In the world of online dating, you might get ghosted once or twice — heck, maybe even a hundred times. It comes with the territory of casual conversations and an overabundance of options. But that non-committal, throw-away
feeling isn't what you expect from friendships, which is why it's so difficult to text a friend who ghosted you.
It's painful enough when a random
person from Tinder doesn't message back, but if a friend disappears, it's a whole different level of betrayal. "It's understandably very painful, and leaves you with a lot of questions as to why, what happened, and maybe even some [...] fears that you did something wrong," Alyssa Arnol, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker, tells Bustle.
There are countless
reasons why people ghost, including loss of interest, perceived slights, and — most common of all — issues completed unrelated to the relationship itself. Rather than explain why they're ghosting, though, Arnol says many folks find it easier to go into avoidance mode and simply fade away.
It's true many
friendships come to a natural end. But if a best friend isn't texting back, or your work BFF has gone radio silent, it's OK to want to know why. If you find yourself thinking about them nonstop, or are worried for any reason, consider reaching out and getting more information. Here, 20 helpful texts to choose from when a friend ghosts, depending on your situation. "Can you send me a quick text to let me know you're OK?"
"Ghosters often feel guilty and embarrassed about ghosting,"
Chloe Greenbaum, PhD, a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. So if you're getting the sense your friend wants to reach out, but feels weird about it, this text could come in handy.
"Sending them a kind and undemanding text might make them more likely to break through their guilt and respond," she says. "Once they [do], you can then share your feelings around being ghosted."
"I know you aren't a fan of texting. Are you down for a phone call instead?"
If your friend has been MIA for weeks, chalk it up to their "poor texting habits" and offer them an alternative. A phone call might be more their style, or a date for drinks. Throw a few options their way and see if they respond.
"I keep checking my phone to see if you've texted me. Would love to hear from you!"
This text shows that you've totally noticed your friend is ghosting, and makes it clear that it's bothering you.
And yet, by keeping the mood light — "would love to hear from you!" — it takes the pressure off, making it easier for them to write back.
"I had so much fun last time we hung out. Want to do it again sometime?"
If you're someone who likes to hang out 24/7, and your friend is more of a talk-every-couple-months type of person, it's possible you're interpreting their prolonged silence as ghosting. To find out more, reach out and ask if they'd like to meet up.
"I'll be at the farmer's market this Saturday. Want to come with?"
Casual plans might help reel them back in or, at the very least, confirm that they're no longer interested in maintaining a friendship. And if that's the case, it's best to accept it and move on. Remember, even if it doesn't feel good, your friend has a right to back away.
"Would love a chance to talk to get some closure."
Let's say you haven't heard from this person in months, or even years. If you're pretty sure they're gone for good — and it's really bugging you — send this text.
Ben Fineman, MA, AMFT, tells Bustle, it's helpful because it requests a specific action for a specific purpose. If they write back, you can get the closure you want, breathe a sigh of relief, and move on. "I've enjoyed our friendship. Sad if it's ending, but would appreciate talking about it."
Similarly, this is a caring, gentle way to gather more information, Fineman says. It also shows vulnerability, which could open the door to a meaningful conversation.
"Hey stranger! How's it going?"
"This text is playful, but also allows you to express that you may be feeling that the two of you have grown apart,"
Dr. Markesha Miller, a licensed psychotherapist, tells Bustle.
It's one you might send to a long-term friend, but could work particularly well for less intense friendships, as a way to gauge what's going on.
For an even more light-hearted way to reach out, send a ghost emoji and a sad face emoji. "This is a simple, easy way to express yourself, especially if you are not sure of the words to say," Miller says. "The interesting thing will be to see if your friend catches the message."
"I think I said something that hurt you. Can we talk about it? I miss our friendship."
If you think you know why they ghosted, offer to talk about it. "It could be a misunderstanding, a communication snafu, or you may have inadvertently hurt their feelings," relationship expert Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle.
Just brace yourself for potential crickets. "If you text them and they don’t respond," Rappaport says, "there is nothing you can do except learn from the experience and move on."
"When you don't write back I feel betrayed."
"Ghosting can be painful because it increases anxiety when you don't have closure," therapist
Amanda Turecek, LMFT, LAC, tells Bustle. So go ahead and let the person know how you feel.
You could even go on to call off the friendship, or announce you won't be reaching out again. "A text that names what you are feeling, owns it, and establishes a healthy boundary with the friend that ghosted you can make a big impact," she says.
"This made me think of you!"
Again, ghosting is a form of avoidance — which is, of course, yet another reason not to take it
For example, many people who are depressed or anxious find
texting and socializing draining, Greenbaum says.
By sending a sweet text or funny picture, you're showing you care while allowing your friend to maintain their space for as long as they need.
"I noticed you haven't been reaching out as much lately. I understand if you need some space but wanted to let you know I'm here when you want to talk."
"This is helpful because you
acknowledge the lack of communication and make it known that you are willing and open to discuss whatever the issue may be when the person is ready," says Jessica January Behr, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist. "In this example you don't ask any questions but you show empathy by acknowledging that there may be a reason for ghosting and that you are genuinely interested in what thoughts and emotions the person may have — and are willing to go at their pace." "I really miss you and I hope we can connect again when the time is right for you."
While getting ghosted hurts, it truly does help to remember that it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with
"It's possible that your friend has ghosted you because something incredibly crazy is going on in their life," relationship coach
Marie Murphy, PhD, tells Bustle. "It doesn't hurt to give them the benefit of the doubt." "I think you're ghosting me and that isn't cool. I'd at least like to have a conversation about it."
That said, if you want to call out your friend, go ahead and do it, Murphy says. You have a right to stand up for yourself and speak honestly about how the ghosting as impacted you.
"I'm sorry for pushing you away. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to make it up to you."
Were you the one who initiated the ghosting? If so, this may be a good way to extend an olive branch and reconnect — if that's something you'd like to do.
"I miss our friendships but I'm going to respect your wishes that are clear from your lack of response."
According to Turecek, this is a definitive way to share how you feel, while also making it clear you aren't going to wait around any longer.
"Just checking in."
This is a very relaxed, non-threatening way to reach out to a friend — especially if things ended on a bad note the last time you spoke.
"It demonstrates that you’re not going to punish them for their absence, and shows them that they’re welcome to make a reappearance in your life without great drama,"
Ned Presnall, LCSW, a mental health expert, tells Bustle. "By keeping things mellow, you show humility, and a willingness for them to make the next move when they’re ready." "I feel so confused and hurt by your decision to end our friendship. I'm open to hearing more about it, if you'd like to talk."
Even if your friend doesn't take you up on this offer to talk, you can walk away knowing you tried to offer an opportunity for healthy conversation and a respectful resolution,
Gina Handley Schmitt, MA, CMHS, LMHC, a psychotherapist specializing in relationships, tells Bustle. "It's obvious to me our friendship has ended. I wanted to acknowledge it for my own well-being, and wish you well."
While you may want
closure from a friend who ghosted you, remember that closure is often something you have to give yourself. (And chances are you wouldn't actually want a list of reasons why they disappeared, anyway.) So send this text, wish them well, and allow yourself to move on. Experts: Alyssa Arnol, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker Ben Fineman, MA, AMFT, psychotherapist Davida Rappaport, relationship expert Dr. Markesha Miller, licensed psychotherapist Jessica January Behr, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist Amanda Turecek, LMFT, LAC, therapist Marie Murphy, PhD, relationship coach Chloe Greenbaum, PhD, licensed psychologist Ned Presnall, LCSW, mental health expert Gina Handley Schmitt, MA, CMHS, LMHC, psychotherapist