What is ghosting?
“Ghosting is breaking off a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as avoiding or ignoring and refusing to respond to the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.” – Reference – There is an actual description/meaning of this word – I’m gobsmacked.
Ok so hands up if at some point in your life you have been the victim of ghosting. If not, then consider yourself lucky, but for those who have, let’s get into what happens in the brain when this goes down. Being ghosted can have a major impact on a person’s self-esteem, as well as make them question their abilities within a social environment. After ghosting has occurred, one asks questions such as; “what did I do wrong?, Why didn’t I see this coming?, Am I not good enough?, etc” Its feels horrible because our brains associate social and emotional pain with the same attributes of physical pain, which also explains why breakups are so tough – Geez brain get it together.
Being ghosted, leaves you feeling ambivalent, and that then leads to psychological stress because you have no idea how to react to this situation you’re now in.
Ok, so now that we know that being rejected, hurt, and or ghosted leaves us feeling like we’ve been hit by a 500-ton truck going 180 on a highway, let’s get into what we can do about it when this happens. Firsts things first, and OMG so important, I can’t stress this enough. Get out of your mind of negative thought patterns and remind yourself of this; When someone ghosts you, it is not a reflection of you, but rather a reflection of themselves. In my personal opinion, ghosting is cowardly. It shows that the person doesn’t know how to deal with their own emotions let alone yours. SO instead of wallowing in this, be the stronger person, keep your dignity and let them go.
So now that you know what ghosting is, and the effects it has, I wanted to share my own personal ghosting experience.
“I am not in the mood to get dressed up and go out tonight, I have work tomorrow which means I can’t go overboard with the draaaanks and am I even in a sociable mood” I sit on my bedroom floor contemplating life as it would seem while desperately trying to convince myself to live a little. This social gathering couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time or so I thought. Just a week prior I had made a complete tit of myself and hurt my own damn feelings and yes spoiler alert it was all due to a guy. Anyway, where was I? Right, contemplating my life. “Alright, alright, it’s too late to cancel now, so I’ll wear something casual and go out with the intent to not meet anyone” I give myself a mini pep talk and head on out to meet my friends at the club.
Three vodkas in and I’m feeling myself, yaaaas I’m easing up, letting my hair down, looks like this night is turning out to be a good one after all. My friend, accompanied by her good heartfelt intentions convinces me to join her in chatting up random people standing around the bar. I try putting on my most appealing/approachable face for the sake of entertaining her as well as appearing somewhat friendly to these complete strangers.
No luck it seems “Well, you seem to be having a great time” I yell out to this extremely attractive gentleman who I found lounging rather bored looking on a bar stool. “Huh!, What?, No, no, I am having a good time, just tired I guess” Dammit! I think to myself, he’s actually making conversation, now I have to be nice (bearing in mind at this point one week after “man” drama I was in no mental position to be out flirting of any sorts)
I’ll spare you the long drawn out, back and forth conversation between the two of us, but for the nosey buggers, it included the usual; age, job, location questions. I was over it and walked away after reminding myself that I wasn’t here to meet men, especially not so soon after my self-destructive meltdown.
An hour later (me TOTALLY not thinking about him at all – I was – and naturally – he was cute, and I wanted a distraction) we met again on the dance floor, this time, both a little bit more vodka’d up and the words that followed make me cringe now, but hey, kudos to me for putting myself out there I guess.
“I think you should take my number!” Obviously, I followed this bold statement with a flirtatious smile. Well, at least I hope that’s what it looked like. Anyway, he agreed and took my number. Now, honestly I, didn’t EVER expect to hear from this guy again, so the fact that I did, already had me shook. (and a tiny bit excited if we’re being honest)
The very next day, while sending my friend a detailed voice note about just how much I absolutely don’t care that he hasn’t messaged me, I get a message “hey Simone it’s (for the sole purpose of avoiding a court case for defamation of character, let’s call him Steve – FYI I call everybody Steve) Steve, from last night, hope you’re having a good day” mid voice note I puff up my chest, lift up my shoulders and In a very chuffed voice say “oh you’ll never guess who just messaged” you can hear the huge grin in my voice as I end my voice note.
