I was friends with a great lady back in 2002 when I was doing my first residential tour in the district. We had a shared common hobby. We hung out every week. What the hobby was isn’t important to this post. Eventually, I moved out of the area and at some point, I concocted the absurd and groundless notion that she had slighted me. I have no excuse for it. My strong emotions often get me into trouble. So I lashed out at her by UNFRIENDING her on Facebook. I know, pretty severe, huh? I can virtually guarantee you that she did not even notice. Nor should she have.
Over a decade passed and I survived a year that almost literally killed me. When I emerged from that crucible, I had a different outlook on things. Where possible I started to try to reconnect with people I had shunned for no good reason. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. But I got at least one friend back so that makes all the other failed attempts worth it.
I was on Facebook and I messaged my old dance love. I just inquired on how she was and I might have mentioned that I’d love to get coffee and catch up. I can’t remember. I really didn’t expect her to respond but she did.
Here’s where technical details become important. Bear with me. As many of you probably know, when someone sends you a message on Facebook you get a little notification on your phone and the first part of the message is visible. I smiled when I saw it was my old friend and she was jumping right over coffee and suggested we get lunch. I excitedly clicked on the notification to read the full message.
But nothing came up. I refreshed the app. I closed and reopened the app. The message was gone. I was looking at the message window and saw those telltale ellipses that indicate a person is typing a message to you. Interesting, I thought. Eventually, a message popped up and it was an invitation for coffee when she returned from her vacation in a month. She recommended I shoot her a message at that time to remind her.
You see what happened there?
Thanks to technology I was able to see in real-time the “thinking” better of it. Coffee is a significantly lower commitment than lunch. Any excuse can release you from coffee and you can be gone in 20 minutes. With lunch, the food probably won’t get to your table for 20 minutes. I was bummed. The positive person might say that it was no big deal and that she’s just busy like all DC folks and not read into it so much. That’s not how I saw it. As a rejection sommelier, I knew what was coming. I’ve had this variety before. The “on second thought”. It pairs well with a slice of lowered self-esteem. But I acquiesced to the small little positive fellow who lives in my soul and I told him I would be open-minded and contact her in a month to schedule coffee. My negative aspect scoffed, shook its tremendous iron head and walked off.
A month passed.
I sent a message to her to remind her about coffee, per her instructions. That was March 28th. Do you think she replied? Of course, she didn’t.
I told you. I’m an expert in rejection of all forms: platonic, romantic, creative, familial, etc.
I got “friend ghosted”. It happens. I’ve done it myself a couple times. This was before my hopeless view of humanity had crystallized so I still harbored expectations of people. But that’s when you get hurt. That’s when you get disappointed. That’s when you get fucked.
People ghost because they are lazy or they don’t like uncomfortable interactions or they just don’t place any value on your relationship with them. The most hopeful take on it is lazy. But that’s really horse shit, isn’t it? It takes, what, 15 seconds to send a vague “I can’t right now; I’ll get back to you” message. Of course, you’re never going to get back to them but you never promised WHEN you’d get back to them. It’s a violation of the spirit of the message but in friend court, you would get off with a warning from the judge but also a lament that he couldn’t convict you because you exploited a technicality.
Anyway, it just bummed me out.
I guess ghosting is pretty much standard operating procedure for platonic and non-platonic relationships now. Honestly, I don’t think it even really rises to the level of rudeness anymore. Modern society, by virtue of its ubiquitous adoption, has blessed it.
I’m learning and conditioning my mind to eliminate expectations of human beings band cause they, without fail and without exception, will let you down. But it’s a process and I haven’t quite mastered it yet. Shit, I’m not sure I ever will.
Anyhow, disingenuous offers, friend ghosting, and fauxship in general are three more reasons why humanity bites.