So, I sorta, kinda “ghosted” my friend.
We were close for several years, but she was always this magnetic vortex of drama. In the beginning I felt for her because she lost a bunch of friends in a messy way (surprise surprise), but eventually I realized she was bringing this drama into my life, and it felt like I couldn’t really trust her any longer.
So I stopped calling. And texting. And emailing. And the few times she would reach out to me, I was weird and distant and our conversations were awkward—she would get confrontational with me; I would get defensive.
Now it’s been close to a year with no contact, and I still have this nagging feeling that even though I think this friendship was not healthy for me, I didn’t go about ending it in the right way. I was never direct or completely honest with her about my reasons for pulling away.
Should I just drop it and hope the nagging will taper off with time, or is it worth reaching out to her in a more definitive, straightforward way? I should add I am terrified of confrontation, and the thought of having this kind of conversation with her makes it hard to breathe.
I have a little quiz* for you.
A few weeks ago I was at Bunny’s Pizzeria and Sports bar with my kids and their friends. The Pacman machine was all charged up. The curly fries were extra curly. At least one of us was sitting in a soggy diaper. You get the picture.
Then my 7-year-old’s best friend pointed to one of the 15 TVs on the wall and chirped, “Hahahaha! That guy is so awesome!”
I looked up at the screen and sucked in my breath because that guy referred to:
1. My deceased father
2. Donald Trump
3. The man whom I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with, but then he wanted to spend the rest of his life with someone else or maybe alone, it really didn’t matter as long as it wasn’t with me, so we had a talk about making it work together and then poof! he disappeared. But at least I now knew he was alive and well because he had a blossoming career in commercial television.
When I was involved with that guy, I often felt:
5. all of the above.
Now, after a decade since our last contact, seeing him on screen from the safe distance of my pizza-greased chair, I feel:
1. blinding rage
2. confused amusement tinged with a little jealousy but nothing another seltzer couldn’t quench
3. nothing, because my life is now over.
*answer key: 3,5,2.
NSFG, it sounds like you were in an unhealthy relationship and you knew it was time to get out of it. Bravo. Did you do it in the most delicate way? Eh. But it’s done, so let it be done. I’m not sure how your ghosted friend reacted—as in, did she hound you for an explanation? Leave a flaming pile of poop on your doorstep? Ask for her half of the BFF necklace back? When did her end of your interactions taper off? Because I think it’s really up to her whether you go back to say more.
UNLESS there is something else you need to say. All ghosts have to have a purpose for their haunting. For example:
Casper the friendly ghost wants to get out of the scaring-people business and make some mortal friends. It’s not always easy to build trust with someone who is undead, but Casper makes the whole idea of afterlife cute.
Patrick Swayze, the sexy ceramicists’ ghost, left this earth too soon. He has to save his girl from impending doom and sculpt something that’s durable yet classic before the kiln is full.
Fruma Sarah (from “Fiddler on the Roof”) is the made-up-but-still-scary-as-herring-blintzes ghost. She comes back to terrorize Golde and stand up for Tzeitel’s true love (and the importance of pearls).
So the question is, what is your ghostly quest, NSFG? Do you want to work on a new kind of friendship with this person? Or are you feeling obligated to ask for forgiveness and then plan to skedaddle again? Take a moment to really think about what you want and what you have to offer this friend. And if the answer is not much, let her go.
It hurts, I know. Gefiltes are a lot like ghosts—floating in and out of social gatherings and freaking everyone out. But when you want to be with someone, you’ll know. Usually they’ll be the one with either a soggy diaper or curly fries.
With love and schmaltz,
Have a question for Gefilte? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you might just get an answer.