ghosting

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Ghosting or Honesty? Which Do You Prefer?

Published September 10, 2019 by Maryanne

GhostsPhoto by Maryanne 

Unless you married your high school sweetheart, or were very lucky in love with one great romance after another, you probably had some (or in my case many) ugly break-ups until the right one came along.

While getting dumped hurts, I truly believe it hurts more to dump someone, because even if you’re the one doing the dumping, you still go through a bit of a mourning period before that feeling of relief happens. And you’re doing the dirty work, which is harder.

There are two ways to get dumped (or to dump). The best policy of course is honesty. Then, there is ghosting. Ghosting is the easy way out. Have you ever been ghosted? It’s when you are left hanging, and then finally figure it out, you’re not going to hear from a certain person anymore. The person stops returning your phone calls just like that.

I admit, back when I was dating, I’ve ghosted. Back in the old days (in my case, the 1980s), guys would just show up at your house without calling! Imagine that?! I’d say to my grandmother, “Tell him I’m not home!”

I was only in my teens then, but as I grew older, I grew a conscience.  If I was no longer interested in a guy, I’d tell him directly.

Of course it’s easy to break up with a guy who is a jerk. But what about someone who is a nice guy, but he makes you cringe? When you’re single and not getting butterflies in your stomach when you think of someone, that’s reason enough to break up. Hell, I’ve broken up with a guy just because I didn’t like the way he said “cheddar.” This is acceptable and there’s nothing wrong with it. He wasn’t the one for you. End of story.

But what about friends? Did you ever have a friend that no longer excited you? 

Ghosting happens not only in a romantic sense, but in friendships too. We politely call it “drifting apart.”  Wouldn’t it be more adult if we were all just honest with each other? Easier said than done.

A few years ago I met someone I thought would end up a great friend. At first it seemed we really liked each other. We hung out a few times and it was fun. Then the friendship fizzled…just like that. I started avoiding her because after the initial friendship infatuation wore off, I realized she was…uh…boring. I tried spicing the friendship up by adding other friends to the mix, but she always stood out as the conversation killer. Whenever the conversation got good, she drew attention to herself by making dumb grandpa jokes. Or started talking about tragedies like car accidents or cancer. Or whipped out the phone to show photos. (Remember the old days when no one wanted to be that boring person who whipped out the vacation or wedding photos?!) Her friendship bored me to tears. I was getting nothing out of it. Simple as that.

I replayed the last time I saw her over and over again in my head. She wasn’t a BAD person. She was actually sweet. However, over the course of a year and a half, I began to feel like I was being choked. It was weird and uncomfortable. I just wasn’t happy being around her. I compared the friendship to being in an unfulfilled romance that I wanted to escape. She did nothing wrong, but I didn’t like her.

I felt so guilty for my feelings. How can I not like a nice person?  I felt evil.

Then I read this in Psychology Today online:

“We’re no more in control of our attraction to friends than we are our attraction to lovers. And to reject someone as a friend isn’t to declare them unworthy of friendship any more than to reject them as a lover is to declare them unworthy of love…
We are who we are and shouldn’t criticize ourselves if we find we want to end a friendship. We’re not evil because we no longer like someone, or because we never did. Or never liked them as much as they like us.” — Alex Lickerman, M.D.

 

That nailed exactly how I was feeling! So now what? 

I spoke to two trust worthy people about the situation. They supported my decision and suggested ghosting; or more nicely put, drifting apart, as mentioned above.

Bottom line, I couldn’t ghost her. If I didn’t invite her to events, she’d see photos of me with my other friends on Facebook. Sooner or later she’d call me to talk; or send an email (and she did!). Eventually I’d have to face the music.

Plus, my honesty was eating away at me. I felt I had to let her know that she irked me. Her grandpa jokes were not funny. I prefer talking about fun things while dining, not awful things that can turn my stomach. And at the dinner table, I don’t want to keep digging my glasses out of my bag to look at pictures. Let’s just drink wine, eat, and laugh. Put the phone away, please!

Of course she got defensive and there was some back and forth phone and email banter. Then I got what I set out for; it was all over. At first I was sad because I’m human and I have a heart. I mourned. And now I am relieved.

If a friendship isn’t going anywhere and either party is not getting anything out of it, it’s time to end it — now matter how nice the person is. You do not have to feel guilty or bad about it.

I’m far from a perfect person, but one of the things I am most proud of is my honesty. Friends never have to second guess how I feel about them, because I will let them know.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. People know when I’m happy with them; and when I’ve had it with them. If only others would be as honest.

Which do you prefer, ghosting or honesty? Share your experiences! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261