3 simple thoughts on the importance of healing from the hurt of ghosting from friendships

May 11, 2023

caravan sonnet

Happy Thursday friends! Today's health post is a relatively new topic for me, but one that I wanted to explore with y'all as it has been something that I have been working through over the course of the last several months (since December). I generally referenced this topic from the perspective of forgiveness on instagram, but today I wanted to talk about healing from the hurt of ghosting from friendships.

If you are not familiar with what ghosting is (and I believe that each of us have experienced this in different ways) it is simply the absence of communication between two people who were having communication. This includes no return calls, no texts, no e-mails, or any type of communication, just simply silence from the person who has decided to ghost. In simple form, it can feel that the one party became nonexistent, while the other person is left to wonder why they are at the receiving end of silent treatment.

Typically, this type of situation has been referred mostly to dating or romantic relationships. To be honest, this was where I had experienced it before and in one particular situation several years ago it was extremely painful to work through. There was "all the feelings" and it took time to process, pray through, and really forgive the person in that situation. 

I admit though that I did not think it would happen in other types of relationships, but this past November/December it did and then a few weeks ago it did with another friendship. The situation from the winter was extremely painful as the communication that I was having with a friend (who I had known for thirty years) just stopped. Unfortunately this situation involved a promise from this person to help with a situation and creating a business deal and involved different parties. When this person went completely silent (after first saying several times that they would "call that day" and never did) I not only was left blindsided by the person not following through on a commitment that they made with their word, but was left to try to pick up the pieces of a broken promise, and ultimately a very very difficult situation. There were other parties involved in this situation and I had given my word and promise that this person was going to follow through on something (it involved money) and when they didn't others questioned my word and my character (because I had vouched for this person), both of which are extremely important to me. A business deal that had long-lasting personal implications ended up hurting and changing (literally) the course of several people's lives. 

Despite repeatedly trying to reach out (again this was different then a romantic relationship) several times it went completely silent. Finally a month after no communication I received one message that simply stated:

 "I've not forgotten you! I'm sorry I ghosted you, but I'm still moving in the direction to help. Might be another month. Is that ok?"

To be honest this was also shocking to receive. This person admitted to ghosting but the conversation had changed from the promise of helping to now "the direction of helping". The time frame had also been adjusted once again (originally this was supposed to have been completed by the end of November and it was now the third week of January), and most of all the true character of a person I thought I had known (and honestly defended when others had warned me over the years about this person) had been brought to light. I replied back and of course... never heard anything else. 

To be honest, this specific situation was difficult and painful. A person I had known and trusted since teen years and someone that I had verbally entered into a business deal with that was extremely personal, disappeared.

I wanted to believe that it was a very difficult and busy time for this person. I also wanted to believe that because this involved finances the person was too embarrassed to admit that they couldn't follow through on a promise that they had made to several important people in my life (who again trusted the follow through because of my character). I also wanted to believe that maybe this person simply couldn't do what they had promised and were embarrassed by this (as they outwardly seem very successful). I wanted to believe so many different things, but mainly was left with tons of questions. 

And that to be is the hardest part about ghosting: when communication is cut off, you are leaving someone with no closure and the difficult act of having to work through all the questions that arise (and sometimes like I was left with a lot of pieces to try to pick up with only a simple answer of "I am sorry I don't know why this person has backed out of this deal, I simply have been ghosted"). 

If I am honest, this was equally as painful as the romantic situation that I referenced at the beginning of this post. With the romantic situation, it was a loss for my heart which is very precious and the end of a future that I believed was being planned. It took me time to truly work through that and forgive that person fully. Yes, I was heartbroken. With this situation I also never anticipated this friendship ending. I believed in both situations that there would be maturity to have difficult conversations if necessary. 

