If you ever needed proof that ghosting a human being is a thing you absolutely should not do, we present you with Brian*.
Well, the man in question actually decided to remain anonymous because he would do that, wouldn’t he? but for the sake of this story – meet Brian.
Before we begin – ‘ghosting’ is when the person you’re seeing or dating stops all forms of communication with you and quite literally… disappears. They don’t dump you or provide any explanation. One minute they’re at your sister’s birthday dinner, and the next they’re a Missing Person… except they’re completely fine at home they just really don’t want to see you anymore.
Brian wrote to Ask A Manager's Alison Green about a slight conundrum he got himself into to.
"More than a decade ago, when I was still young, I was in a relationship with a woman, Sylvia, in a country where we both lived. Sylvia wanted to settle down but I was not ready to commit so young. We clearly had different expectations from the relationship. I did not know what to do and, well, I ghosted her. Over the Christmas break, while she was visiting her family, I simply moved out and left the country. I took advantage of the fact that I accepted a job in another country and did not tell her about it. I simply wanted to avoid being untangled in a break-up drama. Sylvia was rather emotional and became obsessed with the relationship, tracking me down, even causing various scenes with my parents and friends."
Oh, yes. How 'emotional' of Sylvia to kick up a fuss when her boyfriend literally disappeared into thin air. SHE PROBABLY THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD, BRIAN. I would hope she'd contact your poor friends and family who she probably thought were GRIEVING.
Brian's letter continues, "I now work as a math teacher in an international school. I have been in other relationships since, so Sylvia is a sort of forgotten history. Sadly, till now. This week, I learnt that our fantastic school director suddenly resigned due to a serious family situation and had to move back to her home country over the summer. The school had to replace her. We are getting a new director. I read the bio of the new boss and googled her and was shocked to discover it is Sylvia. We have not been in touch and do not have any mutual friends anymore. I am not a big fan of social media and had no idea what she had been up to since the unpleasant situation a long time ago."
Sylvia is a legend and this is literally every woman's fantasy.
Poor Brian has "no idea what to do and how to deal with this mess," that he absolutely created. It is all very stressful for poor Brian who was very much convinced that when you stop talking to someone they disappear and somehow no longer exist on the earth we all populate.
"Do you have any suggestions for me how to handle it and what should I do? I understand that this would not have happened if I did not ghost her back then, but I cannot do anything about it now. I gathered from the comments that readers usually have a go on people like me for 'bad behavior' but I am really looking for constructive comments how to deal with the situation."
Green's first instinct was to write back to Brian and gauge how long they were in a relationship for (sensible).
IT WAS THREE YEARS. THREE.
That is so many years too long to ghost somebody.
POST CONTINUES BELOW: We discuss a career listener question on Mamamia Out Loud.
Sympathy for Brian and his career conundrum is, well, non-existent.
Green suggests he begin by apologising and ask her what she'd like to do. You know, actually speak to her. Which will be a unique and also enlightening experience for Brian.
Ah - let this be a lesson to us all.