I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost
And just like that, Halloween is done for another year. Whilst we can say that some spooks have been laid to rest, some ghouls continue to plague us all year round. In a world where people and conversations can be cut off quicker than Van Gogh’s ear with very little by way of reprisal, it has become very easy to ignore someone and play dead. You could even have a great date or two, have made tentative plans for another, only for that person to disappear off of the face of the earth for a few days/weeks and then resurface again with a ‘hey stranger’ text. I’ve heard a string of these stories this week, culminating in a client telling me today about a guy who, yet again, has been honing his disappearing skills into a fine art form at her expense. In her words he is charming, funny and handsome…and somehow never available over a weekend. They make tentative plans to meet with lots of chatting in the week, and yet her texts on Friday afternoon/evenings remain unread. On Saturday (the day of the supposed date), there is no response…until Monday or Tuesday, when he responds and pretends like nothing had happened. When she doesn’t reply, she receives a further text with a few dots or her name together with a question mark. Hello?
She feels like he really wants her to respond. It is at this point that she begins to get sucked down the rabbit hole of maybe he really was busy this weekend (and every other weekend) and overthinking about what in the world could have kept him from responding to her texts and why he is texting now and pursuing again. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that writing a blog post on this is harsh, until you learn that this is not the first, not the second but the fourth time of this exact chain of events unfolding. So, let’s break down what she is playing at and more importantly, what kind of ghoul is he?
Let me say now, I hate these scenarios. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. Have you ever experienced the old, “Yeah, let’s do something on Saturday”…Saturday rolls around and you spend the whole day on edge because you don’t know if you’re actually seeing this person? You kinda don’t make plans, you definitely wash your hair, you sort of have an outfit in mind…and nothing. Crickets. Sunday and Monday might pass without a flicker of life and all of a sudden, they reappear. Back when I was making pretty dubious dating choices, I had a guy do this to me a lot, and it led me to an epiphany. I realised what a collosal waste this all was. My emotions were wasted, but I could make more emotions. The money I had spent on getting ready was wasted, but I could always make more money. However, what I could not make more of was my time. When I have slotted someone into my schedule, that is the greatest gift that I can give. It dawned on me that that I couldn’t just freestyle my life like him because I wasn’t unemployed and a loser (not that being unemployed makes you a loser but dropping out of school to become a “rapper” does) and that time for me really is about the most precious commodity that I had. Wasting time is the biggest slap in the face of all and a man (or woman) who habitually disappears and reappears is an emotional manipulator and more than likely a fu*k boy/girl type of ghoul.
The truth is often painful, so it is at this point that we may be inclined to make excuses that cushion the blow. Maybe when you’ve challenged the disappearing/reappearing person, you’ve been hit with the old chestnut of, “you know how it gets busy babes”. Let’s be real here. No one on Planet Earth needs the entirety of a three-day period to text someone. No one. Most of us don’t go three hours without looking at our phones. This is the sad truth of a being a millennial. If there is someone that you ostensibly want something from, then you ensure that you text them back and you keep those lines of communication open. I always go back to this; if Barack Obama could continue a full-on marriage and fatherhood situation to someone as bad ass as Michelle Obama, whilst being the US President, then no one is too busy. As hurtful as it is, if someone is not talking to you, it’s because they don’t want to. We make time for the things that are important to us. Or, they feel as though they don’t need to because you’re more invested and they think they can play you and you’ll still be there.
Very often, all it takes is a lazy text from them to get a response. The bar has got to be higher than this. If all someone needs to do is text twice to earn entrance into our lives and continued real estate in our minds after behaving so poorly, then I don’t know what to tell you here. It might not even be a text; it might come in the form of watching your insta stories. Ask yourself these questions: Are they asking me out? No. Are they in my same town and not getting in touch? Yes. If they are getting in touch, is it only around 11pm when all the parties that they have gone to weren’t that great, all the people there were ugly, or they realised that this person is ugly? Probably. And so, here they come. Just when did the bar get so low?
No one ghosts once. Just because it has a name in our generation and is a verb, it doesn’t mean that it is one-time occurrence. Ghosting is a pathology and what I mean by that is that it is a default setting of how some people choose to deal with the world and choose to deprioritise the feelings of others. When only you matter, you can minimise the feelings of others very easily. That is why ghosters do not only ghost once.
Back to our example ghoster, what was he doing instead? My guess would be that he wasn’t volunteering in a homeless shelter and neither was he working on the space project. You know what he was doing? He was probably with someone else. That is what he was doing and on a weekend. It is very significant that this happens repeatedly over a weekend and even more significant that he resumes contact on a Monday or Tuesday after the weekend. If a guy relegates you to the weekday, that is a bad sign. He is likely saving the prime days of the week (Friday and Saturday) for girls he is prioritising because he knows that those girls will only accept dates on those days and are not a Ms. 11pm on a Tuesday kind of girl.
We don’t have to accept only a Tuesday date and normalise this behaviour. Well we can, but it is to our peril. We need to start expecting more. The big fear behind expecting more is that the other person won’t meet our needs. Okay then. Arguably they are not going to meet them anyway and if you accept this crumb type behaviour now then what you are permitting, you are promoting. One day, six months down the line, this toad is not just going to suddenly morph into Prince Charming. What he will do is the bare minimum because that is all that you are requiring. When we start requiring more of people to be in our lives, they will either rise to the occasion and already be that kind of person or they’ll look at you and say, ‘Ugh – too much work, I’m too lazy’. Fu*k boys are lazy, players are both impatient and lazy, so if you can push on that, you can weed them out and they will self-select and not even text anymore. Great. We need to lean into that and see these people for what they are. Not. Worth. Our. Time.