How to Deal with Ghosts (Friends who Abandon You)

Fear in Wonderland // How to Deal with Ghosts

I would love to tell you that this post is about how to eradicate those pesky translucent chain-rattlers from your attic, but alas I’m here with a more serious topic. But maybe another time. Friends can brighten up your life, and they can also weigh you down. There is one certain kind of person that has the power to weigh you down beyond what you can carry, and it’s time to learn how to let them go – these people are ghosts.

“Ghosting” is a relatively new term from what I have seen, but friendship abandonment is an all too familiar (and longstanding) occurrence for many people. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to most of the people I know, and chances are if you’re reading this it has happened to you. For that, my friend, I am sorry, but my hope is that you may find some comfort in the suggestions that I have for you.

Don’t believe that voice in your head. You know the one, it’s telling you that there is something horribly wrong with you and that’s why your friend left. That voice is an asshole. That voice is lying to you. I know it is tempting to believe it, but there’s not a single reason you should. There is not anything wrong with you. You are doing a great job at being a human.

Know that there is a reason, and also know that you might never discover what that reason is. The thing about ghosts is that they don’t tell you their unfinished business. Make peace with that realization, or you may pull your hair out fretting over it. The reason could be anything. They could be focusing on their own mental health and pulling away from you because your friendship isn’t right for them anymore. They could be lazy and pulling away from you because they’re no longer willing to invest the time and energy into your friendship.

Decide if you want to make one last bit of contact or if you are okay with just letting things go. If you want to make things official, by all means send them an e-mail, a postcard, a text letting them know that your friendship is no longer sustainable and it was lovely while it lasted. But if you do this, please stick with it. They may respond, but if they haven’t been responding to you thus far there is a pretty good chance they won’t. Don’t try to contact them again after this – doing so is simply setting yourself up for disappointment. Try as you might, you cannot will that “Seen” notification into a reply.

Grieve. You don’t have to pretend you’re okay with losing your friend. Give yourself some time to be sad. Listen to Adele. Snuggle your pet. Write sad poetry. Do what you need to do to work through your sorrow.

Don’t hold onto your anger. This is an absolute must. You know the saying “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die?” It’s true. Resentment will not accomplish anything at all except possibly making you a bitter person. You don’t deserve that, so now is the time to learn to let go.

Give it time. Don’t expect to hit “Send” on that final e-mail and immediately feel better. You lost a friend, and you deserve time to get over that. Losing people is a process, and it is absolutely okay to not feel okay. Just know that you will feel better – maybe not right now, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

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