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Osasogie Omoigui: Things To Consider While Dealing with Silence

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Let me start by making this clear: Ghosting is unpleasant etiquette. There’s no real, solid excuse for it, except perhaps pure, undiluted laziness with a touch of cruelty.

We take for granted how much technology has changed the way we interact with people. We are humans first, but are we so connected to our devices that we’re forgetting the human connection?

I fear it is so. How about you?

To be frank: it is exceptionally easy to ghost someone who has no connection to your life previous to the one encounter. If you aren’t feeling it with this new person, and you don’t want to use the mental leaps it takes to articulate a rejection to a practical stranger, then more likely than not you won’t communicate at all.

Access to the ignore button has never been easier, and pressing “unmatch” on Tinder equates deleting the person from your headspace and your own personal universe. Here are five things to consider in the land of silence:

What do you really want from the person who’s ghosting you?
In the land where easy hookups are abundant, desire for intimate relationships with more than one partner is normal, and ethical non-monogamy sounds like something you’d see at a market, here we all are, trying to figure this new world of dating out. With each generation of dating (and dating apps), we are met with new terminology, new things to try on for ourselves, and we are re-focusing our energies on what we are really looking for.

I am a monogamous person. That doesn’t mean that in my first dates, I haven’t been able to recognize some of my own awful behaviour (long, dramatic paragraphs of anxiety-ridden texts to a new potential date, anyone?), so I’ve had to reexamine myself a multitude of times, take a major chill pill, and reorganize my needs and desires.

That being said, asking myself, “What am I really looking for?” after I get painfully ghosted is seemingly the best question to ask.

Why exactly was this painful (beyond it being inhuman and previously nonexistent before modern-day dating)? Did I just want acknowledgement of my humanity? Closure so I can focus on the next person? Did I even find this person particularly interesting? What other things are going on in the life that is causing me to react so strongly?

Yes, monogamy is important to me, but getting overly upset about a person who feels no attachment toward me is a new kind of character building experience. Ghosting is a reminder that life is unfair and often severe. Technology has made communicating with each other easier to access, and yet has created a strange isolating landscape in which we are all a part of.

This feeling of desertion still applies to people who have been ghosted after several dates, or friendships that have suddenly and painfully disappeared; it just becomes more painful and potent.

The sea of excuses doesn’t feel any better than being ghosted
I got on my Facebook account a couple of years after being off. Ironically, I saw a couple of high school friends that I had unbreakable bonds with. We were all in this together, apparently, like some sort of club no one signed up for.

Here we were, the friends that ghosted me and liked to me too much, and I didn’t feel the same. Somehow, after years we were all still here, and all using the same tired profile pictures.

After a few days, one messaged me a bland apology that she ghosted me as she was going through “some stuff” at the time. And with that, she walked back into the internet, never responding to my follow-up questions. Gee, thanks, I’m glad I could be a vessel in which you discharged yourself from your strange guilt.

Does it feel better that she weakly apologized and gave a vague excuse for her behaviour four years later? Not particularly. So, expecting any explanation at a later time isn’t helpful in this ghosting journey that we are all on.

More common than ghosting, here are some boring/obvious excuses I have heard instead of being ghosted, and they feel about the same as the disappearing act itself. In no particular order:

“Sorry, I’m not really looking for anything serious right now.” (This really seems like the most common, even though  he/she is fully aware that you are a monogamous person looking for something serious before the meeting.)

“I didn’t sense a connection.”

“You’re too good for me.”

People are either desperate or not desperate enough.  Protect your heart, date whoever you want, but know that you will eventually get your feelings hurt. Whether it’s half-baked excuses, or radio silence forever. You know the saying though: better to buy a ticket to the lottery than never to have played, right? RIGHT?

Know that you may ghost someone yourself
Even I, Queen of All Emotions, have accidentally and intentionally ghosted people before.

Have you ever met someone so unremarkable you just simply forgot about them? Every time such person texted or called, it stirred up unpleasant mixed feelings. You sat there during hangouts just being present without being actually present date.

At dates, such individually ends up staring at you blankly, asking “What’s wrong?” “Are you good?”…… and you eventually feel weird.  As careful as I am, I ghosted someone and they were sad about it. I couldn’t even bring myself to apologize in fear I would open up the strange waves of communication with this person again.

It happens. I get it. It’s a two-way street and I’m human enough to realize my shortcomings.

You cannot educate a ghost
This may be the most important realization on my journey through ghost country: You simply cannot educate a ghost. There will always be people perpetuating this stereotype of non-consideration (maybe even you!).

These people are not in your control. Sending them a “wake up call” does not work. It’s not your job to educate them.

This idea has been the hardest thing for me to accept. I have sent paragraphs of texts to people who have ghosted me. This only solidifies the silence. Obviously, the person is not texting you back if you’re going to badger her/him on his shortcomings.

