Life Editorial

Why Did My Friend “Ghost” Me? You May Never Know

Why Your Friend Ghosted You Zosia Beauty

You’ve been “ghosted.” Suddenly someone you thought was a close friend has disappeared from your life without any explanation. Days, weeks, or even months have gone by since you last spoke.

Perhaps, the breakup was foreshadowed by a series of excuses. She was always busy and could never make firm plans to get together. She didn’t respond to multiple texts or emails. You can’t fathom what happened or why she faded out of your life. Before this, you considered her a close friend, perhaps even a keeper of your secrets.

What Happened to the Relationship? 

Although women seldom talk about it, being ghosted by a girlfriend is far more common than you think, and can be just as painful as being jilted by a boyfriend or lover. Any one-sided breakup tends to threaten our self-esteem, making us feel diminished because we haven’t had any say in the matter.

Making it worse, women are often judged by their ability to make and keep friends so losing a good friend can be humiliating, a source of embarrassment among mutual friends, family and colleagues who may be curious and perplexed about what transpired.

Invariably, people who are ghosted search for answers:

“Was it something I said or did?”

“Or was it something I didn’t say or do—that I should have?”

 “Were we really friends or did I misread the relationship?

Attempts at apologies, if you made them, fell upon deaf ears. Efforts to get together or “talk about it” were rebuffed. At this point, you might begin to feel angry.

“Why would someone do that to someone they once considered a good friend?”

 Guessing Why the Friendship Ended: 

Without information, you can only guess but here are some possibilities:

  • The friendship ran its course

When people enter into a close friendship, they expect these relationships will never end; this mental set allows friends to get closer. Yet, not all friendships—even very good ones—last forever. People grow and change, and their lives veer in different directions. Bonds fray, and one person or both may decide they no longer want to maintain the relationship. This is bound to come as a blow if you’re the one who has been summarily “dumped,” and left with no choice in the matter.

  • The friendship is no longer reciprocal

Friendships are volitional relationships that only last as long as they are mutually satisfying. Unlike the legal ties of marriage or the blood ties of family, there are no “rules of the road.” Friendships are dynamic and change over time for a variety of reasons. Often, obligations to work and family supersede commitments to friends. Or one person may have so many friends that she decides to prune her list and only devote time to those relationships that are most meaningful and rewarding. If her dance card is full, she may not value the relationship as much as you do. 

  • You made an unforgivable mistake

We all make mistakes and no relationship is perfect, but some transgressions may truly be unforgivable friendship-killers (e.g., making a pass at her husband, not showing up at her mother’s funeral, saying something that hurt her child, or betraying her loyalty).

Why Friends Ghost Friends 

You’ve mulled over what happened a million times without the benefit of hearing her point of view. You’ve rehashed the last times you spoke and still can’t figure out what irked her. Of course, it’s natural to wonder:

Why won’t she tell me the truth?”

Some possibilities:

  • She’s afraid she’ll hurt your feelings

 In her mind, she’s actually coming from a place of kindness. She doesn’t want to hurt you by blaming you or telling you the reasons for her decision. She may not realize how hurtful it is to go silent.

  •  She has a hard time handling conflict

 Some people simply don’t have the skills to handle difficult conversations. She may worry that if you talk, you’ll get angry and blow up at her—or perhaps, she’ll lose her temper and lace into you.

  •  It’s not about you; it’s about her

Another possibility you probably haven’t considered is that her decision wasn’t about you, per se. Perhaps, she has a problem or “big secret” she doesn’t want to share (e.g., a spouse with an addiction problem, a serious illness, a teenager involved with the law, or she’s having an extramarital affair). It’s not the way you would handle these things; but it’s her choice, not yours. She needs time and privacy to deal with her problems, in her own way.

 Getting Over Being Ghosted 

It’s normal to have flashbacks of times you shared and things you did together. You’ll wonder how to tell other people you’re no longer friends. You may feel sad and lonely. It takes time to get over any loss, and the closer the friendship, the longer it will take.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to seek closure from the person who has ghosted you. Instead, try to reframe the situation by moving forward and seeking closure on your own. Think about the positives you gained from the friendship and apply them to new relationships, which will come in time.

  • Praetorianphoto/iStock by Getty Images

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