I put together a weekly column called “Boom, Ghosted.” People from all over send me stories about the times they were ghosted by people they really thought they could trust. Once a week, I choose one to feature in the column.
Every once in awhile, I get a submission that’s totally and completely nuts. But for the most part, a lot of people’s stories follow a similar pattern.
I feel like it’s my personal duty to share with you this pattern. So, if this is happening to you, consider yourself WARNED.
Here’s how it usually goes:
Girl meets boy. Girl likes boy. Boy REALLY likes girl.
They flirt via text for awhile. They go on a magical first date that lasts hours longer than expected. They feel a connection.
Things are moving fast. There are a few red flags, but the girl chooses to look past them because this is all just too good to be true. They’re still talking all of the time.
Then, something changes. Maybe he bails on a few hangouts. Maybe he acts a little distant when they hang out. Maybe he’s not texting quite as much as he used to.
OK, scratch that. That last one isn’t a maybe. That’s always a constant.
In every submission I get, the girl says she’s noticed a guy who used to text her non-stop has suddenly gone quiet. She starts to wonder what’s going on. She doesn’t want to be crazy, but she can’t help but notice the change.
Finally, she asks him what’s going on. It’s never really a long, dramatic text or anything because, after all, she doesn’t want to seem crazy. She just wants to ask, “Hey is everything OK? Haven’t heard much from you lately.”
And then, she gets the inevitable, “Hey, sorry I’ve just been super busy lately” text.
Maybe he’ll even go into detail about what it is that’s making him busy. Maybe he’ll be “apologetic” about how MIA he’s been, and then remind her how much he likes her.
But the same excuse is always there: He was busy.
“But the same excuse is always there: He was busy.”
They keep talking sporadically for a little bit longer and, without fail, she eventually notices an even more dramatic change than the one before: He just blatantly stops talking to her. He might even delete her off of all of his social media profiles. Whatever it is, he is completely over it.
She’s been ghosted.
After about the 40th story submission following this same exact narrative, I felt as though it was my duty to warn you guys.
First of all, this whole “I’m busy” thing seems to be an obvious cop out.
It’s happened to me, too. I’ve accepted “I’m busy” as an excuse because I liked the person so much, I really wanted to believe it was true.
I know what that feels like. I know what it’s like to desperately try to convince yourself that everything is fine and he really is just swamped. All the while, something deep down inside of you wonders what makes this time different from all the other times he was “busy.”
He was busy then, too, but he still managed to make some time for you. What changed?
On the other hand, I’ve also sent the “I’m busy” text. And I can tell you from experience that as much as I wanted to accept it as an excuse from boys I liked, I was never actually THAT busy.
On the off chance that I really was, I still had time to send a text here or there if I actually liked the person. If I wasn’t into the person anymore, pretending to be busy made my lack of communication easier to explain without getting too involved in the conversation.
“I still had time to send a text here or there if I actually liked the person.”
This whole thing goes beyond the “I’m busy” text. It’s more about that gut feeling you have at the very beginning — you know, the one you try to dismiss because you think you’re just being paranoid.
It’s the one your friends try to silence because you’re just “overthinking” things. And it’s the one that prompts you to send that text wondering what’s been going on.
That’s the feeling you need to trust.
Ghosting happens because people are too cowardly to admit they aren’t feeling it anymore (I can’t judge; I’ve been this person before).
“Ghosting happens because people are too cowardly to admit they aren’t feeling it anymore.”
These are the same people who would rather make excuses like “I’m busy” instead of just telling you they’re over it.
I mean, of course he really could be busy. But, nine times out of ten, I’m willing to bet he wasn’t so incredibly busy that he couldn’t shoot you a quick text.
At the end of the day, you know this guy. You know your relationship better than anyone else. You know how he acts when he’s into it. And now you’re seeing how he acts when he’s not.
Trust your gut.
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