Maybe they’re going through something, you’re not on their mind, they don’t care in the slightest, or their phone was eaten by a cockroach. Whatever the case may be, they don’t care enough to contact you, so your novel of setting the balance right in the world will go to blind eyes. It will drive you insane if you allow it. Do not allow it.

As long as you’re honest with yourself about your needs, somewhat earnest in whatever you’re trying to accomplish dating-wise, then you can overcome this. It’s all you can do. Getting ghosted means actively becoming a stronger, wiser person. The alternative is bitterness and never ending frustration.

In other words, relax
Know that you’re putting in the effort. Know that if things are supposed to work out they will work out. Find a mantra, yoga, meditation technique, eat a giant plate of pancakes, do whatever makes you feel better to get over the first few hurdles of the unavoidable ghosting epidemic.

No one ever promised us that relationships were always going to be enjoyable. The funny anecdotes in romantic comedies make it look like a barrel of laughs, but sometimes it simply isn’t. Accepting that this is an unfortunate part of the trade off of putting yourself out there, is like learning a tedious aspect of your job. You’re going to hate it at first, but if you still want to maintain relationships, this is part of the job description.

In other words, be brave. Put yourself out there, but also send only one follow-up text, otherwise, you will drive yourself into certain madness.

 

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Osasogie is a freelance content writer who has done extensive editing and proofreading of website articles. She specialises in editing grammar, punctuation and consistency of style. She can be reached for online writing and editing, ghost writing and reviews. She has since worked with NaijaPr and Ynaija. Email: [email protected]

16 Comments

  1. Jummy

    January 24, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Hmmm, this ghosting thing ehn. It’s not black and white. I’ve ghosted and have been ghosted.

    First of all, I’m very bad at constantly keeping in touch with people. I would consider myself an introverted extrovert. So even though I’m the farthest from being socially awkward, I often retreat to my tent where I almost have no communication with anyone. I feel like I need the space to recharge. Lol. Most of my friends find this hard to believe as I’m usually the life of the party when we hang. Can’t explain it really.

    I ghosted a lot of my friends when I became a Christian, simply because our lifestyles had drastically changed and how many people do I wanna contact and inform? I just told myself that we now want different things and have different values so let’s all move on. It’s life and I have no regrets.

    I also recently just ghosted this guy who wanted to waste my time, in fact he wasted my time. Been trying to date me for over 7 months when he has a whole girlfriend in Nigeria. I started getting emotionally attached to him a little, and God forbid I become a side chick. Ha. Dime like me! Lol. Anyway I didn’t even tell him anything, as 2018 ended I just ghosted him. Stopped picking his calls and replying his messages. We have mutual friends and I’ve run into him a couple of times and acted like he doesn’t exist.

    A part of me feels bad but then there’s no use telling him I want no communication and want to move on because that just makes him even fiercer in his chase from past experience. You think I was right to have ghosted him? I feel like the jury is still out on that one.

    My ex ghosted me last year too. Because I’m not one to stay constantly in touch with people anyway, it hasn’t really bothered me when people fall off the grid. But this one undoubtedly broke me, still does. I don’t know how to move on. He was my first love.

    He first broke up with me when I moved outside of Nigeria and said he wanted to remain friends which I didn’t mind cause I just liked having him in my life. All of a sudden I stopped hearing from him. I was so worried I thought something had happened to him, till I saw his pictures om Facebook. All my calls and messages for 2 months went unanswered. I think that was when the heartbreak started for me. I cried every other day, still do sometimes.

    I’ve told myself I’ve left him in 2018 and REALLY want to close that chapter of my life, but he crosses my mind here and there. I’ve been praying that God sees me through because I feel resentment and anger for him and I know that’s not good.

    • justsaid it

      January 24, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      God will help you Jummy *ehugs baby gyal’. I feel that men and people should be able to just have closure on why things went sour or atleast a conversation about things instead of just disappearing and ignoring the other person! A wicked person ignores that’s my mantra & those that do aren’t worth it and worth our whole self, so I pray for you and other ladies out there hurting, for healing, forgiveness and peace in the heart, may we all truly move on & may what lay ahead of us be far better than what we left behind always, may we meet far more better men, experience better love & companionship, have far more better r/ships that in the end we will look back and so thank God they all ghosted after all! amen!

    • Mobesty

      January 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

      “So even though I’m the farthest from being socially awkward, I often retreat to my tent where I almost have no communication with anyone. I feel like I need the space to recharge. Lol. Most of my friends find this hard to believe as I’m usually the life of the party when we hang. Can’t explain it really.”
      Me frfr.

      you will be fine shogbo.

      Nice article btw

    • Osasogie Omoigui

      January 28, 2019 at 10:48 am

      Hey darling, it was so nice for you to share your story. Tbh, ghosting on someone for the betterment of your mental and emotional health is fine. You need not feel guilty.

