And again he vanishes.
Diary of a ghosting
Lucy is driving herself insane with wondering. What the fuck happened? A few weeks ago he was full of smiles and compliments, texting all the time, flirting furiously. They had a date in the diary. It was all finally going right.
And then he cancelled the date, with barely an apology, and since then has been remote at best, and basically a dating app fuckboy at worst.
She doesn’t understand. Did she do something wrong? What the fuck happened?!
Lucy has a sneaking suspicion she knows exactly what’s happened. Her spidey senses can feel it, and she’s learning that her spidey senses are right more often than not.
It seems that all of it, ALL OF IT, all the flirting and the heart-eyed emojis and the ‘I have a thing for your hair‘s and ‘You’re awesome‘s and the ‘You’re stunning‘s… all of it, meant nothing. He was just using her. Getting reassurance and a boost for his fragile ego, which has been bruised by the ending of his relationship. He was never really interested in her, which is why he was so flaky about asking her out on a date. It wasn’t because he was shy, or afraid of ruining the friendship, or uncertain of her feelings. He was just never really that interested. He simply wanted to be reassured that he isn’t going to be single forever, that he still ‘has it’.
In other words, he was fucking using her.
And now that he’s discovered Bumble, he no longer needs her. He’s off swiping and flirting with other girls, girls who are more interesting because they are mysterious and new and he hasn’t seen them cry, or with 3-day hair, or bedraggled from getting caught in the rain, or any of the other things he’s seen Lucy do over the course of their friendship.
This realisation makes her deeply disappointed. For a few weeks she has allowed herself to get her hopes up that this could be something real. The possibility of – whisper it – an actual relationship with a great guy. And not just any guy – one who knows her, who knows her crazy, who’s seen her at her worst, and still thinks she’s great. After many years of swiping, and dating, finally she thought she might be able to put it all behind her.
But it was all an illusion. And the injustice of it all is driving her crazy. If he were just another stranger off a dating app, it’d be easy enough to let it go. But he’s not a stranger. He’s her friend. And for him to start ghosting her is completely unacceptable.
She needs to speak to him.
But she mustn’t, she can’t. Must. Resist.
Her resolve lasts a couple of days, but eventually, after a few drinks on a Friday night, her twitchy texting finger gets the better of her.
Literally the second she’s hit send, she regrets it. But it’s too late now. It’s out there.
Not that it really matters, since yet again Amir doesn’t reply.
After two more days of silence, Lucy texts her friend Lily for a rant. She replies in the concise and practical way only Lily can.
The longest week
On Monday, he still doesn’t reply. Lucy is starting to seethe with indignation.
Over the course of the day she checks WhatsApp a few times. He’s been online regularly, so he’s definitely not dead.
Maybe he’s just busy. But it’s been over a week. No one is that busy!
On Tuesday, he doesn’t reply.
Lucy’s sadness has turned to full-blown anger. She’s aware that she should just let it go. But she can’t. She is SO ANGRY. He promised he wouldn’t ghost her. She’s not some random girl on a dating app. She’s LUCY! Supposedly his friend. Supposedly the woman he thinks is ‘stunning’ and ‘a beauty’ and who ‘gets hotter every time he sees her’. So why can’t have the FUCKING DECENCY TO FUCKING REPLY?!
She needs to know if the reason he’s gone silent is because he’s met someone else. So she comes up with a cunning plan. She decides to call Rick, Amir’s best friend and godfather to his children. Lucy’s known Rick for almost as long as she’s known Amir, when they all worked together. If anyone can shed any light on this, it’s him.
So in an effort to get her blood pressure back down to normal levels, she invents a totally-made-up work-related question Rick will know the answer to, and calls him. He solves the fictitious problem immediately.
“Thanks!” Lucy says. “You know we should totally get together for a drink soon. It’s been ages!”
Rick agrees that it has, and they should.
“We should get Amir to come too,” Rick adds.
“Ok,” agrees Lucy, though she’s not sure how she feels about this now. “Only I think he might be busy,” she adds. “I sent him a message the other day, and he hasn’t replied.
Rick unhelpfully agrees that Amir might indeed be busy, but says he hasn’t spoken to him in a while, so doesn’t really know what’s going on.
“But I think he might still be having issues with Julie,” he adds.
Could this be it? He’s withdrawn because of ongoing issues with his ex-partner?
“But last time I saw him he seemed ok,” Lucy tells Rick. “He was asking for advice about online dating. How’s that working out for him?”
“I think he might have been on a few dates. I think there was one girl he saw a few times. I don’t really know.”
