An Open Letter To Everyone I Have Ever Ghosted

Angela Deane, Meet Cute

Angela Deane, “Meet Cute”

I don’t believe that I owe anyone any explanation for my absence from their life or my exit from their bad behavior and foolishness, but I sometimes wonder how I might feel if someone was in my life one day, and then had all but disappeared the next. Probably a little hurt and somewhat confused. “What could I have done?” I might ask myself on occasion while hoping that it wasn’t anything too awful.

If any of you people ever stumble across this missive, you may find your misdeeds recorded here. Oh, I’ll tell you what you did. If you’re reading this, and don’t like your reflection in what I have written, remember the following (and thank you for reminding me, Angeliska)

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

You were my high school boyfriend. I was wild about you. You dumped me after you graduated, right before my senior year. I still mooned over you for years and took whatever little scraps you threw my way. I grew up, I moved away, I got over you. I moved back as an adult and here you are. Still here. Still an eternal teenager. Your Facebook feed is all big trucks, guns, and half-naked women. Were you like this the whole time? I think you were. You posted about your disgust regarding “government handouts.” You want to know why I won’t talk to you, why I ignore your messages. Gross. Look at yourself. Would you talk to you if you were me? Did you ever even know me, know anything about the person I was? You certainly don’t know who I am now, thirty years later. And honestly, the person I am now has no use for a 45-year-old perpetual man child with no kindness or compassion in his heart. Fuck off.

You were the girlfriend of my high school boyfriend’s best friend. Our boyfriends were the only thing we had in common, I think, but we clung to each other after we both got dumped. We had some nice times in our early twenties, weekly visits where we’d cook together and watch Melrose place, while your baby played in the room with us. I moved away and came back. You’re still here. You’ve got another kid by another husband, and maybe some drama, but who doesn’t really? I think you love your children and that’s beautiful. What’s not so beautiful is your ugly politics. We never talked about this type of thing and so maybe you were this way all along, but when you posted that Ted Nugent meme (it was either racist or something to do with guns or survivors of a shooting…it’s hard to tell with him, I think he’s always saying something terrible and offensive) I knew then that this was not a friendship I wished to revive. I blocked you on social media. I pass you in the grocery store sometimes. I ignore you.

You were my best friend in middle school. Ours was a fraught friendship, though probably not from your end. I was just always afraid that we were doing something that would get us into trouble, but that seemed to be your nature and your modus operandi. We grew apart in high school, you had a couple of kids very young, and we lost touch. A few years ago I looked you up. I don’t know why I haven’t yet learned my lesson about this. “The past is another place, and I’m not headed that way” kind of lessons. “Let what is dead stay dead.” Oh, Sarah. Will you ever learn? I found you on Facebook and we chatted a bit. Made a coffee date. On Facebook, you shared your thoughts about why we need to build a wall. NOPE. I am not having it. And say what you want about the evils of Facebook, but man, people sure show you their true colors over there. We live in the same town but I have somehow never run into you. If that day occurs, I will ignore you, too.

You…I can’t talk about you. You genuinely upset me last year in the most triggery, traumatic way, and I still have a hard time with that. I know I eventually have to get over it and interact with you, because of reasons, and there is no way you could have known what you did when you were doing it, but until then I just have to pretend you don’t exist. When we finally do see each other again, I am hoping that I can act as if nothing ever happened, and I hope that I actually feel that way too.

You. Are so fucking gross and opportunistic and I am sorry that I was every aligned or associated with you in any way. You actually did the worst thing that anyone could ever do to me. And I say that as someone who was in a toxic, abusive relationship for years.* You embarrassed me. You embarrassed me in front of several smart, talented friends who may have only worked with you because of our association. You embarrassed me in front of a lovely, long-time friend with your pushy, gross demands. When she messaged me privately to ask “what’s this guy’s deal??” I was mortified. Maybe one of the only reasons she was even entertaining your transaction was because I vouched for you in some way.  Also, I was told that you said some pretty nasty things about me behind my back afterward. That was a weird and novel experience because as far as I know, that’s not ever happened to me before (but how would I know, I guess?) Anyway, fuck that and fuck you.