  2. Sandra

    January 24, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Beautifully written I need this and it made the whole ghosting heart break, funny and easier to deal with thanks for the write up

  3. Adeola

    January 24, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Well written. Could relate having been on both sides of the stick. It is what it is, you lose some you win some nothing to be taken seriously. And sometimes (with no intention to justify the act but purely to provide some context), the reason for ghosting especially in the dating world is sometimes somethings are just hard to voice out so you’d rather just silently disappear. For instance, how do you tell a new guy whom you met via a blind date that sorry I can’t do “fat” dudes without coming off as superficial yet you honestly can’t……

    • Ada

      January 24, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      Gosh this is so me. I CANNOT date a fat guy sorry. Slender, average or a LITTLE extra (and I’m saying this to be open minded because I’ve never dated a “chubby” guy) Especially the ones with gigantic guts. Mba. That’s why I don’t blame men who don’t want fat women. Not like I’m a stick or anything but I’m not fat abeg.

      I also don’t think I can do well chiseled guys too sha. You know those ones who spend all their time at the gym and drink all kinds of protein shakes. Yeah, no. I’m a bit of a gym rat and I see them all the time.

      They’re too into their bodies biko, and it’s not cute on a guy abeg. You see them staring at their pecs the entire time they’re working out. Meh.

    • Mama

      January 25, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Lol…@ staring at their pecs. Narcissism is not a good look on anyone, but its even worse on guys. When a man is too into his looks, its a turn off for me. There can’t be two divas in the relationship. ?

      About not liking fat guys, I would say you ladies are not just attracted to the person. Personally, I find that I only pick faults like height and weight if there’s no attraction to begin with. Trust me, if there’s chemistry, you’ll hardly notice such things. Not that you wouldn’t, but you wouldn’t care. Once a lady starts saying things like “he’s too tall, short etc. that to me is the first clue that she isn’t attracted to the dude.

  4. justsaid it

    January 24, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    This is so true & by the way I thoroughly enjoyed this piece! I see people who actually ghost on other as weak tbh, there’s no excuse for it but hey ho

    I have been ghosted on before, twice actually, and more so with guys I liked terribly! I just wondered always how someone will say great things about you and have plans with you, etc. and then boom, they gone!One of them, next thing I heard he was getting married, but that one I kind of had a feeling marriage was on the cards for him, imagine someone meeting you in month one & asking for marriage by end of month one, I just felt I wasn’t given the chance to enjoy the process of meeting and getting to know you as much as possible! but the second, I just never expereredit, lool…it was hard in the first week, but with time I started rebuilding myself & I’ve told myself I aint sinking my heart with any man until I get that ring and officially marry them (yes I know its still not a guarantee but that will do for now)….In the mean time, all I ask God to do is to heal my heart completely & help me move on completely & totally, I never want to be in a r/ship & look back at any of these people!

  5. Cynthia

    January 24, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    In normal circumstances, ghosting is rude! However, I have been in a situation with a guy that almost escalated to him putting his hands on me. This happened in a moving car and I had to flee out of the car. After that incident, I ghosted him and blocked him. I really did not think there was any reason for me to communicate with him on why I was choosing to cease communication. In Sweet Brown’s voice, “I I didn’t grab no shoes or nothing Jesus
    I ran for my life”

  6. whocares

    January 24, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    ghosting can actually be very damaging where there is an established bond. I ghost, A LOT where there is no bond. If I meet someone, and a month later I decide no can do, then the person just wont hear from me, or i meet someone, we have one conversation and i’m not feeling it, then #whocares out. I don’t feel bad in those situations because no bond has been established, we don’t owe each other anything at that point. Mine is a sort of gradual ghosting like a picture that just gradually goes out of focus. (i ghosted an ex this way.. and now we have not spoken in a year, and that is ok)
    If there is / was a bond, ghosting is very damaging. Have that last conversation, be an adult, be a decent human being- let your intentions be known and let it be clear to the other party. We all need to take care of each other in this world and be responsible not only for our actions, but also realize that we are responsible for some other person’s peace of mind, especially when we have established bonds with them. It’s like my guy the little prince says “you are responsible for what you tame”.

  7. Lover Girl

    January 24, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Okay, finally an avenue to say this.
    I met a guy late last year and we had a connection and planned to see. He sent messages but my phone was stolen the day after we met. When I eventually found his number, I called him and found out he sounded a bit guarded and then asked ‘didn’t you see my messages’ and then I told him my phone was stolen. We planned to meet but then I was busy again.
    We spoke weeks later and I was to see him, unfortunately my battery died and when it came on, I saw messages from him, I responded apologizing that my battery died and he said he was in a meeting that we should see after his meeting. He called after his meeting but I had slept off. I woke up 3a.m to see his missed calls and I called him all day but baba didn’t pick oh. He called 7p.m the next day and said ‘you’re not someone I can trust’, all I could say was I’m sorry.

