us build resilience, THANK YOU. As for you, just stop ghosting and start communicating.
As always, thanks for reading loves; any comments and feedback are always welcome! Don’t forget to follow my IG (@african_sunflower) and catch up with my latest post here. Have a good week!