I’m never going to apologize for cutting people out of my life. I am ruthless about it. It might take a lot to get me to that point; I am patient and I am very forgiving. But I’m at a point now where I know very well who I am and what I’m all about, and so listen well when I tell you: I am not about your shitty politics, and whatever else you do to me, don’t fucking embarrass me.

Other than that, we’re good. You can stay.

* this person is not on this list. I have written about them everything that I ever want to write.

9 Comments on An Open Letter To Everyone I Have Ever Ghosted

  1. Jezebel
    January 21, 2020 at 10:23 am (1 month ago)

    I laughed, cried and relived some of my own stories of why I ghosted (and continue to ghost) people. This all sounds fair…my list is longer and more petty, I think.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      January 21, 2020 at 10:27 am (1 month ago)

      The pettier the bettier! Which is not a word but who cares! Listen, I LIVE for the petty stories, so I am here for it :)

      Reply
  2. Theodora
    January 21, 2020 at 10:33 am (1 month ago)

    You should be proud of yourself for writing this. I made the tough decision to cut someone out of my life last year and even though it was hard (I take no pleasure in friend breakups) – I don’t regret it. I realised I was constantly giving them second chances because we had known each other for years and letting them get away with selfish rude behaviour. Since they have been out my life it has been so much better!

    You do what you have to do and don’t feel the need to apologise or justify yourself to anyone x

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      January 21, 2020 at 10:36 am (1 month ago)

      Hear, hear! Life is too short for friends who behave this way.

      Reply
  3. Stephanie
    January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm (1 month ago)

    There are A LOT of people I want to and need to ghost. This could also go under the headline of the never written post: “People Don’t Like Me As Much As I Think They Do” which has become more blatantly apparent in recent years. I really can’t DO much for people, especially in the way people expect people to DO for them here in Los Angeles (as much as I love it here, more than FL foreverEVER, it’s a *thing*) therefore, there are people nice to me due to my proximity of a certain successful and talented someone in my life. I feel I am At An Age, and That Age is screaming at me to just Fuck Off. It’s telling me “you don’t need this shit, that shit is not worth your time, and what you’re feeling is valid, so act on it. Get away from their shit.” The “Age” is a real, I feel it more now than any other monumental year that assigns a passing of time and existence in This Mortal Coil than any other. I am embracing it more as a compulsion than with any intention. (This comment can also be copied and pasted to the “2020 Motivations & Ambitions Post”) Unfortunately, ghosting (At My Age) will leave me quite friendless for the most part. One this is for sure, the older you get, the harder it is to make new friends without coming across desperate and creepy.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      January 21, 2020 at 2:23 pm (1 month ago)

      When that voice is screaming at you “you don’t need this shit, that shit is not worth your time!” man you just gotta heed that voice!

      Reply
  4. B
    February 3, 2020 at 5:44 pm (2 weeks ago)

    This deeply resonated with me, because I’ve done this too. Thank you for sharing! it reminded me of those I’ve ghosted and downgraded, and how far I’ve come to letting go of my anger.

    Reply
  5. sara
    February 12, 2020 at 1:50 am (1 week ago)

    this is some childish behavior. you should consider taking this down.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      February 12, 2020 at 9:03 am (1 week ago)

      As a child, I was so desperate for companionship that I would have tolerated bad behavior, cruddy attitudes, and ignorant philosophies from those with whom I was eager for friendship. As an adult, I value myself much more, I have no obligation to hold space in my heart for that nonsense, and I don’t believe I owe shitty people an explanation for why I no longer wish for their miserable presence in my life. I think recognizing those boundaries for the sake of my personal growth and mental health is letting go of the childish beliefs that anyone–even a bad anyone–is better than nothing. For me, this feels quite the opposite of childish behavior.

      You don’t have to believe that, but you do what you feel is best for you. And I shall continue to take care of me.

      Reply

Leave a Reply