Mind over heart

When trying to reach out to someone who may have ghosted you for any number of reasons, emotional, knee-jerk decisions can backfire easily

Mind over heart

My best friend has not been herself lately. She snaps easily, doesn't want to hang out as much, even gets tearful if I refuse to comply with any of her demands. I am aware that she is going through a lot lately — a failed relationship, parents ongoing divorce, and poor performance in her favourite subject. Recently after a minor disagreement, she just cut all ties with me, blocked me off her social media and on Whatsapp. I found out through other friends that she refuses to acknowledge my presence and has decided to not be friends any more. What do I do? Why did she do this? How will I overcome it?

As harsh as it sounds but your friend may have ghosted you. The term "ghosting" comes from when someone you were in touch with regularly suddenly withdraws and stops answering your text or calls without explanation. This concept has always been around. In the past era, if someone ghosted you, it would have not affected you as much. This was because it would go unnoticed until you actually came face to face with the person. But in the world of fast connections, there are also faster disconnections on the internet. If someone blocks you on social media, it sends a strong message your way.

It is hard to put in words how you must be feeling. A strange surreal feeling of confusion, pain, hurt, sadness and rejection may be haunting you. These are all stemming from the good memories you had with this friend. The biggest issue with ghosting is that it comes without any forewarning and explanations. At the same time, the emotional pain one feels is as strong as physical pain because the similar brain pathways are activated.

The real question is why did she ghost you? There is no one good answer. Some people ghost others when they believe to be in a toxic friendship or relationship. Others withdraw when they may be battling a mental health disorder and find it hard to explain or ask for help. Avoidance is another reason, as it may seem easier to leave rather than sort out a disagreement. And finally, at times there just isn't a good enough answer.

If you want to work on a solution, my professional advice would be — don't do anything at the moment. Emotional decisions can backfire so at the moment refrain from trying hard to reach out, shaming them on the internet or involving a lot of people. Let this relationship take its own course for now. In time you may find closure or reconciliation. Working towards closure is more important for you to not be constantly fixating on this issue.

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