Casper the Friendly Ghost

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Dear Dharma,

This has been bugging me for a while now and I figured you would be the one to come to. A couple of my friends (not super close) think it’s okay to “ghost” me. When did this become an okay thing to do?

These aren’t random acquaintances.  They are friends you see every other month, maybe. You hang out, then text or call them a week later to see how things are going or if you have a question and NOTHING… for weeks. Then all of a sudden they appear out of the blue, and then do the same thing over again.

I get people are busy but I don’t think it’s okay to not acknowledge someone, especially when that’s what they claim to preach as well.

Do they not want to be my friend any more, are they trying to “phase” me out by not acknowledging me? What’s their deal!?

Casper

Dear Casper,

I think what you are seeing in your friends is more them being rude as opposed to them “ghosting” you – although the effect is similar.

Ghosting:

The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject’s maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.

Yup, we actually have a definition for this type of behaviour.  A lovely reflection of our current societal make up,  non?

While the term more implies to the dating scene, it is equally as inconsiderate and speaks just as much to the immaturity and lack of communication skills in your friends.

As Dharma said recently, people make time for the things and people they want.  Sure, everyone is busy, and sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day.  Except there’s always enough time for manners.

The good news is that the decision is yours – because as Dharma also says, you are in a much better position to change your own behaviour rather than someone else’s.

Feel free to mention to these friends that when they straight up ignore you, it’s not cool.  See if anything changes.  I don’t know that it will.  People who intrinsically have no problem leaving you in the cold for long periods of time likely won’t care much about the effect.  As if they don’t already know, right?

Establish your boundaries and decide if you are good with being their “sometimes” friend.  Except that you wouldn’t have turned to Dharma if you were, so maybe the better thing to do is work on filling your life with people who treat you with kindness and consideration.

Dharma

ghost

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19 Comments

  • Boo YA! says:

    Wow! This would really bug me too. Part of me wants to say to give it right back to them, but I think Dharma is right. Call them on out on it. Make ’em sweat and give you an answer on why they do this! Either they will learn what is acceptable or not. Either way, at least you’ll know 🙂

    • Dharma says:

      Doing the same to them just brings you down to their level – rising above is the preferred position in Dharma’s humble opinion…

      Thanks for the comment Boo!

  • Anonymous says:

    What the hell….what is wrong with people…they exaggerate their own net worth….next time it happens, make a comment like….oh wow, you’re ok..I was worried that something bad might have happened to you since we last communicated….it was “ghostly” quiet…….

  • Not a real friendship says:

    I find this to be more common that what we would like to see. Now that been said I don’t consider a “friend” someone that simple does it care to even acknowledge a quick text.

  • MJ says:

    There are friends that you talk to on a daily basis, some weekly, some monthly. There are different types of friendships. They said they aren’t super close so I don’t know what more they expect! Sounds normal to me! Stop being so needy! 😊

    • Dharma says:

      I agree that there are different levels of friendship for sure, and yes, the LW does say they aren’t super close, but I don’t think expecting someone to respond to a text or return a phone call is expecting too much?

  • anon says:

    Sometimes I think I’ve answered my friends’ texts, but really I’ve just thought of an answer in my mind and forgotten to text it in reality. But that’s just over tiny little unimportant things. If my friends were in need for help and really needed support, I would be there for them no questions asked. Maybe listen to your intuition and see what it’s telling you. I think texting is a stupid way to maintain friendships…maybe pick up the phone and call or meet them in person?

    • Dharma says:

      Yeah, Dharma’s been guilty of that a time or two as well – then suddenly a week later, it’s like DAMN, I never responded to that!!

      That being said, it does sound like the LW has reached out by telephone: ” You hang out, then text or call them a week later to see how things are going or if you have a question and NOTHING… for weeks.”

      So it definitely sounds like one sided effort.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • anon says:

    Sometimes it depends on how the communication is left off. At times a response isn’t needed. That said though, it’s pretty easy to acknowledge a message these days, so really there’s no excuse for not replying to something that clearly needs as reply.

  • Friends like these says:

    I’ve had this happen repeatedly mid conversation with someone, they would chat until they felt like it (through text) and then just drop out of the conversation, and never answer. Sometimes the conversations were serious too. I called them out on it, they were sorry, then they just kept doing it.

    I eventually just said “Look, I want to be friends with you, but this isn’t an acceptable way to treat a friend in my opinion, so if this is how you’re going to treat me, I’ll have to pass on our relationship.”

    Again, they were sorry, said it was a behaviour pattern they were trying to fix, and then they proceeded to just do it again. Repeatedly. So I ended the relationship. I had to stick to my boundaries. So do you.

    • Dharma says:

      Good for you. Boundaries are important to set and even more important to stick to.

      For sure sometimes people slip off the grid, but when it becomes a pattern where you get ditched mid conversation then sometimes you just need to step back.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • The old good days ! says:

    Lately I find that I have to text people to ask if I can call them. And most of the times they say not now. Why do we have more access to communication but less communication with real friends ? I miss the old day when you could nock on the door and go out to play ? And. I I’m not eighty I’m on my mid thirties !

    • Dharma says:

      Interesting, right? Technology is supposed to advance things, not erode them. Communication has definitely taken a hit over the recent years.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Consuela says:

    This is my biggest pet peeve!!!!

    I say cut them out. They are NOT worth your time. If they want to make an effort they will.

  • Anonymous says:

    Like another commenter here I accidentally do this quite frequently by accident. It is definitely not my intention to be rude out ghostly, but I often forget to answer texts that I see and intend to respond to when I’m not busy

    While I believe every situation is different depending on the friendship, the times have changed. I believe the expectation would be different if there weren’t SO many easy ways to send communication. The influx of information I receive from so many people on a daily basis makes me thankful that I don’t miss responding to more (and I’m not even all that popular!).

    While, I agree that people make time for what’s important to them, they do male the effort to see you, so maybe let it slide a little bit that they don’t reply to an odd text here and there?

Do you agree with Dharma, or think she missed the mark on this one? Leave a Comment

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