It's true that change is the only constant in life. But when drastic change happens unexpectedly, it has a way of bankrupting our hearts and spinning reality into a sea of confusion.
So how exactly do we manage the sudden change when we are ghosted by a friend?
Whether a short-lived Bumble BFF companionship or a long-term childhood friend, being ghosted is never expected.
And once it happens, it can really mess us up.
We begin to doubt ourselves, who we are, what we brought to the table. We question our likability, our worth, and our capacity to truly be loved. And before we know it, chaos has taken us by the hand and is leading us down a personal path of internal destruction.
And why do we taking ghosting so personally?
We take it personally because choosing friends is quite frankly one of the most personal choices we can make in life and losing a friend, most of the time, is an unwanted change. As contradictory as it may seem, the antidote to this change is to embrace it. Look inward. Identify your feelings then manage them and regain control.
Recently, a client told me that 15 years ago she painfully watched a lifelong friendship dissipate into thin air overnight. She went on to explain how she went from having the stability and love of a soul sister to waking up the next morning without it. She was ghosted in the worst way possible with no idea why. It was a loss that felt unbearable. She couldn’t understand it or even explain:
If they loved each other unconditionally- like sisters- and found a home in each other’s hearts, how could her friend so easily flip the switch?
She was completely and utterly lost. She questioned everything. What did she do wrong? Was her friend in harm’s way? Did her friend ever really love her?
My client was forced to look inward, and in doing so she was able to see that her friend’s needs were based on the support SHE needed in her life at that time-- something my client couldn't control.
And I see it often with the women I work with. It's so hard not to interpret a situation without looking at our friend's ghosting through a lens of how we went without the support we needed.
But perhaps that friend's needs could only be met by withdrawing completely.
I don't condone ghosting as a go-to way of existing a relationship or resolving a conflict. But in the times where someone has decided to ghost- especially if it's the exception, not the rule-- they may have made the decision according to their most pressing needs.
A choice that's undoubtedly hurtful, but true nonetheless.
As for my client, she began to accept that she couldn't control other's decisions, so, to gain closure, she allowed herself to feel the loss, accept the change, and move forward. Years after she was ghosted, she came to find out that her friend was consumed by an unhealthy relationship that stripped her of her identity. Her friend’s actions had absolutely nothing to do with her.
Blinded by circumstance and emotion, we often fail to recognize the possibility that others’ feelings and actions are just that: THEIR feelings and actions. All too often do we place our value in the hands of others.
But ghosted or not, the reality is that friendships come and go- some are a dot on the spectrum of life, others last a lifetime- they move with the tides of our lives and when we connect with the right people for us, the mark a friendship leaves is permanent regardless of the amount of time we shared together.
So maybe the focus should be on what the friendship brought to your life rather than its lifespan. And trust that the friendships that are meant to last will find a way to endure all the hardships. Home is always a place we can return to and a true friendship is home, regardless of change.
Accept responsibility for your actions and feelings.
Understand that you can’t control others’ choices or emotions.
You cannot project your needs on to others.
Find closure for the loss and take time to grieve, if necessary.
Change is the only constant in life, so embrace it.
Need more advice on managing your disappointment after being ghosted? Watch the video below:
If you are looking for ways to position yourself to invite new connections into your life after a friendship break-up, we provide research-based strategies to help you make it happen. Consider booking a one-on-one coaching session with resident friendship coach and expert Danielle Bayard Jackson today.