I love my family, I enjoy my relationships and I receive a great deal of satisfaction from my life. But sometimes, I just need to disappear.
Juggling the demands of life can wear at you. Life can be like sandpaper, constantly scratching your edges. This is stimulating and life-giving. Sometimes you just want it to stop so your mind can catch up… But life doesn’t stop between floors.
Pressures from work, social dynamics, taking care of your home and your body, parenting and other serious-adult responsibilities can feel like too much. I need to vacate. I find my solace in the basement, in the garage, or at some other undisclosed location.
It feels rude to say it, but I can be a Personal Ghoster: I avoid, I go on an emotional vacation or I just walk away from things to unwind. If you are a Ghoster like me, you can relate to Parramore’s 2009 hit, “Misguided Ghosts.”
‘Cause I’m just one of those ghosts
Don’t need no roads
In fact, they follow me
And we just go in circles
“Misguided Ghosts” – Lyrics by Josh Farro & Hayley Williams, 2009.
Ghosting stays with you like emotional echos. Twenty years ago, I resigned from a job after several years of turmoil. When I left, I felt like I had failed myself and the people who hired me. I had a difficult time managing the hello/goodbye emotions and what I felt were awkward conversations. So I walked away. Numbers were exchanged, but I knew that would be the last time I made any contact.
Walking away from relationships with unsaid things chains you to your own emotional ghosts. The ghosts look for ways to leave in peace, but they end up haunting you instead.
Dead Man Walking
Ghosting happens when people disappear from a personal or a group relationship. Usually Ghosting involves giving no notice at all. A person just vanishes, unfriends you and travels their own road.
You have probably been Ghosted and you may even have done it to someone.
- According to a 2014 YouGov/Huffington Post survey of 1000 Adults, 11% of us admit to Ghosting. The numbers are low, but most Ghosts I know don’t like polls… because we are Ghosts.
Two of the more famous Ghosters are Bruce Willis and Charlize Theron. Willis made a movie out of his Ghosting experience, The Sixth Sense; and Theron Ghosted Sean Penn, according to The New York Times.
Most of us are Ghosts, but we usually don’t leave our lives or our relationships. We Ghost in quieter, more subtle ways when we:
- Tune out of conversations and engage in an inward conversation about how much we cannot stand this person, this experience, or the color of our shoes.
- Vacate our bodies during a meeting.
- Disappear from a family event for unknown reasons.
- Avoid our feelings by drinking more alcohol, by eating our feelings (ie: vacATE), or by watching so much TV that we begin to identify with the Zombies.
- Take three hours to get one item from the grocery store.
- Use a novel like a paper shield.
Ghosting is a gender neutral activity. Elle magazine conducted an informal survey and found that 24% of women and 16% of men admit to Ghosting. If the numbers hold, men are not the vacaters, avoiders or faders that we are purported to be. Ghosting is something we all do and it can even be fun.
Nine Reasons You May Want to Give Ghosting a Try
1. For Art. Conceptual art or conceptual business ideas are nice, creative ideas that are not real yet. They exist on paper, but in reality no one knows what it will ever look like or even if it will be born. Ghosting is a way of living conceptually. We exist, but not really.
2. For Boundaries. You don’t have to say “No” when all that you do is “Go.” The best boundary is being invisible.
3. For Conservation. The Word Conservation Society has declared 2015 the Year of the Word. Words are the next dinosaurs. Ghosting can save your words for the important conversations. Contrary to the Twitterverse, life cannot be lived in 140 characters. Sad bt tru, Std Up for Words, Wrd.
4. For Fun. Strange things happen when you are a ghost. You see dead things.
5. For Health. Ghosting is good for you because it involves exercise and vacationing. The Avo-iDance is good for your health, it does not require any equipment and you can do it anywhere. When you become really good at Ghosting, your vacationing becomes a Vaca-Shunning.
6. For Protection. If you need to disappear for a while, Ghosting skills may come in handy. Consider signing up for the gHosting program (ie: Gangster Hosting). You will have a really good reason for this one, “Honey, I won’t be gone long, I’m just in Canada in the Witness Protection Program.”
7. For Recharging. My iPod ghosts whenever I run down the battery. If Apple tells me that it is okay for my iPod to go off line, then I am okay with it. Unplug, go off line and emotionally recharge.
8. For Revenge. Go ahead and ghost your haters, your spammers, your No Sayers and your Gossips. Ghost the friends who are nothing more than walking beef jerky (skin + salt + 152 pounds of Jerk).
9. For Superpowers. I am on a quest to build a super-hero tool belt and an array of super-spy gadgets. One of the earliest lessons I learned by watching Batman and James Bond was their ability to Ghost. When I Ghost, it’s just me keeping the edge to my superpowers. When you avoid, you become a Void. You can never be hit if you were never there in the first place.
Ghosts wander until they find a home. “Hi, my name is Sean. I am a Personal Ghoster.” Join me and the rest of the Ghosts at The Good Men Project.
This week, be a Ghost and save your words for the important conversations.
Keep it Real
Photo credit: iStock
This post has been republished to Medium.