friendship

"I first met Hattie at a dinner with friends. She left me no choice but to ghost her."

When you think of the term ghosting, what springs to mind is often the rather sudden disappearance of a guy after a ‘situationship’, where the ghosted party is left wondering… why?

“Why isn’t he answering my texts?”

“Why isn’t he responding to my DMs?”

“He’s not liking what I’m posting anymore.”

“Hell, why the f*** has he unfollowed me?!”

ICYMI: Ghosting – you date someone and then they just disappear. Post continues after video. 

Having spent the majority of my twenties in this horrid space of limbo many times over, I knew only too well that feeling of never quite knowing why this person didn’t want to spend time with me, let alone contact me. It’s demoralising, confidence-thumping, and just downright lazy. You’re left questioning what exactly it is about you that they didn’t think was good enough.

Which is why I surprised myself when last year I actively chose to inflict this man-child move on someone I knew; a woman.

I first met Hattie* through friends of mine. I recall the very first group dinner she attended, and my initial impression was that she was extremely assertive. Which is cool, I like assertiveness, and I take no issue with a confident woman who knows what she wants. All power to her. But over the course of the evening, the assertiveness turned into dominance. Nothing kills conversation more than an overly opinionated person who takes over the discussion. I also noticed that my own points were often swiftly challenged by Hattie. It happened once. Twice. Three times. Was it just my imagination, or was she targeting me specifically? “No, it couldn’t be”, I told myself. I shook it off, kept an open mind, and tried to look forward to the next meet up.

While the group usually met up at various restaurants around the city, this time Hattie volunteered to host a dinner at her home, and each guest was asked to bring a dish. So I carpooled with a friend, and the minute we stepped through the door, we were put to work. “Interesting greeting”, I thought to myself. I ended up cooking the main meal that Hattie provided, and my friend mixed the margaritas. In retrospect it bothers me, but at the time I considered it just an unusual way of hosting. The remaining guests arrived, and Hattie was mingling with them while we worked.

ADVERTISEMENT

We then all sat at the table, and I happened to be placed right next to Hattie, which meant I wouldn’t be able to escape conversation with her. Chit-chat ensued, and this time, it wasn’t just my imagination. Every single point I raised, or opinion I proffered, wasn’t just negated, it was attacked. It became clear to the whole table that this woman had something against me. What it was, I have no idea.

Caspering Is The New Ghosting. Post continues after audio.

The final straw came when Hattie complimented just about everyone’s dish, except the one that I had brought (not to mention the one I cooked on her behalf). I was stuck in my seat, frozen. Hattie was a bully and she succeeded in silencing me. And disappointingly, she also silenced every guest around me. No one stood up for me, which I get is hard when you’re literally on the bully’s turf. However, the person I was most disappointed in was actually me.

Over the next couple of days, I felt enraged at myself for not standing up to her and leaving. All the old feelings of schoolyard and workplace bullies rose to the surface. I was livid that I didn’t give her a piece of my mind right then and there. But then it dawned on me. Hattie indeed succeeded in silencing me… so now I was going to use silence against her.

I initially toyed with the idea of calling her or writing her a private message to outlay her despicable behaviour, but I thought this just doesn’t cut it with people like Hattie. This is a person who has spent years rising through the ranks in the corporate world, and knows how to negotiate like a pro and manipulate like a fiend. The one thing people like Hattie hate is to be ignored. So I ghosted her.

I unfollowed her. I didn’t respond to her group messages. In fact, to my surprise, no one did. I guess in their own way, they all stood up for me after all. Eventually, she got the picture, and subsequently didn’t join the group again. I heard through mutual friends that she’s super pissed about what happened, but I think she’s old enough to take a bit of self-reflection time to ponder her behaviour.

Life is way too short to spend precious time with toxic people who revel in undermining you. And sometimes you have to take drastic measures. You might think that by ghosting her I was a coward, immature, or scared of confrontation. But guess what? Sorry, but I’m just not sorry.

*Not her real name.

Tanya Garma is a brand strategist, writer and podcaster from Melbourne, who lives in Munich, Germany. You can follow her on Instagram at @tanyagarma.

00:00 / ???