Ghosting and Gone. But Not Forgotten
By Deborah Blackwell
After leaving a harrowing job that brought the #MeToo platform to life, I wrote a book. This was my lifelong dream that finally came to fruition. It’s an insightful tale about one woman’s journey through abuse, and her struggle to become a whole woman, as told by her deceased sister. It’s fiction (of course), and it sends a powerful message to women of all ages.
Through the writing process I worked with a publisher, not with a commitment they would publish my book, but with a dedication to teach me about becoming an author. It’s not as easy as you might think.
I learned I needed an author platform, a good day-job, and credibility. The platform is now a requirement for rookie authors that separates the die-hard writers from the wanna-be’s. The day-job, especially in the writing field, shows commitment, and the cred, well, that’s the icing.
I’ve never been much of a platform girl; I prefer hanging out in the background. I’m an introvert, despite my extrovert style.
But I’m a die-hard. And as the pieces came together, I knew I needed a website, a business, and humans interested in my work. I also needed to get back on social media. It’s the foundation for the platform.
This made me cringe a little. I’m not ashamed to admit that being on social media sometimes feels like a necessary tool, and a few years ago I disappeared from Facebook because the feed felt stressful.
Social media can trigger us at our very core, and I wanted to dial down the drama, I had enough in my own life.
But in my post-pandemic quest to launch my joyful dream (even though I should be thinking about retirement), I recently created a new Facebook profile. Rejoining was a little intimidating, I had to start from scratch. But I set my intention to just let it all flow. No pressure, no worries, we’re all adults here.
One by one, in no particular order, I clicked “add friend” or “message” as names appeared. I was happy when people accepted. Human connection feeds the soul, and it feels good to see long lost friends. I plugged away, until I realized a couple of friends—people I never dreamed would do this—denied my add request, without telling me why. Wow. Rejected…and worse: ghosted.
Ghosting has always been a mystery to me. I know there might be legitimate reasons, but I could never just leave someone hanging by not answering their texts, calls, emails, or in this case, friend requests, it feels rude and hurtful. Even if you hate someone, why not at least be polite, make something up if you don’t want to tell the truth, don’t just flat-out disappear.
I had to sit with the rejection, which isn’t easy. How could I not take it personally? It made a few things pretty clear.
We are always recreating who we are, it’s part of being human. We want to add value in the world, and we’re vulnerable when we put ourselves out there. Negative feedback, in whatever form, can undermine our confidence, and leaves that tight feeling in the pit of our stomach. I want to be accepted. Who doesn’t?
We watch people’s lives on social media, but how often do we wonder what is going on behind the scenes? What’s their backstory with photos, memes, and posts? Is their profile representing the truth of who they are? We are left to make assumptions. I’m pretty certain we don’t know as much as we think we do.
I, too, was guilty of hiding the backstory. When I was going through a strenuous period, I slowly fell out of touch with people, not because I wanted to, but because my life dictated it. Time, circumstances, health, these are all part of the foundation of friendship. Through the then and now, I realized as I was busy nomad-ing through my crazy life in search of peace—exhausted, stressed, and struggling physically—I was actually trying to run away from my past. So, I guess you could say I ghosted people. But you can’t run away from your past, on social media or otherwise.
We want to feel good about our connection to people, even with the boundaries they set. There’s a lot to learn from being ghosted.
What matters in life are the surprises, the genuine reveals, the feel-good moments, and even the not-so-good ones. It’s just about getting out there and connecting with those who care.
Hey, 50 friend requests I have still pending…click a button! I’m building a platform here! And I promise not to disappear.