You may have heard of ghosting when it comes to dating but it also applies to friends. It happens when a good friend disappears from your life without any warning. They stop texting or calling and don't answer any communication you send their way. They may even block you online. Basically, they act as if the relationship never really existed.
Getting ghosted by a friend can feel devastating. Someone in your life you thought you could rely on is suddenly gone and you don't know why. It can be very tricky to navigate this kind of emotional upheaval since it often leaves people feeling powerless. Here's what you can do to take care of yourself and make dealing with the aftermath of being ghosted a little easier.
1. Don't Confront
"I don't like the word confront. It implies a fight of some sort and the outcome won't be good," says Rosemary O'Neill, a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and certified life coach. "The word confront has a charge and everyone involved feels the negative energy behind it. The truth is your friend probably doesn't know how to explain it. If they did, they would have told you in the first place instead of running away. So really how they've acted is a red flag. This person has at best, a communication issue, or something more complicated like trust or emotional distance issues. There's nothing you need to do about it."
2. Don't Take it Personally
People are wild cards. Just when we think we know someone really well, it is possible for them to change on a dime. "When friends disappear with no goodbye, no explanation why, we have to really dig deep into our power tools for dealing with life," says O'Neill. "One of the most important ones I recommend is don't take anything personally. What someone does or says has nothing to do with you, and has everything to do with them. We may feel hurt, angry, or sad but those are all perfectly normal responses to a confusing friend situation." Not taking things personally can be very challenging and a lifelong practice but getting ghosted is an ideal time to try and apply it.
3. Don't Aggravate the Hurt
If you don't know that old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind," now is the time to embrace it. It will be easier for you to get over the hurt if you don't stalk your former friend on Facebook or Instagram. "It's really not a good idea to follow someone who doesn't want to play in the same sandbox with you any longer for whatever reason," says O'Neill. "It just aggravates the hurt and stops you from moving on." It can be tempting to snoop around trying to get information on your friend through mutual friends but don't do it--unfriend or unfollow and let it go.
4. Do Be Nice to Yourself and Move On
One of things that can be really frustrating about being ghosted is that it leaves us wondering what we did wrong or what we could have done differently. If you find it difficult to stop wondering what happened try gently but firmly changing the conversation inside your head. "Tell yourself there's nothing more you can do, it's not personal and accept what is," says O'Neill. "And then go do something that makes your heart smile--call a different friend, take a walk, go to a movie, or buy yourself some beautiful flowers."
Remember, tomorrow is new day with fresh opportunities to meet kindred spirits and make new friends.