I have ghosted. I’ve been ghosted. Increasingly, I’m seeing posts on social media about ghosting. Many of them end up with long chains of argument in the comments. I think that’s because “ghosting” can mean different things and be for different reasons. One person was upset about having been ghosted because they didn’t know what they did to warrant that. Another person said, “If you’ve been ghosted, you know what you did. You just won’t own it.” I think there are three types of ghosting and that adds to the confusion.
What I think of as ghosting is when a person stops talking to you with no warning. You have no idea what you did, or if it was even you who was the cause. You’re left longing for a resolution with none likely to come. The memory of this person haunts you. I think the usual cause of this is that the other person just wasn’t feeling it anymore and, rather than tell you so, they just disappear. It’s not necessarily that anyone did anything. It’s just that the vibes weren’t right.
INFJs know this well. When someone has been repeatedly toxic, disruptive, or draining and you need to remove them from your life, the door slam is what usually happens. It’s called the door slam because it’s usually sudden, or at least perceived to be that way. I have door-slammed people before. If you read my last post, you know a bit about my situation with my mother. I door-slammed her, but I sent her a ten-page letter to explain why and to point out all of the times I begged her to change. Even so, she feels like it came without warning. This can seem like ghosting to the other person.
Perhaps there’s a term out there for this, but I don’t know what else to call it. Fading is when a person slowly lessens the communication until they aren’t speaking to you. Sometimes, they fade back in again after a while. Sometimes, they don’t, but if you reach out to them, they’ll start talking again and then the fading starts over. I’ve seen this happen a lot with a variety of people, myself included. I’ve never known it to be their intention to ghost. In most cases, it’s a lack of spoons, but it could also be a feeling they have that they’re bothering you by continuing to communicate. I’m guilty of fading, more than anything else, for both of those reasons.
Generally, I’d say it’s okay to keep reaching out to those who fade, but not to those who ghost or door slam. The problem is that when we’re the one being ghosted, we often can’t tell which of these it is. It’s in our nature to want closure. It’s also in our nature to hope, even irrationally.
If you’ve been ghosted and you reach out and they are angry that you contacted them, you were probably door-slammed. Let them go. They will reach out to you if and when they feel like they can. You may not know why. There were likely signs along the way. They probably expressed something that they wanted changed in the relationship.
If you reach out and they start talking to you again, you were probably faded. It isn’t always the case, though. Sometimes, people who ghosted you will talk to you again for whatever reason.
If you reach out and you get zero response, you were probably ghosted. Although, this can sometimes happen with faders if they’re still low on spoons.
Eventually, you just get to a point where you’re done being the only one to reach out. You want to move on, but it still eats at you that you don’t know why they left. If you’re like me, you’re left wondering if you were too much, or not enough. I’ve been told both before.
Like I said before, they may not know why either. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and podcast listening to better myself. One of the things I’ve learned is that some things just aren’t meant for us. Ultimately, that is the reason they ghosted, whether or not they’re aware of it. Sometimes, people are only meant to be in our lives for a little while. They intersect our lives to help us grow, but they aren’t meant to go with us on our journey.
It has taken me quite a while to realize that someone leaving me has nothing to do with me being too much or not enough and everything to do with it being our time to part ways.