Featured Image: Marina Abramović & Ulay – Rest Energy, 1980. The artists held the arrow using the weight of their bodies whilst microphones picked up their increasingly intense heartbeats. “It was a performance about the complete and total trust.”
I see you.
And I know you will probably see this, so enjoy the ride.
Ghosting is a phenomena that I wish didn’t exist. For those that are unsure of what ghosting is, I am pleased that you have managed to somehow avoid the experience that has taken up much of my previous year. Ghosting occurs when someone you have a relationship with (romantic or platonic) suddenly disappears from your life, ending all contact with no explanation. Ghosting is the behaviour of cowards.
Ghosting is often associated with the strange world of online dating, with messages flying back and forth between equally desperate people looking for some kind of connection until they just… stop. This I don’t mind so much. Sometimes that spark that exists when you first connect with someone just fizzles out, and as long as no plans or commitments were made and then failed to be met, it’s ok to walk away from a new relationship without an explanation. When you are talking through a screen, only having seen six very carefully selected pictures of them and a witty bio they spent hours pondering over, it doesn’t feel like you are letting down a real person; nor do you feel like your absence will leave as much as a ripple in the ocean that is their swiping and matches. This of course is not justification for bad behaviour, but as a reasonable and rational person I can see why it happens. The world is a big place, there are plenty of people to meet and when you can do that whilst sat on the toilet at no risk or cost to yourself, why wouldn’t you?
When you have taken the step to meet someone in real life however, and you have made the plans, applied the make-up and dealt with the anxious butterflies that accompany any first meeting, ghosting is no longer acceptable. Once you have met the person behind the profile, you can no longer hide behind your screen and pretend they don’t exist. They have become a part of your life (albeit small) and they deserve an explanation.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I have been ghosted. It makes my head confused trying to keep track and my heart ache. I often feel stupid for getting my hopes up, but why should I feel stupid for expecting people to treat me with respect? My latest incident however, was perhaps the most painful, so I thought I would share it with you. Will* and I went on two dates, rife with flirtation and an easy instant connection. He ended the second date by asking me to come and visit him up North sometime (he was home for Christmas), which I agreed to with a grin. We continue messaging each other and he drops enough hints about me visiting that we decide to make a plan. All good so far? Wrong. He ghosts me for the 36 hours prior to my planned visit, ignores me when I ask if it’s still ok for me to come up and pretends like the plans never existed in the first place. I wasn’t panicked at first, I knew he would be at work and wanted to allow him time to get in touch. Time ticks on and I wait patiently, until there I am, suitcase packed at 8pm on New Years Eve with my carefully picked out outfits, underwear and Pokemon game I was willing to share, to have my plans slowly fall apart with no explanation. It is then that I realise he’s viewed all 20 of my instagram stories (a review of 2018 don’t judge) and it was confirmed to me that he wasn’t working, or lying in a ditch somewhere, he was ghosting me.
What I find so strange in the world of social media, is that although the ghoster will cease all communications, many still like to keep tabs on your life. I can scroll through the daily viewers of my instagram stories and see four or five people watching my every update, but who didn’t think I was worth a goodbye. Why are you so interested in my life after you made it clear (or very unclear as a result of your cowardly behaviour) that you didn’t want to be a part of it? Part of me thinks I should block them, not wanting to share my highs with them. The bigger, and pettier, side of me wants them to see my success and feel guilty for the way they treated me, so I allow them that snapshot of my life. It is the only thing they will be getting from me.
I will be mature enough to admit there are people I have ghosted in the past and I am not proud of that. I’m no saint or expert on relationships, in fact it’s something I’m working very hard at being better at. Sometimes people have hurt me too much to attempt to repair the relationship, or I haven’t been brave enough to tell people the truth that I didn’t have space for them in my life. No matter the circumstance that led to the ghosting, it was my fault for failing to show you the respect you deserve. Forgive me, and let me know if I owe you an apology.
So finally, to all the boys that ghosted me yet still watch my instagram stories; I’m sorry you didn’t want a little bit of Izzy and the ginger spice that accompanies her in your life. I am more sorry however, that you didn’t have courage to tell me, nor the ability to show respect to others, as I’m sure that will hinder your future relationships more than your poor behaviour towards me will hinder mine. Good luck, happy ghosting, let’s see if any of you are brave enough to apologise after reading this (not that it would get you anywhere).
*Name changed for plausible deniability.