How to Know If Your Friend Is Ghosting You — And 3 Things You Can Do About It

Ghosting happens in friendships, too. Experts share their advice on how to handle it.

While the term is more often associated with romantic partners or dates, ghosting is a real thing when it comes to friendship, and sadly, it happens just as much in platonic friendships as it does in romantic relationships.

A situation in which one party is completely eliminated by the other, with no explanation, there really are no gray areas when it comes to ghosting . Unlike being faded out by a friend, female friendship coach and educator Danielle Jackson says “being ghosted usually leaves no room for nuance. Because, ultimately, ghosting is simply a total end to communication, with no explanation offered.”

And, understandably, it hurts. If you’ve ever been ghosted by a friend, and, let’s face it – no one is immune to this sort of treatment – it can be devastating to be on the receiving end. Painful? Yes. Frustrating? Absolutely? Survivable? Of course.

Here are tips on how to know if your friend is ghosting you and what you can do about it.

Related: What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do if You Want to Reconnect After Ghosting Someone

Reach out to your friend

Woman Phone Sad

The first step is to consider whether you’ve definitely been ghosted, or whether your friend may have just been out of touch. Are they going through a tough period at work? Or grieving the death of a loved one?

Try contacting your friend to let them know that you’re thinking about them, that you miss them, and are there for them when they want to re-connect, Jackson suggests. Sadly, if you are being ghosted, it’s likely you won’t hear back. And while that might be a bitter pill to swallow, friendships don’t always last forever – however much we may want them to.

Jessica Alderdson, co-founder and relationship expert at So Syncd adds that “being ghosted by a friend can be even harder to get over because you probably invested more in the relationship than in people you casually dated.”

She too suggests reaching out to the friend in question – if it’s a friendship you still want to repair.

“Explain that you deeply value your friendship and you would like to talk things through. If they are willing to open up the conversation, that’s a good sign,” says Alderson. “There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to fix the friendship, but it’s possible.”

Don’t take it personally

While it can be hard to not take it personally, Jackson says it’s important to remember that “you’re not the center of your friend’s story. It might be that you did something to turn them off you as a person, or it might be because they were vulnerable with you, they now have a vulnerability hangover and they feel they exposed themselves too much.”

It may be another reason entirely — and the crux of the matter is that you may never know. And while losing a friend is hard, it’s crucial that you take the time to look after yourself and nurture your mental well-being, just like you would in the wake of a break-up.

Surround yourself with friends and family that love and appreciate you, and don’t let the loss of one friendship affect your self-esteem, however hard it seems.

Alderson also says that you shouldn’t take it personally, and explains that, “this is easier said than done, but remember that they are making this decision based on their own lives and issues. In some cases, your friend might be going through something personal that has nothing to do with you.”

While this doesn’t make the behavior of your friend right, it can help take out the sting of being ghosted.

Move on

Women Friends Laughing

“Try to find a way to find closure without their involvement,” suggests Jackson. Because, after all, if your friend is going to put you in a position where you question both yourself and a friendship you care about, chances are it might have come to a natural end anyway.

If you’ve done your best to reach out to them, “it’s not your responsibility to try to play detective” says Jackson. Instead of festering on the end of the friendship and searching for answers you may never get, look to the future, and work on honing and deepening the other friendships that you’re already lucky enough to have.

Lucy Pearson
Lucy Pearson is a freelance writer, book blogger and host of The Bondi Literary Salon based in Bondi. Read more
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