We’ve all had this happen to us and most likely—let’s be honest–done it ourselves. With a constant, incessant stream of people available to us—the human brain can’t respond with as much dignity and attention as it would in a real-world interaction. Dating used to be a nerve-racking affair where we invested and built up the courage to finally talk to someone, just to see if they were ‘interested’ or ‘looking’ let alone in specifically us. Internet and app dating takes the guesswork out and streamlines your success. But has it really streamlined anything? Or does it just create superfluous options? In other words: we have to go through 20 dates to find a good one, in the same amount of time we’d have gone through 6 but with the same outcome.
Regardless of the pros and cons of modern dating—it’s something we’ve all grappled with. And along with the process comes the event of ghosting. Ghosting is when someone simply stops communicating with you, instead of actually communicating the truth, which is often extremely painful, complicated or ‘uncool’. Sometimes you exchange a couple texts and prepare to meet then—bam! Ghosted without reason. We move on. But other times, we meet and go on three or four dates—enough to develop a healthy attachment—and everything seems fine then randomly they disappear. It’s so famously painful because it leads us to assume the worst. And then it’s you and your mind.
Ghosting leaves us to face our worst critic: ourselves.
Psychology says that when someone is silent we assume they’re angry with us. Naturally, we wonder why and can quickly draw negative conclusions. Our insecurities, our childhood, our past wounds. Everything can paint a perfect illusion and we suddenly perceive that something must be wrong with us, or worse: that we don’t even matter. I used to think having an unlovable flaw was the worst most shameful thing imaginable. But now I know what’s worse: your flaws not even mattering…you not even mattering. The silence doesn’t just daunt you then—you become one with the silence, a moot point without a voice.
Out inner critic is always there to tell us this, regardless of the circumstance, ghosting or not. When creating art, when applying for jobs, when growing and moving and embarking on new adventures, there’s always the voice that says: so what? Who cares? Why do you and your voice even matter? Can you really make a difference? It is the voice that reminds us of our past failures, of our flaws and mistakes.
This is the voice you need to study and defeat. And it’s the true phantom behind the pain of being ghosted. The silence leaves us assuming the worst. The facts are: everyone has an unseen story at their end which we know nothing about. And that’s why you were ghosted. But our inner critic isn’t concerned with ‘facts’. It’s looking to be affirmed for its underlying mantra: that you should stop and give up.
Our brains are wired from an evolutionary standpoint to latch onto anything negative. But those thinking patterns no longer serve our survival.
It’s time to change the voices in our heads. This way, we attract positive people, with positive communication habits so the next time things don’t work out….
We can just say it.
I will say this: all the people who’ve ghosted me have, in some form or another, come back for me. Either to apologize, either to look back on what they missed out on, or because they’ve finally realized the impact (perhaps in the interim they had it happen to them). Whenever I did see them again, I can say that I felt nothing, only numb.