Ghosting at its Worst

All names mentioned in this article have been changed for privacy purposes.

 

You know what’s worse than being ghosted by that guy you’ve seen for the past few weeks? Being ghosted by your best friend.

I’ve always had a hard time making friends, never really finding my group in high school. Then experiencing crippling depression for the following six years made it nearly impossible to socialize. Over the past few years, I have worked to be more open to friendships to help create a support system for myself as well as act as a support system for others. So when my depression wasn’t disabling, I got a full-time job where I met Jenny.

We were not friends right away. Both of us being introverts, it took some time before we even began to talk, let alone exchange numbers, or hang out outside of work. But after about a year, we were friends, and it felt great to have someone that wanted to be around me, especially after the years of isolation. Over four years, our friendship blossomed, and I became very close to her; she knew more about me than anyone else.

If we weren’t texting, we were on Snapchat or together. It had become an easy friendship, we could just text the other to grab a bite to eat or spend hours walking around Target, shopping on any given weeknight. A third girl, Maggie, made us a trio when she started at our job, and it further fused our friendship. It was always low key, but the best time whenever we were hanging out.

I was there for her as a friendship was ending with another girl. It was something she spent a lot of time fretting over because she was the last person to stick around as her friend was in a toxic and abusive relationship. When the abuse began to spill over, and Jenny began to be verbally abused by her friend’s partner, she established a boundary. It led to the slow ending of their friendship. It made me sad that my friend was losing something that made her happy and that she had to choose between taking care of herself and her friendship. Understandably, every friendship has its season and inevitably changes, with some lasting longer than others. Then I was there for her as she graduated and stressed over finding a job and which job to take. So I was there for Jenny, and she was there for me. As my financial and social anxiety built with my decision to go back to school full-time, and then with transferring from community college to university. We were there for each other.

Our friendship was by no means perfect, we had a few conflicts, but they weren’t friendship ending. There were things as I got to know Jenny that caused tension, but I also recognized that no one is perfect. Even with significant life changes and differences in personality, nothing had really changed with our friendship. It felt like our friendship was one I could take with me past university and with other life changes.

Then one day she just stopped talking to me. Out of the blue. No reason was given. Jenny just stopped responding to my texts. I cried, talking to Maggie because I tried to understand, but she hadn’t even talked to her to know why. My heart was absolutely shattered. It hurt more than any other relationship ending I had ever experienced.

Usually, friendships slowly end with talking and seeing each other less and less, but this abrupt ending to such a close friendship was awful. It really didn’t help that it was right around finals when I needed my friend and her support the most through my anxiety. Then summer came, and as I began to try and process and heal I had a sudden death in the family, and didn’t have my best friend to turn to anymore. Depression crept up on me with a vengeance having been absent for four years, and I’m only just recovering and processing everything.

Coming out on the other side of it all has been a little bittersweet. The whole experience has made me closer to my other friends when I’ve shared what I’ve been going through. Surprisingly, a friend from highschool contacted me over the summer to apologize to me. Things hadn’t ended well between us, although I couldn’t for the life of me remember what happened, all I could remember was feeling hurt by what happened. Memory loss is a symptom of my depression, but how she made me feel always lingered when I had thought about her.

Then I heard a quote that came at the right moment to help me through things. It’s from one of my favorite women, Maya Angelou, and the sum of it is that memories of what happens fade but the way you make people feel will always remain like a ghost. All of this just reminded me that how I treat people is important and leaves a mark. Another quote I love and remind myself of regularly is from Harry Styles and that is to “Treat people with kindness.”