I posted about my shit list (which is largely but not entirely populated with people who ghosted me) recently.
While writing that very post the first person on the list, my oldest friend, reached out to me and apologized for not responding to me for nearly a year. Maybe some universal agent tipped him off. Guilt works in mysterious ways.
I waited for about a week to respond because I wanted to be sure I wanted to respond at all and then I wanted to craft the perfect passive aggressive response that would thoroughly mask as me accepting the apology but also saying “ghosting a friend you’ve known for 34 years is shitty.”
I’m currently working on founding a religion that is based on my personal philosophy. The main goal of my new faith is to draft a set of guiding principles that will protect me and people with similar mental health challenges protect ourselves and lead the least stressful life possible. I’m still working on the philosophy part. But one of the big questions I want to answer for myself is ‘How do you respond when someone treats you shitty?’ That’s a chapter heading to my Tao. There’s going to be a general response which could be applied to all the shitty offenses but I’ll also include a few examples that have particularly pissed me off over my decades on earth.
As an acting answer to this conundrum I came to the conclusion that it’s better for my safety and utility for a person to believe I am their friend. Whether or not I actually care about them is not relevant. One of the major tenants of my religion is self preservation; physical, emotional and all other types.
You might say that’s awfully cynical and dishonest. I suppose it is both those things. But cynicism and a nuanced assessment of honesty are big pillars of my Way. The one thing life has taught me from a very early age is that honesty should be saved for those who deserve it and being optimistic about life is a sure way to be disappointed.
So I wrote the following back to him:
“don’t worry about it, you’re only human”
Believe it or not there’s a lot to unpack in this statement.
Content wise, it seems perfectly innocuous. I state his offense was not anything that he should feel guilt about “don’t worry about it”, but I never accepted his apology. I understand that most people would take ‘don’t worry about it’ to be forgiveness. That’s great. That’s part of the reason I chose those words. Almost no one would suspect them.
The second phrase I struggled with for a long time. For my 5 regular readers, they know my opinion of humanity. If you’re not interested in clicking on that link I’ll give you a summary: every human being is terrible to some extent or another and humanity as a whole is a plague.
For most people the saying ‘I’m only human’ is a mea culpa. It states that the speaker’s species is flawed and prone to errors. We’re not perfect. But we’re trying our best and we usually mean well. We’re more good than bad. For me, the human species is certainly flawed and prone to errors, with or without malice afore thought. But I’m absolutely in disagreement with the statement that it is more good than bad.
So as you can probably already surmise, if I tell someone they are only human, it is no dispensation. It is not forgiveness. It merely conveys the belief that the particular person I’m speaking to is terrible. And terrible beings do terrible things. They can AND can’t help it.
Stylistically, the lack of a final period punctuation mark and the lack of capitalization is a cherry on the top of the passive aggressive cake. It says I did not bother to make the message proper. And I’m actually fastidious as hell when it comes to sending messages.
The 2nd unghosting I had took place before the start of my twelve step meeting on Monday. I was all set to tell my sponsor, who had not replied to me in 3 weeks, that I was going to get another sponsor. As soon as he saw me he rushed over and gave me a big hug and I folded like cheap lawn furniture. He didn’t apply for never replying to me. He didn’t even look like he had any remorse at all. I guess that makes him a flake. A smart friend of mine pointed out that flakiness is not the best trait in a sponsor.
So now I have to think about whether I want to go through the annoying process of changing sponsors.
Anyhow I think it’s strange that the universe has thrown two unghostings at me. Especially since I’ve been writing about ghosting so much. Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe it’s the universe just fucking with me. Maybe it’s both. I don’t know.
Coincidences do weird me out, though.
Could it be…
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