What you need to know:
Give me the dignity of being disgusted with you face to face; because hurt people hurt people
It was too good. In fact, it was too true to be good. She was one of those Nairobi girls, not from Kanairo exactly, but just around. A certain kind of girl, wasp-waisted, West-of-Uhuru-Highway face, duck lips, and intelligent enough to be a sparkling conversationalist, witty with the comeback but not necessarily intellectually aggressive enough to call me out on my, well, BS. Halo bias aside, she was a callipygian with more curves than Thika Superhighway, yet still thicker than Monday’s 6.37am jam. In other words, she was just what my WebMD ordered, just my type. Until she wasn’t.
What happened? She ghosted me. What’s important are not the details but the pronoun placement—"she” preceding “me.” But there is no villain here. My TikTok life coach suggests I repeat this mantra to myself. So I do. There is no villain here. It is the phenomenon Chinua Achebe described in his classic, Things Fall Apart: “If I hold her hand she says, ‘Don’t touch!’ If I hold her foot she says, ‘Don’t touch!’ but when I hold her waist beads, she pretends not to know. Ghosting is Gen Z’s blue-ticking answer to millennials’ grey ticks.
She fell off from the face of the earth, leaving me high and dry, like a Kenyan mwananchi waiting for change from the government. She was here, and then she was gone, and then I wasn’t sure that she was ever here, to begin with. (Most) women will tell you that communication is key, but what they leave out is that they have changed the lock. This generation is poor at communication. First, if it is not for the shortened words and acronyms, if you just don’t know you just won’t fit in. TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read); DTR – (Define the Relationship). And my personal favourite: WTF—(What The Fun). I know what you were thinking.
Language, of course, has always been used as a means of discrimination. Its motive is not to enlighten but to exclude. I get it. Something changes in you when you are ghosted without communication, something goes out of your life forever, altering your behaviour significantly, the behaviour of a man who had lost a great perhaps the great-love of their life, and had no way to tell anyone about it. Hurt people, hurt people kind of thing.
Men (and women) have been ghosted over everything from having your mouth smell like a baboon’s ass to (deep breath) squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle (which if you ask me is psychotic behaviour). The truth is, the reasons don’t matter. There is a reason for every ghosting, and a ghost for every reason. Unlike being ignored, ghosting says, “You just aren’t worth the trouble. I have read your message and I’d rather clean a baboon’s ass than talk to you—no offense to the baboon.”
And, it almost goes without saying, but maybe it should, that ghosting, really, is psychological cruelty.
Uncomfortable? Just don’t respond. A ghost is a spectre, you think it is here, but it really isn’t. To be fair, we’ve all ghosted someone. Or have been ghosted, whether we noticed or not. These are supernatural times. Research shows that there is a link between psychological pain and rejection, meaning one actually feels real tangible pain. That goes for friends, partners, and, even that HR who saw your “I hope this finds you well” email, rolled her eyes and proceeded to drink a mixture of chia seeds and ndimu. It is immature, it is spiteful and worst, it is petty—and I am not just talking about the ndimu.
There is no closure when you are ghosted. Just resentment. Initially, you wonder, “Kwani what’s going on?” Then the self-analysis starts: What’s wrong with me, what’s wrong with them, how didn’t you see this coming? See? Pure psychological terror.
It feels like going through the five stages of (relationship) grief: denial (maybe she hasn’t seen the text, maybe her phone was stolen hapo Githurai by those bad boys of Thika Superhighway); Anger (I hate her! How could she use her phone in Githurai!);Bargaining (If only I didn’t text her, she would not have used her phone in Githurai); Depression (Why bother even dating a girl who lives near Githurai?) and finally, acceptance (It’s for the better that she lost her phone. Now I can focus on my life without thinking about Githurai.)
In a world where social media is the unofficial third wheel in every relationship, give me the dignity of being disgusted with you face to face; because hurt people hurt people. You don’t have to lie or even ghost to break things off. You can just be, well, an adult. I find ghosting immature, irresponsible, and lazy...depending on what mood I'm in. It does not help create an ideal world— in fact, I feel it does the opposite by creating animosity, emotionlessness, and indifference. Communication pushes people to grow and mature. Ghosting doesn't. If you care about someone—or even if you don’t—it is only fair to give the other party an explanation of why you can no longer be part of this relationship, or situationship. In a hyperconnected world, disappearing without a trace is the deepest cut.
Trust me bro, nothing hurts like the Friday night ghosting. We have planned all year, okay all week, to meet on Friday when the night is still young and do safari rally Naivasha things in July-cold Nairobi, things my mom should never hear of, and then you just ghost me? Even after I have been buying groundnuts and Maasai mukombero and taking uji wa njugu—twice a day—do you know how expensive a cup of uji wa njugu is (Sh950 for those who are asking)? Now what am I supposed to do with all these hard feelings and pent-up energy? Who has a shamba I can till?
Ghosting is not O.K. It’s not fair. WTF? Communicate. And, by the way, I’m still waiting for that text. Sijaheal.