I have always been deathly afraid of ghosts. I don’t know why. As a child, the easiest way to terrify or creep me out was to suggest that a ghost was lurking around. I would literally become your slave in exchange for protection. One of my sisters really took advantage of this fear that I had. She would just simply say “Ojuju will catch you” and I’d become paralyzed or freeze in whatever position I was in, then she would get me to do whatever she wanted or stay away from a part of the house she didn’t want me going. I don’t remember how we came up with the word “Ojuju” and why I understood it to mean “a ghost”, but it worked for a long time.
This background perception and fear of ghosts was probably what kicked in the first time I came across the word “ghosting”. Someone had mentioned it in a conversation and the first thing I imagined was it involving some form of witchcraft or diabolism. Perhaps one partner would use the other for rituals or steal their destiny. Yes. I know. I blame it on too much ‘Nollywood’ growing up. Oh yes, and my mother too. She has such morbid stories.
Fortunately, I later found out from the Urban Dictionary that “ghosting” simply was “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date…done in hopes that the ghostee will just ‘get the hint’ and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.” It sounds childish, doesn’t it? But we have all been there: You go on a date, everything is great. He calls you three times a day, sends you voice notes and text messages that get you grinning from ear to ear, sings you to sleep every night…you even share deep secrets and talk about the kind of future you envisage, the number of children you want e.t.c. But out of the blues, maybe after a few weeks or even months of being together, he disappears. No phone call. No E-mail. No DM. Not even a text! And not only that, he stops picking your call and all your efforts to reach him are ignored and treated with silence.
It hurts. Really hurts.
I mean, you probably may not have even been particularly attached or invested in the moron, but for him/her to vanish without an explanation? It stings.
Nothing makes you question your self-worth like a love interest that disappears, without any explanation at all.
You are trapped in a cesspool of confusion : What if they were involved in an accident and their corpse is lying somewhere on Ibadan Expressway? What if they lost their phone and cannot retrieve old contacts? Should you be worried? Should you be upset? Should you keep trying to reach them or just respect yourself and move on?
You go crazy with irrational anxiety and constant checking of their Whatsapp’s Last Seen…because you want to know what is going on! And when you eventually realize that you have been left in the lurch and ghosted – maybe you finally notice their activity on social media, or a friend of a friend lets you know that they (love interest) are over you- you start to question the genuineness of the relationship you had, why you didn’t see it coming. You question yourself, your self-worth as well, because you have been deprived of the closure you get from expressing your emotions and being heard, which is important for maintaining your self-esteem.
The funny thing is that people who ghost others (ghosters) actually believe that they are doing the ‘ghostee’ a favour. They are cutting out the awkwardness of the conversation they would have to have with them to end the relationship, and saving them from the hurt of being rejected.
In reality, though, they are doing more emotional and psychological damage. Of course, texting someone something like: ‘Hey, I am over you. I don’t want to do this anymore. Don’t contact me anymore, and good luck with the rest of your life” would suck, but at least they would know to move on.
Ghosting is a reflection of a person’s level of maturity. People who are immature, self-centered and dramatic usually are the ones with the knack for ghosting. They are just interested in what they want and what works for them, no matter who gets hurt. Also, cowards who cannot express the way they feel with words. But can we really blame them? If they meet someone with the hope of getting something beautiful, but end up with a toxic fellow who is clingy, bossy or just suffocating, should they be blamed for just disappearing and not handling the situation properly?
At the end of the day, the whole ghosting thing sucks. You have to remember that the act says nothing about you or your worthiness for love and instead tells everything about the ghoster. They do not have the maturity to be in a healthy relationship with you, so all that’s left for you to do is let them go peacefully and maintain your dignity.
Dwelling on the whys and how will only rob you of a better future because you will develop trust issues and shut yourself off from another relationship.
On the other hand, those who have the knack for ghosting should realize that they are horrible people. By refusing someone that little respect that comes with giving them closure, even if the interaction with them had been short or fleeting, you’re robbing them of so much self-esteem and self-worth. Be better.
Have you ghosted anyone or been ghosted before? Share your experience and thoughts.