I USED TO TAKE PEOPLE AT THEIR WORD
Studies have shown (no I don’t know what studies) that only 8% of communication is the literal meaning of the words we use. I used to believe that people meant 100% of what they said, and 100% of the meaning of each statement was found in the exact words. This belief would have been a problem for me if I still held it this week. Last week I spent every night talking to someone on the phone for, I’d have to guess, at least 4 hours. You know the kind of conversations that you put on speaker phone because they go on for so long that you need to do other things but you don’t want to hang up. To my embarrassment, I began to hope. I hoped we were becoming friends. I state this hope while shaking my head at my foolishness because I have found over the years that there is something about me that is off putting to others. They don’t end up hating me, they just drift away after forgetting me. I know the outcomes of my attempts to make friends have not worked out, but I began to wonder if I was creating my reality and sabotaging myself. No, not this time! I would do something different. I purposed in my heart to think positively and utilize the law of attraction to entertain a foolish hope that I could have a friend like everyone else. This was last week.
Come this week, the phone calls stopped, my calls went unreturned, my texts went unanswered. There was the usual progression of thoughts, from not noticing, to noticing, to concern, to speculation. Was he alright? Or was this that phenomenon I had read about called “ghosting.” As I understand it, “ghosting” is the modern way of ending a relationship by not officially ending it but by cutting off phone communication without a reason, or with a cursory reason such as “I have been busy.” The ghostee is supposed to understand that the person was never that busy before, and of course he has his phone with him just as he always had, so obviously he wants nothing more to do with you.
There is no official break up conversation with “ghosting” like the old days of the 80’s and 90’s. Back then no phone communication was not necessarily significant because many people did not live on the phone when the phone was attached to the wall at home and the one phone line was shared by everyone in the household. Even if a person had her own phone in her room, it was not the same as having your own cell phone today because her use of the phone prevented anyone else from using the phone unless they wanted to eavesdrop. A change in phone habits then did not necessarily indicate the person’s own decision but a host of other factors might have come into play. But today, when a person goes from constant communication, to nothing, and the person is not incarcerated, hospitalized, or experiencing any other change to the status of his freedom, there can be only one reason. The etiquette of ghosting calls for the “ghostee” to get the message and not make things difficult with repeated unanswered communications I believes stems from our society’s willingness to embrace the loss of true intimacy in relationships that has resulted from the exclusive use of cell phones.
What should I do? I have never been averse to confrontation, which is a personality trait that has caused problems for me because, according to my late friend Ken, “It’s not that people don’t know they can always tell you something it is that people don’t want to have to say, they don’t want to have to tell you.” I decided to send a message thanking the person for the time we spent and indicating I was aware that the temporary communication has now come to an end. The response:
no, been taking down time for myself. refreshThe Ghoster
I am glad I now know that there is no “up time” coming after the “down time.” I actually would have believed that after a period of refreshment…well, you know. I simply responded that I understood in every way and that, of course, has been that. I don’t know why concern myself with ghosting when an explanation would have been the same reminder that hope can be foolish and the law of attraction is not easily applied.