Things People Say When They’re About to Ghost You

I know non-committal and indifferent when I hear — or read — it.

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Photo: Pxhere/Creative Commons

If decades of living have taught me anything, it’s this: People find a way to do what they really want to do, come hell, high water, or jam-packed schedules. I’ve known this for sure since my friend Nancy flew thousands of miles from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires in 2009 just to see me for a few days.

I’m not saying I require that level of devotion from all of my friends — or any of them. What I am saying is if you can’t see me, or don’t want to, fine. You don’t have to. Just hold the phony, platitudinous ceremony, the tired opening lines, the hackneyed parting ones, and the promise of future hang-outs. I’d rather be alone anyway.

Am I alone here? It’s OK if you don’t really care whether you ever see me again. There’s no need to depart with more than a simple, honest wave. I’m still mastering the art of saying “Hello”/”Goodbye” and leaving it at that myself, but after decades of “Keep in touch,” I know perfectly well that if you say it, you probably don’t actually mean it.

It’s OK if you don’t really care whether you ever see me again. There’s no need to depart with more than a simple, honest wave.

Yes, I know non-committal and indifferent when I hear it or read it. The following are tantamount to “Let the ghosting begin!”… You’ve been warned.

“I hope I see you soon.”

You hope? Just make it happen, mate. Or rather, don’t bother. I’m wishin’ and hopin’ that no-one I really want in my life ever again drops this one on me.

“Things are crazy right now.”/ “I’m really busy for the next few days/weeks/months/years.”

This hasn’t been a valid excuse since the time in 1985 when Phil Collins played two Live Aid concerts on two different continents in one day. People make time to do the things they’re dying to do.

“Let’s keep in touch.”

So quaint, so pre-Facebook. Nowadays, you don’t even have to try… hard. So if you still have to suggest it, you probably know neither one of you will likely make the effort.

“Text/Message me.”

The millennial version of “Give me a call.” And in 2016, the implication remains the same as it was in 1996: When someone leaves the ball in your court, it’s there for a reason. Game over.

“I have a birthday dinner.”

Right up there with “The dog ate my homework” in the pantheon of lame excuses. And certain people seem to have it on repeat.

Yes, birthdays happen. But if they happen all the time, then how deep and meaningful are these friendships? Will your absence really be missed by one of a million mates? I have a theory: The more birthday dinners you “have to” go to, the fewer you’re likely required, or even expected, to attend.

“Take care” — or as they say in Buenos Aires, “Cuidate!”

In other words, “Have a good life”… without the hard feelings.

“I’ll text/email you by the end of the week.”

I’ll believe it when I’m reading it.

“So when am I going to see you?”

This is the not-so-sly way of putting the onus to connect on the other person. People who need to see people simply extend an invitation or make a plan.

My friend Zena once sent me a surprise email proposing some dates when she could fly from Chicago to Australia, where I was living at the time, to hang out with me. And that, folks, is how you show someone you really care.

Zena ended up cancelling the trip for work reasons, but it was the thought that counted — and she offered to reimburse me for the Sydney-to-Melbourne plane ticket I’d already booked. I declined. Like I said, it was the thought that counted.

“Where have you been hiding?”

In these days of social media, everyone knows exactly where everyone has been hiding and what they’ve been doing there. So if you have to ask, you didn’t care before you asked and you probably won’t after.

“TTYL” (a texting and social media acronym for “Talk to you later”)

Yeah. Until next time — or not.

Written by

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa”

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