You don’t really know?! What kind of best fucking friend are you anyway, Rick?!
Men are useless. Why does anyone even bother?
Rick’s wife is due to have her first child in a matter of weeks. He tells Lucy it’d be nice to meet up for a drink before the baby comes, so they agree to go out next week. He offers to call Amir and invite him too.
Lucy’s not too sure about this. Does she even want to see Amir after this? Unlikely. Not that the drink is likely to happen anyway – these boys are just too fucking flaky. And even if Rick manages to show up, will he bring Amir? Seems doubtful.
On Wednesday Amir still hasn’t fucking replied to the messages. By now, like one of the stages of grief, Lucy’s anger has subsided to resignation and acceptance. But she’s still hurt and mystified. Why would he lead her on like that, only to drop her so resoundingly?
It bugs her all day. It bugs her so much that she realises that it will continue to bug her unless she does something about it. So she calls him.
She knows she’s not supposed to. She knows it’s breaking all the rules. But the game is already lost, that’s clear. So it doesn’t matter any more. She’s no longer playing to win, she just wants answers.
The call goes to voicemail. She leaves a message, trying to keep her voice as light as possible.
“Maaaate! S’Lucy! Just calling to check up on you, cos, y’know, you seem to have vanished! Which is a bit weird, cos you’re normally pretty good at replying! So I’m thinking either you’re dead, or I’ve done something to upset you… in which case I’m sorry! Either way, call me and let me know! Ok bye!”
Afterwards, she feels better. But it’s a temporary fix. She knows if he doesn’t respond soon, the whole cycle of fury will begin again… only ten times worse.
On Thursday he doesn’t reply, but instead he casually likes one of her photos on Instagram. Lucy nearly bursts a blood vessel.
By Saturday the anxiety and stress has returned. She goes to a spinning class and feels like she might have a heart attack. With nothing to distract her mind, only pedalling, her over-active brain starts going into overdrive trying to figure out what to do. Should she call Rick and ask him to investigate? Should she call Amir and leave a frank and honest message about how hurt and upset she is? In her head she starts imagining what such a message would say… and as she does she can feel her blood pressure and heart rate going through the roof. Her chest feels tight and she starts finding it hard to breathe – and she’s pretty sure it’s not just because she’s in an exercise class.
On Sunday he still hasn’t replied. Lucy wishes she could calm down and let it go, but it’s impossible. She knows that contacting him again would only let him know how much he’s affected her – and why should she give the fuckboy that satisfaction? It will only make him think she’s crazy. Which perhaps she is.
But she can’t let it go. She needs an explanation. So she takes a deep breath and calls him – and this time there is no playing it cool. Her pulse is racing and she tries to keep her voice steady.
“So, hey, it’s me again. Listen, you still haven’t got back to me, so clearly there is something going on. Maybe you’re just too busy, but no one is so busy they can’t reply to a simple message in over a week. Plus you weren’t too busy to like one of my pictures on Instagram. So clearly there is something going on. And I know things seem to have got a bit weird between us, but I wish you would just talk to me, because we’ve been friends for a long time, and you promised me you wouldn’t ghost me. When I said I’d give you 6 months before you became a dating app fuckboy, you said you wouldn’t, but already you’re exhibiting typical fuckboy behaviour. So please, mate, just talk to me, because I’m getting pretty upset about this now. Ok, bye.”
By the time she gets to the end she can feel herself starting to tear up and her voice is beginning to shake. She hangs up quickly.
About a minute later he texts back.
And that is all. She doesn’t reply.
An hour later, her phone pings again.
Fuck. So now she looks like the crazy one who has massively overreacted. But has she? Lucy doesn’t think so. But there’s a decent chance she’s so blinking barmy she wouldn’t even realise.
Sometimes Lucy just wishes she could get the fuck out of her own head.
But at least he’s replied. And now the ball is firmly back in her court, Lucy can stop stressing, and wondering, and getting upset. Instead of being powerless, now she has the power. And she’s not afraid to use it – by giving him a taste of his own medicine. Let him see how he likes being ghosted.
A few days later, Rick gets back in touch, wanting to know if she’s still up for that drink. Lucy would love to see him, but she definitely doesn’t want to go if Amir will be there.
“No, he’s away with work.”
“Oh what a shame,” Lucy lies. “Just you and me then!”
Lucy’s hoping Rick can shed some light on the whole situation. She wonders if Amir has said anything to his mate about what’s been going on with her, or whether there is something else going on she doesn’t know about.
And as if his sixth sense knows he’s going to be the hot topic of conversation, that very afternoon Amir calls her. Twice.