As adults, we know that our actions have affects on people and when you trust people, you never believe that they would do something purposeful to hurt you or someone else. So when ghosting happens, it truly makes you question everything that occurred in the friendship/relationship you had. I admit that I had to realize that the true character had come out and the character of the person I had thought did not equally align. Unfortunately, this became painfully obvious as over the next couple of months (in the winter and spring) this person publicly entered into multiple other business deals. The truth was literally there- this person simply found a better deal and their word and promises to me were not important enough.

How do you heal from situations like this and others that I have heard from dear friends? What is important for our physical and mental health to heal from ghosting? Here are a few thoughts:

(1) Recognize that this is All About the Other Person and Not You

First, it is easy to say to people to "move on" when they are ghosted but in actuality it can be extremely challenging for the person who was ghosted. Because ghosting feels like you are not only betrayed but have been disrespected it can take time to work through and properly process those feelings. Because ghosting foregoes communication, it can make you feel like you have done something wrong. If there are intermittent communciations (like the message I shared above), often times those manipulative messages place a burden on the person that was ghosted. In my situation, I was left with not knowing how to properly respond. Here is the message again:

 "I've not forgotten you! I'm sorry I ghosted you, but I'm still moving in the direction to help. Might be another month. Is that ok?"

Because as I have shared this was a business deal that involved loved ones, I wanted to quickly jump and say, "yes please, please take anytime you need and we are so grateful for you, etc.etc.etc" but to be honest we had already had conversations like that throughout December. 

This time I decided to prayerfully consult with Godly and trusted leaders in my life and I was thankful that I did. They pointed out to me the tone of the message was disrespectful and that the person had already started to show their character by saying "I'm still moving in the direction to help" when weeks prior to that they had promised to help. I prayerfully considered my response and wrote back a simple message and like I stated above never heard back. It was hard because honestly I had to admit that even if I had done the pleading response it would have been the same outcome. 

And this is the first important step to healing from the hurt of ghosting: recognizing that this has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with the character of the other person. Recognizing this and prayerfully working through this will help you in your healing process and help the feelings of self-blame or shame associated that often comes with ghosting. 

(2) Talk with Someone about your Experience and the Emotions of Abandonment and Broken Promises

In ghosting with friendships it is extremely important to talk through with someone your feelings and emotions of abandonment and broken promises. I will admit that this situation, while in no way romantic, was extremely painful as a single woman. This was a person who had numerous times offered help in various ways to me (and my mom), had known my dad, and when offered a business deal that involved others (who are not single) it was a weird and unsettling feeling to see it not come through to fruition. I literally questioned whether or not if I had been married or my dad was still alive if the outcome would have been different. 

For each person it is going to be a different set of feelings or emotions that you might experience. I struggled with feeling (for honestly the very first time in my life) anger at the entire situation. I decided to talk with someone and am so glad that I did. Talking through the feelings of abandonment helped me come to the precious conclusion that the Lord was protecting everyone involved in this business deal at the end of the day. It truly now (after working through forgiveness) makes me shutter to think what would have happened if the deal would have gone through and then the true character would have shown? It would have been devastating. 

Talking with someone through your feelings is so important to help you truly heal and be able to move forward freely, understanding that you have been protected.

(3) Work through Forgiveness

At the end of the day forgiveness is so importance for total healing from this situation. A book that has helped me work through forgiveness is a book entitled, Total Forgiveness (you can find it HERE). Forgiving this person that has created such upheaval through their actions of ghosting has truly allowed me to move forward in freedom. I wish them well. I know, because of forgiveness, that even this situation the Lord is going to perform a miracle that I can't yet see for those that were involved originally in this business deal. That does not rest on the actions of others. It rests on Him. Because of this I can move forward in freedom and not stay in that pain that ghosting brings. 

I am not abandoned and neither are you if you have been the recipient of ghosting from friendships. I promise you as you work through these three simple things that healing will come and the importance of that is priceless! I have found such joy as we have moved forward - trusting and anticipating an amazing miracle that never would have occurred if this hadn't taken place.

 I hope that these three simple thoughts on the importance of healing help you as you recover from the hurt of ghosting in friendships. 

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