Imagine this scenario: You’re best friends with someone.
You talk every other day for years.
Then all the sudden one day...
...they stop responding.
You think, "What did I do wrong?"
"Did I reach out too much? Was I not giving enough? Was I too clingy?"
[STAGE 4 CLINGER ALERT!!!!]
Well, this sort of thing happens all the time.
It’s even happened to me.
Shocking, I know, considering what an awesome friend I am 😂.
For me, friends are the family that you get to choose.
They’re very important to me.
I place a lot of value on true friendships.
It used to hit me very hard if I lost a friend.
I’m talking crying on the floor, eating gallons of ice cream, embarrassing, slob-kebab type behavior.
Not that it happens a ton, but has happened more than once.
It happened recently, which I hate to admit but I guess that’s why it’s on my mind.
If it’s happened to you, know you’re not a loser.
If you’ve been ghosted, stop it.
Stop circling the negative “it’s my fault” and “I’m a bad friend” thoughts in your head.
Stop it right now.
Those thoughts aren’t necessarily true.
A lot of us don’t ever get to find out why we were ghosted…
…but sometimes we do.
And the lucky ones who did, have discovered that it wasn’t always them!
I read online about a woman, let’s call her Karen.
Karen's best friend Noelle stopped talking to her out of the blue.
25 years later, Karen randomly reached out to Noelle on social media.
Turns out, Noelle’s older brother is the one that wanted her to stop talking to Karen.
Karen was young and impressionable, and listened to her brother.
Years went by and she was too nervous to ever try to reach out again.
Not saying that’s the case every time.
My point in telling you that story is so that you realize...
It’s not always about you.
Sometimes the person who ghosted you did it for their own personal reasons that have nothing to do right now.
Maybe they’re picky about who they hang out with. Maybe they don’t have enough bandwidth for more than a few people in their life.
Maybe they only have time for family and had to make some cuts.
Maybe that’s not it.
Maybe they don’t emotionally have enough to give to someone else.
It sucks to lose friends.
Especially close ones.
And heck yeah you should mourn that.
Let yourself be sad for a bit.
Give it a couple of days—
But then move on.
Personally, I think I’m awesome and I’m not going to waste my energy letting that crap bother me anymore.
What I’ve learned that helps make it hurt less
The reason losing friends doesn’t hurt me so deeply like it used to is because I recognize now that my worth isn’t based on someone else’s actions.
Because one person out of the billions in this world decided that our friendship wasn’t beneficial for them anymore…
…doesn’t somehow make me a worse friend.
If it happens to me 3 or 4 times…
…it STILL doesn’t make me a worse friend.
Maybe it makes me bad at choosing stable people to be friends with, but I can deal with that.
I know I’m a good friend.
I don’t believe the lies anymore.
The lies that say, “Wow, this person dumped you. So did that one. You must be a sucky friend.”
I’m a good friend, and I know it.
I’m a bit flaky at times if I forget to look at my calendar and commit to something to soon without realizing I’m already busy.
That has frustrated people in the past.
But I got lucky and had a friend who was honest with me about what was bugging her rather than ghosting me.
So I learned from it and made sure to actively work on not doing that to my friends.
But I know for a fact I’m the type of friend who will drop what I’m doing to help you.
I’ll literally give you the coat off my back and I’ve done it before.
I won’t go into the reasons I think I’m a good friend…
…but the point is I know I am.
And if I do something sucky, tell me and I’ll do everything in my power to fix it.
I learned something else
Part of my problem is I trust people to soon.
It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that, but it’s true.
In my mind, if I have hours and hours of deep conversations with somebody, and I’ve been vulnerable with them…
We are now friends for life and totally trustworthy.
[INSERT HYPERBOLE AND A HALF TYPE MEME HERE. LIKE TALKS FOR 15 MINUTES YAY WE ARE BEST FRIENDS FOREVER HERE IS MY HEART I TRUST YOU UNTIL THE END OF TIME]
But remember that quote “actions speak louder than words?”
