Like the immature asshole that I am, I have a shit list. It consists, mostly…
…of people who have Platonic ghosted me.
I’m not claiming I’m an innocent. I’ve ghosted. I’ve got blood on my hands.
But in the last couple years I’ve had a deluge of significant ghostings. These were people I cared about and I thought they at least had a positive overall opinion of me.
There’s my oldest friend who I had known since I was 5 (UPDATE: he literally texted me for the first time in a year as I was writing another post on ghosting. He apologized. I’ve yet to respond. I’m still figuring out how and if I want to.).
There’s my high school best friend who I had known for 30 years.
There’s my old supervisor who became a dear friend but left me in the dust when I got severely sick.
There’s another dear friend (redacted as this is a pretty recent ghosting and even though I know waiting will make no difference, I’m gonna hold out for a few more weeks till I “un-redact).
There’s another former supervisor from work who felt being suicidal wasn’t a good enough reason for me to discontinue my professional mentoring with him.
There’s my other buddy from work who I sat next to for 4 years and I thought we were tight but whether we were or not is really irrelevant.
For the vast majority of them, I can provide what I truly believe is a measured, well thought out reason for their decision to ghost me. And it could be a totally drama free, no bad blood reason, like “we just grew apart”. That happens. That’s life. Some friendships simply aren’t meant to last. But even though I’m a leading authority on rejection, I don’t have them on a lie detector machine (which isn’t 100% reliable anyway) so I can’t conclusively say I am right.
But I’m right. I’ve never been wrong. Well, almost never. If rejection analysis and forecasting were a commodity, you could make a lot of money investing with me.
But in the end, the reason why only goes so far. It might be a really good reason that I should appreciate. But in the end, person X decided I was not worth replying to. And however you want to spin that, it doesn’t really speak well for their opinion of me. Could their opinion be accurate? Sure. I’m not a great guy by any reasonable standard. But I got friends who care for me despite my myriad flaws. They have an unreasonably positive opinion of me. And it’s nice to have people like that in my life. I really appreciate them. But the people who ghosted me clearly do not see me in a good light anymore. And life is too short to waste time on people who don’t like you.
Ghosting isn’t even a mean or rude thing anymore, in my opinion. It’s standard procedure. I even have a pet theory (shit, I have a veritable menagerie) that ghosting might even be an act of kindness buried deep under common cowardice. The vast majority of people simply don’t want to have an unpleasant conversation or send an honest text. It’s just another symptom of modern social interaction in decline. It used to be people said that common sense wasn’t common. I agree. And I’d add that common courtesy isn’t common anymore either.
Given that reality, those who have ghosted me aren’t guilty of any thing except being contemporary human beings. And after all, all human beings are, to some degree or another, terrible.
I was going to name names. Not that it would do anything at all. My ghosters sure AF don’t read this blog. Then why? Because it was like shaking my little fist at the indifferent universe. But then I thought about Elia Kazan. If you don’t know about him and are tl;dr about reading that article, here’s a super short summary: Kazan was a big deal Hollywood director in the 50’s. At the same time Joe McCarthy was going on a communist witch hunt and Hollywood was known to harbor more than its fair share of lefties so McCarthy’s goons pressed a lot of Tinseltown types. Most had honor and wouldn’t sell their friends down the river. Not Elia. He was a brilliant director; there’s no reasonable argument to the contrary. But he was a repugnant human being. In his autobiography he claims his decision to name names cost him good friends and haunted him for the rest of his life. Good. I hope it’s still haunting him.
I don’t want to be like Elia Kazan so I’m not gonna name names. But I did detail some of the more disappointing ghosters by giving personal details about them above. Just as a cosmic middle finger to them. Frankly, why should I even extend them this anonymous courtesy? I’ve spent more time writing this last sentence than they have responding to me or extending me any consideration.
These are all people I had known for over three years and some nearly forty years. They weren’t chicks I went out on one lame date with. They were significant presences in my life.
So, as is my wont, I tried to figure out why. And there’s one very obvious common denominator between these very different kinds of people. That’s right! Yours truly!
In my ideal data nerd world, people would have to give exit interviews when they ended a friendship. It would be for the common good. If I’m being an asshole in a way I don’t recognize, that’s valuable data. Especially if multiple former friends felt I was being an asshole in the same way. I might wanna change that behavior to prevent further ghostings and maybe even grow as a person.
Why is ghosting so stuck in my craw lately?
Because it’s hard for me not to point the finger at myself (see common denominator). That’s also been my standard process whenever anything goes wrong, regardless of whether it was my fault or not. But nowadays I’m not about taking all the blame anymore. But I still have those baked in thought processes that fire whenever any stressor crosses my path. I know what they are when they pop in and they still sting when they do but I can dismiss them now.
I guess “describing” (naming “light”) my ghosters is like purging. I have named them and they no longer have any power. They are the past. I am my future.
I ain’t afraid of no ghost.
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