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Ask Amy: Relationship ghosters become friendship zombies

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: A few years ago, friends of many years ghosted me, for no apparent reason. This was painful and confusing.

I moved on, maintaining friendships with others in what had been our common social group.

Now, as suddenly as I was exiled years ago, my former friends, "The Ghosters," have begun including me once again in invitations.

I'm not sure how to respond, although I guess the stress I am feeling right now indicates that I have a clear choice?

Can you offer your advice?

-- Ghosted

 

Dear Ghosted: The act of "ghosting" (cutting someone off suddenly and without explanation) is intended to protect the perpetrator from consequences. Sometimes people ghost others because it would not be safe for them to actually say "goodbye," but mainly -- ghosting is an act of social cowardice. The person being ghosted is supposed to catch on over time that the relationship is a non-starter, or over. Both parties are expected to move on.

All of this is a relationship-ending reality. But in your case, the ghosters have come back from the dead and are now engaged in yet more behavior that you are supposed to both ignore and accept.

They are friendship zombies.

This invitation has you feeling stressed and bewildered. You don't sound grateful to hear from them, or eager to wordlessly re-enter their lives. However, unlike the period where you were being ignored by them, you now have a little bit of power.

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