Sunday, June 24, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Immature friend's ghosting was inevitable

Q: I would like your perspective on a ghosting situation. I met "Rose" four years ago in college. We kept in touch even after she transferred to a different college and after I graduated and moved to D.C. Despite a six-year age difference, we've always gotten along and talked almost every day.

Then, one day two weeks ago, Rose stopped talking to me completely. She started by not answering my texts. I tried calling, emailing, Facebooking and even Instagram messaging with no response. I got worried and reached out to a mutual friend; he said she's fine and has maintained contact with him.

I'm completely baffled. We didn't have a fight and I can't think of a reason for Rose to cut me off like this. I miss her. We were supposed to go to a concert together later this summer and I'm starting to think that might not happen. Do you have any advice?

Wondering in Washington

A: Not really — which is exactly the point and power of ghosting. You have no recourse. You just text and dwell and fret and twist yourself into progressively sadder knots.

Full disclosure: I see ghosting as weak, cowardly and cruel, except when necessary to escape dangerous relationships safely. By caring, we empower people to hurt our feelings; ghosting abuses that power, and thus accounts for some of the bigger holes in my compassion and empathy reservoirs.

So, Rose. Someone capable of such an epic failure of maturity was going to let you down at some point. People who can't handle direct communication when they're upset about something also can't handle a close, long-term friendship.

The exception is if she comes around and admits, with apologies, that she was wrong to vanish without explanation and wrong to believe that even a valid grievance justified harming you so. If she does express such regrets — and I hope she does — then be ready to hear her out calmly on whatever started it all.

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