Ex­or­cis­ing the ghosts of being ghosted

BLOCK­ING ON­LINE CON­TACT with A CLOSE FRIEND OR FAM­ILY MEM­BER Is NOT so UN­COM­MON these DAYS — AND It CAN LEAD to DEEP EMO­TIONAL SCARS. Jan­ice Ro­drigues Gets to the Bot­tom Of this DIS­TRESS­ING SO­CIAL ME­DIA TREND

WKND - - Virtual Woes - BY JAN­ICE RO­DRIGUES

When So­hini Chat­topad­hyay, an in­de­pen­dent re­porter and writer, was liv­ing in London a few years ago, she went through a stress­ful phase she rec­ol­lects to this day. While vis­it­ing Ed­in­burgh with a close friend, she got a call from her mother in­form­ing her that her fa­ther had slipped into a coma al­most overnight. Her lug­gage was in London, it was a bank hol­i­day week­end, and chang­ing her ticket was im­pos­si­ble just then. At that point, she couldn’t help but feel that her close friend, who she con­sid­ered a men­tor in many ways — and who was wit­ness to her then state of dis­tress — started act­ing dis­tant.

When she did fi­nally get back to Kolkata, In­dia, she tried reach­ing out to her friend on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, but only got short mes­sages or emails in re­turn. “Af­ter a while, she stopped re­spond­ing to emails and Face­book mes­sages com­pletely,” says So­hini. “Pre­vi­ously, she would re­ply within the day. I cot­toned on in about a month or so.”

This was So­hini’s first en­counter with ghost­ing, a so­cial me­dia phe­nom­e­non that in­volves a close friend or ac­quain­tance cut­ting all on­line ties with a per­son with no ex­pla­na­tion what­so­ever. To this day, she has no clue why she was ‘ un­friended’. And it has not been her last case of being ghosted ei­ther — but we’ll get to that later.

As the world gets in­creas­ingly con­nected dig­i­tally, and more re­la­tion­ships hinge on the In­ter­net, the act of ghost­ing is now com­mon­place. Chances are a per­son who was pre­vi­ously in your on­line friends circle has mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­peared over the years.

Or per­haps you’re the one who has pulled the dis­ap­pear­ing act.

It’s no se­cret that the UAE is one of the most tech- ob­sessed coun­tries in the world, with one of the high­est smart­phone pen­e­tra­tions rates. That, cou­pled with the fact that a ma­jor­ity of the coun­try’s res­i­dents are ex­pats, means that a lot of peo­ple main­tain on­line re­la­tion­ships — be it with fam­ily mem­bers in their home coun­tries or child­hood friends. Nat­u­rally, this also in­creases the chances of ghost­ing some­one or being ghosted your­self. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Dr Afridi, ghost­ing is less de­pen­dent on the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of elec­tron­ics, as it is on cul­ture. Ac­cord­ing to her, those be­long­ing to Mid­dle Eastern or Eastern coun­tries tend to avoid los­ing face, and can be more averse to con­flict. This in turn leads to them block­ing dif­fi­cult mes­sages to avoid any kind of con­fronta­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.