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How (and when) to ghost a friend

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How (and when) to ghost a friend

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While sharing the story of TikTok was probably not the right route for either of these girls, the question remains: is it ever ok to ghost a friend? And if so, how should we be doing it?

Is it ever OK to ghost a friend?

Might there be a situation where the other person is so toxic and controlling that the best thing is to cut ties? According to Spelman, the answer is: rarely.

“In certain situations, cutting ties or ‘ghosting’ a friend may be necessary for your well-being, for example, if the person is toxic, controlling or abusive,” says Spelman. “Prioritising personal safety and mental health is crucial, but open communication should be considered first.”

In fact, even the girl in the original TikTok video may be feeling bad in hindsight. According to psychologist Dr. Sara Goode, it seems that the first girl feels guilty about ghosting her friend. “The very fact that this has been aired, shows that the original poster is having some difficulties with the decision that they’ve made and is trying to publicly justify it in order to gain support for ghosting her friend,” she says. “I would suggest that maybe she feels a little bit uncomfortable with the fact that she’s ghosted her friend and is now trying to convince herself that she’s done the right thing so she can become more comfortable.”

How should you judge whether ghosting a friend is the right thing to do?

Unsure about whether or not to ghost a friend? Spelman suggests thinking very carefully about whether it really is the best path to take.

“It should involve careful consideration,” she says. “Think about the current dynamics of the relationship, the impact of the friendship on your well-being, and any attempts at communication or setting boundaries.”

If you’ve already tried multiple times to lay out your boundaries and your friend has ignored you, ghosting may be the only option.

“Is the friend consistently toxic, abusive, or unresponsive after honest attempts to address concerns?” she says. “If so, cutting ties may be necessary.”

How can you ghost a friend?

If you’ve already tried to talk to your friend but there doesn’t seem to be any way out of the relationship other than ghosting, try to do it gradually.

“Gradually reduce contact and respond less frequently,” suggests Spelman. “Unfollow or block them on social media to create some distance. Prioritise your wellbeing and surround yourself with positive and supportive people.”

Goode believes that, if you’ve tried everything, it’s best to send one final, firm message before cutting off contact. “If what you’re genuinely trying to do is end contact, then I would say, you send that person a message or you leave them a voicemail and you simply state what boundary it is that they have broken and why that boundary is important to you,” she says. “And therefore, because they have broken that boundary, you are ending the friendship and won’t be responding to them in any way in the future. It’s really the only clean way to end that relationship.”

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