    Days later, he sent an SMS that he was back in Lagos and tried to meet up but I had an exco meeting. After this, baba completely stopped calling me. If I call, he’ll pick and you’d hear the struggle in his voice to act cool and I’ll be wishing he’d insult me or we’d fight, talk things over. All he said to me once was ‘fine babe, yellow girl, fresh chick, I won’t give you the opportunity to make a fool out of me and play with my emotions’.

    The last time we spoke was christmas day and then I deleted his number and every history of him only to see a friend request from him on Facebook and a video call request almost immediately after (I was asleep when this call came in so I missed it again) and we chatted after, he always likes my updates and the rest so I know I’m on his mind.

    We’ve kept the conversation on Facebook only and I’m just watching to see what happens because the truth is he likes me and I like him, we both know we like each other, he has told me he likes me and he has inferred he knows I like him but I don’t know how to rectify this situation.

    And the way we met was funny. We met at breakfast in Transcorp and we fixed a date for that evening which I missed cos I was asleep but we began to fix breakfast dates. He came for a conference and I was in Abuja on market visits ( guys in FMCG would know what this is) but days later, I had to tell him that I was staying with a man when he kept insisting on at least coming to my room.

    My seatmate on the plane had asked me to stay in his hotel with him, I was on my period and so I stayed. I told him this guy all this and he said to me ‘I suspected when you kept stopping me from coming to your room. What you’ve done in the past doesn’t matter. What you do with me is what counts’.

    The way we met and me standing him up at the last minute reeks baby girl plus I’m tall, fair, slim, likes to wear short clothes etc. One of this guy’s first words to me were ‘you are very fresh’. (he didn’t say this in a sexual way at all).

    I like this guy; liked him from the moment he smiled, asin my heart skipped and I have never felt the need to need anyone the way I do around him plus the thought that I could have hurt him, hurts me. Like I can’t understand it. I’m not obsessed by him. I just want to be taken care of and led by him and I’ve never felt that way for any guy in my life, My younger brother once said ‘I’m surprised, you are like this for a guy?, he’s not even fine sef’. He’s also a good christian, he has never told me he’s one but you can tell from the way he lives his life and the aura around him. I once asked him if he was a pastor. I’m not blinded to his flaws too, he can bottle up his feelings and when he eventually let’s them out, they can be hurtful. He once told me ‘you confuse me, you look like a runs girl and have a lot of their moves but when I talk with you and watch you, you’re like a goal oriented career girl, whose nice and down to earth. ( This is feedback I get a lot).

    I’ve left him alone, we chat on Facebook only but I wish I could reverse time and we’d come back together or fate will just bring us together but then a part of me asks if I’m being fair to him. I was a runs girl in my early twenties then changed about two years ago and focused on my career, don’t know if it would be fair for him to be with me.

    I wish it was a case of making him like me, I have skills to make that happen but this is a case of ‘my heart says yes but my head says no so I’m going with my head’.

    Pray for me guys, let God’s will be done. Sorry for rambling.

    • Ima

      January 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

      I know this sounds cliche, but what’s yours will eventually come right back to you. Especially if you put in a bit of work…like facebook chats. Keep the conversation going. It will either grow from there, or die eventually. At least, you’ll know you gave it a shot…no matter how small. Good luck and may the true love we seek find us all.

    • Mobesty

      January 26, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Yeah i concur

    • Ajala & Foodie

      January 27, 2019 at 12:26 am

      @ Lover Girl. I think your believing you are “not enough” is why you are constantly looking for ways to miss his calls/dates. If dude was my brother I would advice him that you are not that into him based on your actions. We make time for things and people that are important to us. Since you have admitted of your own volition that you are into him. I believe it is time your actions align with your feelings. We fail to realize that people cannot see our intentions or feelings, people only infer about these 2 based on our actions (why he believes you are playing him).

      If you are certain you want to give this a try, then I will suggest asking him out to dinner and this time show up!!! Before people come for me about the man doing the chasing. I will say the dude has done the chasing according to her account several times, obviously. It is time you show him you are done toying with him and his emotions. You may however want to deal with the self esteem issue first, because you don’t want to go into any relationship with an attitude that your partner is “better than” or doing you a favor for any reason. I would also ask why your head is saying “no” is it just the self esteem or something more? i.e like maybe the likelihood of him using your past against later down the road?

  8. Kudi Klepto

    January 25, 2019 at 12:25 am

    1st of all it’s not officially ghosting if you aren’t feeling the person.

    Now Being ghosted hurts lije a bish. Gosh! It’s like never getting closure . do people ever recover from being ghosted. This should be a sort of crime or infraction.

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