The internet age has brought huge popularity to websites that allow anyone, regardless of whether they have any training or education in an area, to post their opinions in long, flowing essays, or cute lists with pictures and GIFs. And I love these sites for fun, everyday “29 Things You Miss About The 90s!” and “Which TV Teen Queen Are You?!” But these “articles” (and I use the term very loosely) that discuss the real psychological changes happening in our lives, or those that give advice, and are written by a 26-year-old girl sitting in her apartment looking at her communications degree, can be hugely misleading.
Over the last few years, the female millennial population has become obsessed with the idea of “these are my 20s and I have every right to be selfish.” While I agree with some of that sentiment, (your 20s should be filled with experiences you take for yourself, following your dreams and passions, doing as much as possible to figure out who you truly are in the world, all before the pressures of true adulthood come in) what I cannot fathom is how we seem to justify cutting people from our lives with no explanation to that other person.
Whatever your reasons: “we outgrew each other”; “she was a ‘toxic’ friend”; “there was betrayal” – there is no real reason why you get to just leave with no explanation.
We are so quick to put our own needs and emotional “well-being” first we often either forget or ignore that the person on the other end of this interaction is a living, breathing, feeling, and caring (despite how many times you refer to her as toxic) human who in many cases is looking for an answer.
Are there some people who genuinely are bad friends? Of course. (But even those people deserve that explanation.) However, chances are, that friend you have cut off and cut out is just as lost and confused and maybe immersed in that “selfishness” as you are and could learn from the mistakes that lead you to end that relationship. Do you have to forgive them or give them another chance? No, absolutely not; you’re right that you have the right to be selfish and end any relationship you see fit (I personally think many of us will live to regret our rash and emotional decisions of our selfish years..but that’s just me).
The irony of all this advice from women to women about how to deal with other women is: it is almost always wholly contradictory to those “articles” published on the same websites, written by the same demographic of 20 -something females, talking about how terrible the dating phenomenon of “ghosting” is.
Not familiar with the term ghosting? It is when someone you are romantically talking with (usually a guy but not always) just ups and disappears; they stop returning calls, texts, any social media…they actually ghost out and leave you with no explanation. Sounds pretty horrific, doesn’t it? Well, that’s been the majority sentiment on the issue: it is wrong to just disappear from someone’s life, who you are romantically linked to, regardless of how serious it was, without some kind of explanation.
So, if it’s wrong for your romantic partner to ghost out on you, how can we even try to say it’s an acceptable way to end a friendship? How can your 20s-selfishness be justification for ending and ghosting on a friendship with no reason, or explanation, or sometimes even a goodbye, but 20s-selfishness can never be a justification for a friend who doesn’t live up to our expectations, who wrongs or hurts us? How can we put more emotional importance on those we interact with romantically than we do our friendships? How can we really be so selfish that we stop seeing that the people on the other side of our interactions are people too, with just as many feelings to be hurt?
If you have been hurt by a romantic partner ghosting, but have done it to a former friend, maybe you should consider giving a little closure to that former friend. We all deserve piece of mind. It is ok to take care of yourself, and put yourself first, but is it really okay to do it at the cost of someone else’s emotions? And without any explanation?