From this day onwards Steve and I chatted over WhatsApp, until a week after he asked me out on a date! Ok, ok, so I feel like I need to share this little bit of extra information with you, I haven’t truly been taken out on a date, ever (can we count movies in bed with my ex?) So you can understand my excitement and nerves at this point. “Play it cool Simone, put the ball in his court, get him to chose a place” “are you free for dinner or a drink Thursday” – next message. Ok, so standard, I had to message my girls; “What do I say? Is dinner too intimate for two complete strangers? Should we do drinks instead?” You know just a failsafe in case I’m not feeling his vibe and then I’m not obligated to endure a three-course meal. No, no, no, get down from your judging panel, I’d rather know earlier on into “this” then later down the line and waste time.
Ok, so I agree to meet up for drinks on Thursday, which just so happened to be first Thursdays out in town as well as my friends birthday. I thought, “perfect, if we don’t hit it off, I’ll have my friends nearby and still have a good night” Thursday was amazing! We met up, he was even better looking then I remembered, he met my friends, there was laughter, some PG flirting and even a kiss (no hard feelings, I still smile when I think about this night) I went home that night with an extra spring in my step, although it could of been a stumble as there was alcohol involved.
Two days later – “Hey, when can I see you again” I mean HELLO!!! I must have really made an impression! This guy wants to see me again, I was now at a mental point of thinking, he’s a decent guy, he puts in the effort, he wants to take me out, he’s funny, but I also knew that I didn’t know him that well and a second date was needed. I happily agreed as I’ve mentioned a few times now – he’s cute! Daaam you can’t blame a girl!
Our second meet up involved no alcohol what so ever, so yes I was a little nervous! Especially being new to the dating game and not knowing what to expect. By this stage, I’d already watched almost all of Matthew Hussey’s YouTube videos on dating so I was feeling rather overwhelmed at this point.
Ok… being the person that I am I feel that it’s only right, that I warn you as my reader that from here on, things took a turn for the worst. Steve and I agreed to meet up at the promenade and go for a sunset stroll, followed by an ice cream. Sounds perfect right? Wrong!
I get there, only to be greeted with disappointment. Before we could even exchange hello’s and an embrace, Steve hits me with – “My friend has run into some dilemma and I need to help him out, so, I can’t be too long”
Queue my reaction…. which was – SORRY WHAT?
Ok, ok, so we can all sit and argue that yes perhaps his friend did actually have a dilemma, and ‘aw sweet’ at least he still made his way through to meet up with me, or we can see it as Steve was doing exactly what I did before our first date, however, instead of mentally preparing a failsafe he actually used one. Maybe he was a little nervous that we wouldn’t hit it off, or maybe right at that moment he realized he didn’t actually want to see me again, the possibilities are endless or maybe they’re not, unfortunately, we’ll never know.
Regardless of how his statement might have caught me off guard, I was still determined to have this date and give it my all, be myself and show him that I’m actually a pretty cool person with loads of substance.
The “rushed” date went well, our 30min limit turned into an hour 30min date, which ended off with an awkward hug and me telling myself the entire way home, I blew it.
A few days later, Steve hit me up again with a text “I’d love to see you again, when are you free” – Ok, so yes I was happy, I thought to myself – maybe his friend really did have a dilemma. BUT cautious me and slightly guarded me was not just going to hand him my schedule so freely, so I offered up one day – Friday (my biggest social day ever – rookie error) By this point, all my friends knew about the situation and the upcoming date, so I was pretty determined to have some sort of happy ending.
We agreed to meet up on Friday, he said he’d message me with a plan, he even checked in on Thursday to make sure we were still meeting up that Friday. Well… Friday came, and Friday left and I never heard from Steve again, that was sometime in January, by this point I’ve given up on the idea that he’d been hit by a bus and was laying in hospital, or that maybe he was robbed on his way to work and now he can’t WhatsApp me, I have especially given up on that when a week ago I went out with a friend and saw lil old Steve stumbling out the club alone. “Hey! There’s that guy that ghosted me” I proclaimed.
Photography by – Tegan Smith Photography