Ghosting isn't new

Published 1.26.2020: This little essay is a primary example of why this site exists. A friend from high school, who I keep in touch with only through Facebook, recently posted (subposted?) on Facebook about being ghosted by a real life friend (or friends, she wasn't clear).

Basically, someone she though was a close friend suddenly is not. They won't return calls or texts, apparently, and she thinks this is rude. Perhaps it is, but if so, it's always been rude. Just because there's a new millennial term for it doesn't mean the practice was unheard of when we were young.

When I left high school I had a few close friends. I got along with everyone, but didn't socialize a whole lot outside school. Most of the reason can be put down to my parents (especially my mother) but that's not the topic today. Suffice it to say, I had close friends with whom I expected to stay close.

Fast forward a few years and I (back when long distance calling actually cost something) was putting myself in debt calling to maintain connections. Eventually, I had a heart to heart was me, myself and I in which we realized that any relationship that is only being maintained on one side isn't worth maintaining. So I stopped. No explanation, no big announcement, I just stopped calling. I ghosted them.

For the record, one or two people actually did call me, but that didn't last— they didn't have any more money than I did. I had a lot more money once I stopped trying to make relationships more than what they were.

Stagnation Equals Death

Perhaps that's not the best example because long distance and money was involved. Have people in closer proximity seemingly walked away from me (ghosted me)? Yes. Have I done it to others? Yes. Why? the reason varies. I don't recall any huge arguments, it was more a matter of shifting life phases.

I have had the experience of having someone call out of the blue after not hearing from them for years, that can be interesting or even pleasant. In all cases, an explanation for the lack of contact was not offered, nor was it expected. Life happens, priorities change. Change is part of life, stagnation equals death.

I supposed if a whiny post on Facebook makes you feel better (assuming the person is 1. on your friends list and 2. hasn't muted or "snoozed" or unfollowed you— in which case they don't see anything you post) then I suppose it's harmless. My purpose here is to note that so-called ghosting is not a new phenomenon.

Many people don't enjoy confrontation, and simply avoiding a person is a way to avoid confrontation. I suppose that's passive aggressive, but so is posting about it on Facebook without naming the person.

Not much other point to this post— which I suppose is itself passive aggressive, because it's not like my Facebook friend will ever see this. I don't post links to my writing on Facebook. Hell, I don't post links to my writing anywhere. Something that should change if I want to pretend to make a living at this.

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