Ghosting is ending a relationship by suddenly withdrawing from all communication without an explanation. Whether it’s ending a friendship or romantic partnership, is ghosting ever ok?
Some relationships aren’t meant to last forever. And that’s ok. But when it comes to ending the relationship, emotional maturity is needed. Ghosting can be an easy way out depending on the situation.
Ghosting a friend versus a partner:
When it comes to ghosting, friendship and romantic relationships are like comparing apples to oranges. Very different dynamic.
I’ve ghosted friends and have been ghosted by a romantic partner. Looking back, a slow phase out only works with both sides are on the same page about ending the relationship.
My ghost stories:
When going through some dark times, I’ve ghosted two very dear friends. Though not a healthy means of healing, I tend to isolate myself from people when I’m going through tough challenges.
I did not have the emotional maturity and bandwidth to have the hard conversation. I had the “disease to please” and didn’t know how to express that the friendship was draining me.
At the time, I thought it was the best thing to do for both sides. Each time the friend would reach out, I ignored the emails and calls. Once in a while, I was make up an excuse hoping she would get the hint.
But then I realized how much it hurts to be in the dark...
That’s when I was ghosted by a boyfriend of three years. There was no argument and no signs of wanting out. He just stopped responding to texts and never picked up again.
The weeks leading up to the ghosting were quite the opposite. We had gone on a romantic vacation to Europe. We talked about marrying and our future together.
As the saying goes, what goes around, comes around.
Again, friendships and romantic partnerships are different. But the point it, ghosting is extremely hurtful when both sides are not on the same page.
To the friends I've ghosted, here is what I would have done differently.
How to properly end it:
Sure, a direct and honest conversation (or even an email or text) can be hurtful too. But here are a few ways I’ve learned to soften the blow whether you are ending any type of relationship.
1. Plus 1
Start with one thing you genuinely appreciate about the relationship and/or the other person. Basically, filling their cup...plus 1.
2. Minus 1
Get to the point by saying the relationship is complete. You don’t necessarily need to go into details but keep it simple by focusing on you. This is going to hurt so be sure to convey with kindness...minus 1.
So you’ve added then subtracted from their cup to help neutralize the tough conversation to the extent possible. Allow that person to say their piece as it is only fair.
Here’s an example if you are sending an email:
Dear Friend, thank you for reaching out as I truly value the time that we’ve shared. I’m going through a difficult time and need space right now. I appreciate your understanding.
Remember, firm, final and friendly is key!