Well, it’s true.
You can tell someone ALL about your struggles.
They can be understanding and supportive.
But, lets say one of your struggles accidentally effects them negatively in some way.
How will they deal with it when it comes down to it?
I’ll just give you an example that happened to me so you’ll know what the heck I’m talking about.
Within the past few years, I had a friend who I told all about my ADHD symptoms after I’d been diagnosed as an adult.
She was so understanding!
She didn’t say, “ADHD isn’t real.”
Or any of the other stuff you don’t wanna hear.
I thought she was supportive.
Well, fast forward a couple of months later.
We were getting ready for an event together at my house.
She came over and we got all dressed up, did our makeup (well, she did mine because I don’t understand how that stuff works lol) and all that.
The next day, she texted me saying, “Hey, I left my shirt in your room. Can you give it back to me when I see you tomorrow?”
I said, “Okay I’ll go look for it. I haven’t seen it.”
I looked around my room and found 3 other things she’d left behind.
For the life of me, I couldn’t find the shirt.
I told her this, and she got very passive aggressive.
My gut was screaming at me, “Hey, she’s low-key accusing you of stealing her shirt.”
She’s actually mad at you for losing it, when you never even saw it/touched it. She’s actually really angry with you!”
I knew it.
I didn’t want to say it out loud, because if I was wrong, that would just be awkward to say “I feel like you’re accusing me of stealing.”
But uhh, maybe I should’ve.
I did everything I could think of.
I tore the room apart 3x.
I told her that I lose my own things a lot, but when I do…they sometimes turn up 3 months later in the exact spot I thought they were in the first place.”
I told her it would eventually turn up.
she said, “It’s got to be there. It’s not like it has legs and can walk out of the room 😂."
I never said that.
I told her maybe I’m missing it, and if she still wants to come over and get her other stuff she can help look for it.
That maybe she’d see something I’d missed.
I know if I were her, and it was an important item of mine…
…I’d want to go over myself and make sure my friend didn’t overlook something.
But I wouldn’t be mad at it.
She said to me, “You put stuff in my purse last night and I gave it ALL back to you. This is absolutely ridiculous. This is like if I were to tell you hey, sorry, your stuff magically disappeared from my purse.”
I don’t think it’s the same at all.
I actually said, “Hey, I’m going to stick this in your purse. Can you please hold it open for me while I ut the stuff in there?”
She held it open and watched where I put it.
She never said to me while we’re getting ready, “Hey I’m leaving my shirt right here in this spot. I’ll come get it later.”
I had zero memory of seeing the shirt.
But even if I had…
…she KNEW my struggle with losing things on the daily because of ADD.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I spend a MINIMUM of 30 minutes to an hour and a half daily just looking for things.
I literally have to schedule “look for lost whatever” into my schedule to make sure that i get things done on time.
It is what it is.
So, she SEEMED really understanding of the ADD stuff…but was she???
I’m pretty sure the t-shirt is why she ended our friendship.
She didn’t really talk to me after that, and even though I found the shirt 2 weeks later, she suddenly stopped responding to me and I’ve never heard from her since.
So, that’s my GUESS as to why I got ghosted.
I don’t really know though.
I’m not inside her head.
I can’t read thoughts.
But the thing is, it doesn’t matter why.
I learned an important lesson: I gave my trust too soon. I only knew this girl for maybe 5 months but felt close to her pretty fast because we hung out a lot and talked a lot.
Once it hit me that I’d trusted too soon, I instantly felt better!!
The ghosting didn’t hurt anymore.
I took 1-2 days to be really sad about it…
…and now I’m going on about my life as if nothing happened.
Because in her mind, she has her reasons.
She’s doing what’s best for her.
I can respect that.
And like her, I have to do what’s best for me now.
And you know what that is?
It’s knowing I’m a good friend and being okay with losing one.
I’ll just be slower to hand over my trust next time.