Ghosters be­come friend­ship zom­bies

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE -

Dear Amy: A few years ago, friends of many years ghosted me, for no ap­par­ent rea­son. This was painful and con­fus­ing. I moved on, main­tain­ing friend­ships with oth­ers in what had been our com­mon so­cial group.

Now, as sud­denly as I was ex­iled years ago, my for­mer friends, “The Ghosters,” have be­gun in­clud­ing me once again in in­vi­ta­tions. I’m not sure how to re­spond, al­though I guess the stress I am feel­ing right now in­di­cates that I have a clear choice?

Dear Ghosted: The act of “ghost­ing” (cut­ting some­one off sud­denly and with­out ex­pla­na­tion) is in­tended to pro­tect the per­pe­tra­tor from con­se­quences. Some­times peo­ple ghost oth­ers be­cause it would not be safe for them to ac­tu­ally say “good­bye,” but mainly, ghost­ing is an act of so­cial cow­ardice. The per­son be­ing ghosted is sup­posed to catch on over time that the re­la­tion­ship is a non­starter, or over. Both par­ties are ex­pected to move on.

All of this is a re­la­tion­ship-end­ing re­al­ity. But in your case, the ghosters have come back from the dead and are now en­gaged in yet more be­hav­ior that you are sup­posed to both ig­nore and ac­cept.

They are friend­ship zom­bies. This in­vi­ta­tion has you feel­ing stressed and be­wil­dered. You don’t sound grate­ful to hear from them or ea­ger to word­lessly re-en­ter their lives. How­ever, un­like the pe­riod where you were be­ing ig­nored by them, you now have a lit­tle bit of power.

You can ghost them, by not ac­knowl­edg­ing any con­tact from them. You can po­litely refuse their in­vi­ta­tion: “Thank you for invit­ing me, but I have other plans.”

Or you can re­spond: “Hi, Ge­orge and Martha. Af­ter a very long pe­riod of no con­tact from ei­ther one of you, I’ve now re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion to spend time with you. This is con­fus­ing. Has some­thing changed?”

They might re­spond with a sen­si­tive ex­pla­na­tion of what trig­gered their ghost­ing. You will then have the op­por­tu­nity to ac­knowl­edge and (per­haps) for­give. Most likely, they will re­vert to their pre­vi­ous tech­nique of be­ing silent in or­der to avoid the awk­ward­ness of ex­plain­ing them­selves.

You should fig­ure out ex­actly what you re­ally want to do, and then do it.

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been to­gether for just over six bliss­ful months. We have talked about mar­riage, kids and a fu­ture to­gether. We are pretty young (both 22) and live in an ex­pen­sive town, so he lives with his mom and I live with room­mates.

He hasn’t told his mom that we are dat­ing. He even lied to her about a four-day va­ca­tion we went on, say­ing that he went with friends, so that he didn’t have to tell her that we are to­gether.

I have ex­pressed that it re­ally both­ers me that he won’t tell his mom. He re­fuses to tell her be­cause she is some­what toxic and ma­nip­u­la­tive.

Ev­ery time he goes out with me, he’s ly­ing to her about where he is.

I gave him an ul­ti­ma­tum that if he doesn’t tell his mom soon, the re­la­tion­ship prob­a­bly wouldn’t work out. He broke up with me, and I am heartbroke­n. Do you think we could work this through? Am I wrong to want him to tell his mom?

Dear Sad: You are not at all wrong to want hon­esty and full dis­clo­sure.

But ... you don’t know this man’s mother. You are still be­com­ing ac­quainted with the wider world, but yes, there are peo­ple out there who can­not be trusted to han­dle the truth. If your guy’s mother is toxic, ma­nip­u­la­tive and con­trol­ling, he is nat­u­rally go­ing to want to op­er­ate well be­low her radar.

His ea­ger­ness to live his own life on his own terms should ac­cel­er­ate his ef­forts to move out. You be­haved ac­cord­ing to your own val­ues, and, re­gard­less of whether you two can rec­on­cile, it is never wrong to as­sert your own needs.

Dear Amy: Thank you for the ad­vice to “Stressed Server” to not read on­line reviews un­less di­rected to do so by the man­ager. While neg­a­tive reviews can be very use­ful, they can also be petty and un­kind. It is the man­ager’s job to wade through them and choose the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse.

Dear Man­ager: A wise ed­i­tor once told me, “Don’t read the com­ments. That’s my job.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.