So I started writing a post a while back on friendships, how they change, how new ones can magically form from nowhere especially when you are in one of the most frantic, sleep deprived stages of your life where you know you are not performing at your best – but I never got round to finishing it, then I read a couple of articles the other day and it spurred me on to finish what I started.
One of the articles described what it was like to be “ghosted” by a mum friend. The other a “study” looking into friendships and concluded that “Half of Your Friends Probably Don’t Think of You As a Friend” Now I’m not supporting this as a reputable study but it did make interesting reading. Coupled with the first article it got me thinking.
Now I’m fortunate that I have a lovely set of friends, I have close friends from my school years whom I still see and keep in contact with, uni friends who despite not seeing each other as often as we should, still meet and continue from where we last left off, as if time never separated us. I also have some brilliant work colleagues some of whom I would call friends and some fabulous mummy friends, some newer than others but all equally lovely and great to be around. Some of these friendships have developed into what I hope to be a lasting relationship – all in all I feel quite lucky. But I have had friendships that have come and gone, ebbed and flowed like the tide and others that have literally “ghosted”.
I completely understand that relationships can change over time and some grow closer whereas others drift apart, and that’s OK, some friendships are more ‘in the moment’ whereas others can stand the test of time, some may last until maybe some unfortunate moment arrives that drives a wedge between friends – however “ghosting” is not something I can understand. How can someone who previously called you a friend, who messaged you, hung out with you, shared memories and maybe special moments with suddenly decide that you are no longer for them and just cut you off. Some are more subtle than others, always having a “reason” to cancel or not make it to whatever they have been invited to and others just stop messaging, stop replying – literally vanish. But they haven’t vanished, some of these people may still be friends with others in a group or know other members of your own family etc – they will remain friendly to them but they have gone from your life. I don’t get it!
This has happened to me, and more than once as well. The first time it happened I was at university, now being quite an insecure anxious person at the time I was tormented by it. I over thought every scenario, analysed everything I said and did and questioned everything about myself. It was horrible. Now at the time I don’t think I could’ve dealt with honesty if it was given to me, if it was something that I had done but retrospectively I would appreciated the decency and respect, I would have appreciated the opportunity to right a wrong if that was the case. It was simply because for what ever reason they didn’t like me anymore then have the balls to say so and not hide away hoping I would go away and forget about it.
Having spent many years being criticised and emotionally manipulated I was a social wreck hiding behind a facade of a positive bouncy attitude, yet inside I was a tormented wreck. I sought acceptance in any relationship I made but never really believed I had a true friendship when I did have one. I questioned everything, questioned everyone – I found it hard to trust anybody. So to be ghosted ruined me, any confidence I had was shattered.
However I soon formed friendships that restored my faith, and over the years I gained confidence in myself and who I was as a person – I shirked the anxiety and panic disorder and started to enjoy being with friends rather than wondering if there was an ulterior motive.
Since having had the boys, my confidence has dramatically increased – not saying I’m cocky and arrogant and think the world loves me, its just that I don’t have the time to worry, if you like me great, if you don’t that’s fine – I need to be assertive otherwise I’m wasting what little precious time I have, and no offence but I’m not wasting my time for anyone who doesn’t deserve me. No one is liked by everyone so why should I be any different?
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when you are ‘ghosted’. I have been ghosted again since my first experience at university and like in any situation like this I wasn’t expecting it. It shook me slightly as I hadn’t seen it coming, well maybe I did but trying to be the more positive and less anxious person that I thought I had become I made excuses for non replying of messages and cancelling of meet ups etc. Eventually I stopped trying, no amount of trying to ascertain if something was up or if I had done anything wrong surmounted to anything so I cut my losses. It still baffles me to this day and even thinking about it now I will start to doubt things that I have said and done and attempt to seek an answer. Then I remind myself that this is not my problem. I know I am a good person – I have my flaws I realise that and I am far from perfect but I’m a good person, a loyal friend. If you are my friend I will be there for you, I will be loyal, I will give you my time, I will bend over backwards to support you if you want or need me there – however if you take liberties or abuse that trust and relationship, I don’t forget it. I am not malicious or mean, I will just step back and no longer offer the level of friendship that I would have done previously. I won’t cut myself off and write someone off completely because everyone has moments when they can be a dick and to be honest you wouldn’t be human if you haven’t had a lapse in character, but some people deserve a second chance. I know, I was fortunate to be given a second chance when I displayed some dickish behaviour when I was younger, but having that second chance made me realise that I couldn’t ever be that person again, because when I realised what I was at risk of losing, being a selfish idiot was not worth it – my friendships were.
I would like to think that where I am right now with the friends that I have I will carry them with me in to the future. I have some great memories with some and I hope to build many more. I just hope that I don’t ever get ghosted again and I don’t wish on anyone, we are adults, we should be mature enough to talk through our issues and let bygones be bygones, if that can’t happen at least both parties can say they tried but go their separate ways and maybe use the experience to shape future friendships in a more positive light.
We all deserve to be respected and if someone asks if something is wrong be the better person and actually respond to them rather than ignore them. I know it may seem confrontational to have to tell someone why you are not wanting their friendship anymore and maybe some people will react badly to what you may have to say, but at least they will know. At least they will be able to move on without wondering ‘was it me?’ ‘was it something I said/did’. And if it’s something someone has done, let them have the opportunity to apologise, it may not have been intentionally – how can anyone learn from their mistakes if they don’t know they have been made.