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Dialing Down A Friendship Is Ghosting?

Discussion in 'Friends & Neighbours' started by Rihana, Dec 17, 2019.

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  1. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    When others responded with "I can take a flight and come now", "OMG so sorry to hear that.. How can I help?", "Let me know any time of the day or night if you need to talk or any help", she said:
    " ... It happened to xyz, they did this. Hope .. better soon. Take care. Keep me posted."

    I was speechless at that response from someone who could complete my sentences, an 18 year friendship that we laughingly compared to a marriage, and countless monthly/2x a month lunches. For some reason, the "Keep me posted", and the absence of a "what can I do to help?" cut me to the quick. After an hour (the longest of my life), I responded back by quoting the message (I never quote the message that is just above) and said "Will do."

    Of course that was hint enough, and I got the requisite, "Do you need help, shall I come now, <husband name> can come. Don't worry..."

    I am done with maintaining the friendship at that intensity. That small interaction caused a friendshift. I looked for ways to dial down the friendship, and started that process - cut down on the frequency of texting, did not tell about stuff I'd have otherwise shared with her, less proactive about setting up lunch meetings.

    The alternatives were:
    - discuss it with her frankly,
    - let her know I was hurt,
    - give her the benefit of doubt like maybe she was not available that day for some reason
    - maybe she thought we are so close she need not say in words, "how can I help"
    - let it slide, why ruin a ~20 year friendship for one thing
    - tell her I care for her/us but need some time-out or need to devote more time to other things, so might not meet/chat as often.

    I ruled out all these alternatives without much doubt. I see no benefit to her or to me if I discuss it with her.

    Question: Letting a friendship fade out from a deep, close one to a much lighter one without sharing the reason - is this equivalent to ghosting? A slow ghosting?
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    I asked DH.
    Me: Do you think going easy on contact with "friend" is ghosting.
    DH: Hmmm
    Me: Do you know what is ghosting?
    DH: Something like ghost-writer?
    Me: : ) : ) No. It is not giving a reason to end a relationship.
    DH: All relationships have a life cycle. You are close, then drift apart, maybe get back closer or lose touch. It is fine.
    Me: But is fading out without giving a reason like ghosting?
    DH: It is fine.

    : ) as you can see that was not conclusive. I need to know if dialing down a friendship is akin to ghosting. Now that I am over the rawness of the whole thing, but sure about fading it out, posting the question to read a wider opinion about it.
     
  3. MalStrom

    MalStrom Platinum IL'ite

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    Ghosting is when you just fall off the face of the earth and cease contact. In the absence of physical abuse or imminent danger from the other person I’ve considered it a somewhat immature way of dealing with things. However the younger people of my acquaintance have informed me that it’s perfectly normal these days and dinosaurs like me should get with the program.
    In your case you have a deep history with this person. The tides of friendships ebb and flow, and you both were not in sync this time. You expected a certain response, she may not have realized the gravity of the situation until you replied back.
    If this is the kind of person you can have a rational discussion with then I wouldn’t write her off. Give her the benefit of doubt. Make one attempt to clear the air. The result will tell you how you want to proceed.
     
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  4. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    Wow... this is like a chinese-guru (from the TV show Kung-Fu).
    • Some folks try to work themselves out of close friendships when they are suffering a personal misfortune, and they feel anxious, annoyed, worried, sad that it had happened (or about to happen) to them, and they are afraid that they might spill it to a long time confidante. And thus seem to impose upon them to do one of: "I can take a flight and come now", "OMG so sorry to hear that.. How can I help?", "Let me know any time of the day or night if you need to talk or any help".
    • Some older folks want to reduce contacts with others (sort of like becoming a sanyasin) so that when they had to leave (involuntarily) there'd be fewer of their good friends who'd suffer the loss.
    Give the benefit of good intentions on the part of someone who could complete your sentences. She might give you that, because she can complete your sentences.

    Ghosting (as it is being used on the internet) is the sudden loss of contact. Not a slow walk-away, and then haunt you like a ghost.
     
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  5. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    I wish it was possible that she may not have realized the gravity. But no. I can only give a totally unrelated example: a "my kid hasn't reached home, late by 3 hours, not at any friend's place, not hanging out with any friends I know of, front office says not at school, cell phone is off" from one parent to a friend.. the friend might not realize the gravity of the situation and offer possible reasons for kid's lateness and say keep-me-posted. A "my kid was seen getting into a white car, hasn't reached home, late by 3 hrs, cell ph off, have called the police.. his friends already searching around school" would make any friend realize that I am in a "my heart is in my mouth" panic state.

    Thought of that option for quite a while. Any outcome from that won't help either of us. How to proceed is decided. Whether this a slow ghosting is what kind of bothers me now.
     
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  6. Rihana

    Rihana Finest Post Winner

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    Hmm... possible. So, they are not available to help a close friend due to their own feelings of fear, anxiety, worry that it might happen (or happened) to them, and that they might spill their anxiety, worry etc. to the friend who needs help. Sounds possible. But, in my book, that is inexcusable.

    That seems like the right thing to do, but my heart is not in it. She had ample opportunity and moments to herself bring up the topic.

    : ) I am imagining a slow walk backward by a lanky teenager dressed up as a ghost in just a white sheet.
     
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  7. SinghManisha

    SinghManisha Platinum IL'ite

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    Slow ghosting is probably the most organic way of distancing yourself from this friendship. There is already a dent in the relationship, I doubt you can go back to what it was before. So get rid of the guilt and move on.

    Hope the issue that led to all this has been resolved. Take care.
     
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  8. Amulet

    Amulet IL Hall of Fame

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    Your mention of "like being married" brings up "silent treatments" in a marriage when one partner is peeved about something, and folds up without stating the reasons. Can friends who had behaved as if they were long-married, also give silent treatments ?
    Ghosting has to be sudden... .and not a slow walk backwards..
    ghost·ing
    /ˈɡōstiNG/
    noun
    1. the appearance of a ghost or secondary image on a television or other display screen.
    2. the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication
    White hoodie jacket would be the right wardrobe choice.

    SinghManisha's "Take Care" reminded me of a friend who is NOT particularly good at long distance hugs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  9. Brevity

    Brevity Gold IL'ite

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    One thing life has taught me is to give people the benefit of the doubt. Whenever I presumed things about people, I regretted, more often than not, when I learnt the truth.

    Your friend did not harm you directly, she was a little slow in offering help. May be she thought someone else's experience would be useful for you. May be she thought that you had the liberty to ask for help and not wait for it to be offered. Or she didn't probably think that her presence would be of help. She panicked or she might have had a bigger worry crossing in her mind. The truth is she offered help within the hour. If you feel like cooling down on the friendship that is fine too. But I feel cutting her out is too much for her "crime".
     
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  10. ragzz

    ragzz Silver IL'ite

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    THIS! DH nailed it!!!

    and THIS
    I think you should get rid of the guilt and confusion. This ain't exactly ghosting but yes dialing it down. Proceed as you are doing.
     
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