Have you ever been ghosted?
You might be scratching your head, asking the question, “what is ghosting?” Well, we aren’t talking about Casper, and ghosting isn’t friendly. Ghosting is when someone you have been communicating with disappears. They stop returning messages or phone calls without explanation; they intentionally are ignoring you. This used to only happen in dating scenes, but I’ve seen this happen far too often now in Christian circles.
So whether you’ve been ghosted by a date, someone from church or by someone you consider to be a dear friend, here are three things to know about ghosting and how to survive it:
1. Why am I being ghosted?
The simplest way to say it is that hurting people hurt people. Those who ghost are typically retreating from emotional trauma or discomfort. Instead of being vulnerable with those around them in sharing about what is going on, they instead retreat to avoid confrontation or a difficult conversation. Typically, the person who is ghosting you isn’t thinking about your feelings. Their own circumstances can desensitize them to your feelings. Ghosting shows how they deal with difficulty and can also show insight to their maturity level personally and spiritually. Blatantly ignoring someone is rude and child-like but can be defensive coping mechanism out of their own hurt.
Do. Not. Take. It. Personally. I repeat: Do not take it personally. That is the hardest thing, however, because being ghosted hurts.
2. Dealing with the Pain
For some, being ignored can make you feel forgotten, unloved, or abandoned. Those feelings can trigger disconnect from current relationships, be triggers from previous experiences, and be hard to move past. When someone we deeply care for or love, either in friendship or romance, ghosts us, it can feel like betrayal. These feelings take time to heal. Ghosting leaves you confused and not knowing how to respond. Did I do something wrong? How often should I reach out? My personal limit is, within six weeks I will make four attempts, sometimes more if I’m feeling convicted that the person is truly hurting and God is calling me to an extra measure of grace and love. The boundary limit allows me to create a healthy space to begin seeking my own healing from the hurt I’ve been caused.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7
3. How Do I Move On?
Remember to be present with the relationships that you still have and with those who care for you and take the time for you. Cherish them and be present in those relationships. Know that just because you were ghosted, it doesn't make you any less valuable. Maintain your dignity as you move on. Don’t allow them to rob you of vulnerability in current or future friendships. Being ghosted can be a reflection of that person’s hurt and/or character, not of yours.
Pray that you can reach reconciliation and move forward with this person. It might not happen, but it is possible. They will have to come around in their time and it is your choice to move forward with them or not. If you are able to move forward, it is important for you to voice the hurt or brokenness you experienced. The situation should not be ignored or glossed over. God can redeem friendships that are meant to be saved; He can also protect you from future hurts. One of the hardest lessons that I learned is that some friends only come into your life for a season, and that’s okay.
“Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption” - Psalm 130:7