Posted on May 18 2019
Who you gonna call? Been ghosted!
How to mourn the ghost of a friendship past
Your bff was your go-to. Fight with your husband? Text your bff. Dropped baby on its head? Text your bff. Tried a new lip gloss you love? Bff. Raging hormones? Bff. Someone cyber wronged you? Bff. Hilarious meme? Tag the bff.
Every situation in life called for your bff – but all of a sudden your text-a-thons have run dry and you only communicate about major life events twice a month. What happened? What went wrong? You need closure but feel like you’re a jilted lover instead of a friend. It doesn’t make sense, you’re left blaming yourself and wondering how this friend-train went off the rails. Who you gonna call?
You’re not for everyone.
I am not for everyone. With four children, two with severe autism, a business that keeps me working holidays, nights, all hours of the day (and the mental load of always being aware of it), a pretty open mind and even more open mouth, and various and sundry other unique life circumstances, I’m not the ideal candidate for bff-hood. But once in a great while, a good friend slips through and it’s an instant connection. In my case, it’s rare, and I treasure it. I am an all-or-nothing person and I share my darkest struggles and deepest dreams with my friends (again, that’s intense for some!) So when I don’t get invites to b-day parties, girls’ nights, play dates, coffee, or even a returned text message, I let it roll off my back. After all, my children are nonverbal, don’t play well with others, and most days I’m trying to keep them clothed and alive. I’m typically too stressed to shower and my definition of shooting the shit likely involves actual diapers. When I show up with my palette of baggage, not everyone is here for it. And that’s OK! But recently I’ve taken note of some really close relationships that have, for the lack of a better term, become ghosts.
It’s not you, it’s the altitude.
A relationship, like a cake, is a little art and a little science. You can have all of the raw ingredients (the same ingredients you’ve always used) and the cake doesn’t turn out. Did you blame the fall of your cake on the weather, your mood, being distracted? Let’s examine the oft-overlooked ingredient to baking: elevation. A change in altitude typically calls for substitutions or additions/subtractions to a recipe. Have you up-leveled recently? Gone through changes, become more – you? Did you go through a trauma, a tragedy, a death, and it opened your eyes and recalibrated your priorities? This past year for me has been like being shot out of a cannon: a move across the country, intense therapy for my twins, adjusting to paying our bills solely from my business income, and countless other soul-refining moments that have put pressure on every aspect of my life, and I sort of feel different. My priorities have shifted. I’ve seen those who have shown up for me and those who have not. Additionally, I don’t spend as much time gossiping or worrying about what others think. I’ve started doing things that I love, being the “me” that I was always terrified of being, and being a congruent person who is impeccable with my word and my actions. I’ve adjusted to people not accepting or being comfortable with the authentic me, and I’ve watched a lot of relationships change or even disintegrate completely. A change of altitude can wreak havoc on an otherwise immaculate recipe. If you’re not up for reducing your sugar or increasing your heat to compensate for your new elevation, then scrap it. Don’t dumb yourself down to get the perfect bundt cake. Don’t force a friendship that can’t rise on its own.
You went through a rough patch and took more than you gave.
On that note, through my major life changes, there was some rockiness, messiness, and all-around intensity that put me in a negative mental space. I definitely unloaded on close friends more than I’m proud of out. Here in Arizona I’m learning about dust storms, or Haboobs. My moods were so sudden, so chokingly poignant, that my friends had to pull over to the side of the road just to understand what was happening with me. Being around me was exhausting and derailing at worst, inconvenient at best. Looking back I was so overwhelmed with my own internal haboob that I was being a boob. I wasn’t able to see anything but dust in front of me and it definitely put strain on my friendships. Some relationships can handle a little breeze, but when the winds of change, trauma, or tragedy strike, it can uproot a seemingly stable friendship. Just because you and your bff exchanged shared toilet selfies doesn’t mean the relationship can withstand the good, bad, and ugly of real-life shit.
She may be trying to protect your feelings.
You can remain in the masturbatory cycle of wondering what you did wrong, what you said, what you did for eternity and the bottom line is that sometimes relationships just aren’t meant to last forever. Everyone comes into your life in divine timing – and looking back, it’ll make sense why you had this relationship. Maybe your bff wants to avoid confrontation, or hurting your feelings, or maybe she just doesn’t have the heart to tell you she isn’t feeling it anymore. It’s like “he’s just not into you” only with your girlfriend. And it hurts. If you’re like me, though, you like answers and won’t stop until you get slapped in the face with embarrassment and humiliation. Just don’t let your excavation dip into your self respect. Love yourself enough to let go and let God – or tacos or various other carbohydrate products – fill in the void. It’s OK to look back on the good times but don’t let nostalgia cloud your future. Sometimes the universe removes the lukewarm to make room for something even more amazing. Don’t miss the chance to have a new soul friendship because you are busy mourning the old.
She doesn’t have the balls or the bandwidth.
Maybe girlfriend is super overwhelmed with her life situation. Like maybe she really just wants to Netflix and chill at the end of a long day and not text you back. Maybe she doesn’t want to dump on you so she goes black for a while to sort her stuff out on her own. Take my computer, for instance. It’s so overloaded that now opening Microsoft Word or making an edit in Photoshop gives me the “scratch disks are full” error message. Doing a single task gives me the spinning wheel of eternity and I have to force quit every open program just to type this. My hard drive literally cannot handle one more gigabyte or it will crash. Consider that maybe you are that one GB (or, let’s be honest, you’re way more than a GB) and your bff needs to use all available memory for self-care or preservation. This is where you have to dig deep and not take it personally – even when your hysterical, high-maintenance ego is wildly gesticulating to you from across the street – and keep walking.
She’s “too busy.”
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was super, super busy. Like, sleep 9 hours per week busy. Like work nights after all four kids go down busy (two kids wake up at 3:30 am). Like so eternally in a state of busy and stress that my house could be on fire and I’d be answering emails. But – I will say, if a friend texts, calls with an urgent need, or wants to hang, I typically move mountains. SO much so that I’ll put work aside, spend money I don’t have, and take time out of a day at the most inconvenient time because I’m loyal AF. I cherish my friendships and treat my friends like the queens they are. So when someone continually uses the rolling excuse of being “too busy,” more than likely they’re just too busy for you. It’s your b-day and your friend forgot. You had a crisis and your friend didn’t have her phone on her until lunch the next day. You try to nail down plans and your friend changes the subject or responds with the noncommittal “sometime.” She’s too overwhelmed or busy but consistently going out and posting pics with her other friends. These are all signs from the other side that you’re being ghosted. It’s not you, it’s her. It’s not your imagination, the friendship has died. Rather than getting a proton pack and chasing the ghost of friendship past down the hallways of nostalgia, let it die. Guide it to the light. Keep it breezy, keep it positive. Send it love and light.