The internet has a way of making things easily accessible, to the point where people you wouldn’t normally communicate with AT ALL, now become an “online” bestie, or trendy words and phrases circuit the web faster than a speeding bullet. I remember the first time I heard the word “selfie” some 10-ish years ago. President Obama used it of all people, and it was featured in a news article I was reading at work. While sitting in my cubicle, I promptly typed the phrase into Google on my computer. I’m sure I’ve been taking selfies ever since.
That brings me to the term “ghosting”. For the uninformed, ghosting is when you are engaging with a person on a romantic level for any period of time, only to suddenly vanish without explanation. To the informed: Do you remember the first time you heard it used? I don’t, but I can tell you that once I heard it, it became a common phrase in my vocabulary. Even more so, when I joined the dating scene and learned that people actually do this to other people. Now, I will say, I’ve probably done this to people I had platonic relationships with after my own perception of offense, which still doesn’t make it right (that’s probably actually worse on some level) but the point is, I haven’t ghosted a real live date.
One thing I told a friend recently as we discussed the nuances of dating and ghosting and not hearing anything via text from the guy you’ve been talking to for the last week (simply speaking in hypotheticals people), is that these people have no real obligation to you. It’s not like they are your friends or family who are invested in doing life with you. It’s not like they really owe you because you both have this purposeful relationship that cultivates a level of intimacy and depth that calls for explanation of a disappearance. No. The purpose of the relationship is typically more self-serving in those early stages. Often, the experience is, I am excited in this moment to connect with you, but if or when that changes, then I am done. Point. Blank. Period.
I know. I know. It sounds harsh. But isn’t that the world we live in? Cancel culture is rampant. Social media makes it easy to “unfollow”, “unfriend”, “unlike” a whole human being these days. As if the person on the other side of the screen is just a username with a bunch of cute pictures attached, and not a package of emotions and intellect walking around with skin on.
It’s easy to become desensitized to the mistreatment of others when we strip them down to hashtags.
I have been ghosted at least twice in the last six weeks. The very first time I was in shock. I had no idea that someone who seemed to invest their time, money and interest in me could suddenly just bounce. Oh, but I am learning fast people! It happens. And it happens to the best of us. So, after my second experience, I had to give myself “the pep talk”, which pretty much boiled down to: “It’s not you Nicole, its them”.
Now, I could probably be accused of “ghosting”, but in my defense I can’t say that I have ever just stopped communicating with a date. I at least would inform them that they would no longer be hearing from me, even if that is ALL I did. (I, for one, prefer not to give any lengthy explanations and follow ups because normally the person just wants to stick around, hoping for another opportunity with me. Let’s call a spade a spade said date: It’s not gonna happen.)
So, that brings me to the final question. Is ghosting a “sin”? The Hebraic definition of sin (“hhatah”) means to “miss the mark”. Like when you are “off” on your target. Maybe you meant well. Maybe you didn’t intend to do whatever it is that caused pain and hurt to another individual. However, it still did. And thus, in my humble opinion, repentance is needed. And by repentance I mean an apology. It doesn’t have to be something long and drawn out. It can simply be, “Hey. My bad I fell off in my communication with you. I had x,y, and z going on. That’s not normally how I roll..” etc, etc… And then the person ghosted has a little more understanding as to the change in your course of action. She no longer struggles with those age-old childhood traumas of rejection that stemmed from being bullied in middle school, or abandoned by a parent at birth (again, more hypotheticals here…not talking about myself AT ALL). Then she can sleep a little better at night because now she knows for sure for sure, that really it was you. And it wasn’t me—I mean her, that whole time.
But maybe the word “sin” sounds heavy and a little overbearing for some of you who feel that ghosting isn’t as deep as my argument above makes it seem. Well, that’s fine if you feel that way. You are surely entitled to your own opinion. But in response I say, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. And then I charge you to be completely honest with yourself.
Would you ghost you?
Here is a podcast I came across that gives some reasons as to why people ghost.
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