She Was My Close Girlfriend. Then She Ghosted Me.
Men walk away. Women? We do the work and have the get-it-off-your-chest sister-to-sister convo. There was no way I could have said something in my last talk with Judy to justify throwing away our friendship without so much as a goodbye.
Judy and I weren’t just friends. She was my good girlfriend. You know, the friends who are each other’s first call when we had news, good or bad. The one who really gets you. Our friendship had seen us through bad dates and worse breakups, hospital stays (mine) and the loss of a parent (hers). We made time for girls’ night every month and spent hours on the phone analyzing our lives, plotting our next moves and complaining about our love lives. Our friendship was the kind on which the Lifetime network was built.
I still remember our last conversation: I was packing for a trip to Rome, when she emailed to tell me she’d gotten a great new job and was throwing a mini-party to celebrate at her favorite drinks spot. Naturally, she wanted me to attend. I was thrilled for her but realized I wouldn’t be back in time, so I emailed my congratulations, let her know that I couldn’t make it but promised to make plans to take her out to dinner to celebrate.
A week later when I returned home, I called to see how her first day at work went—no answer. I rang again a few hours later, still no answer, and left a message. By the next day when I still hadn’t heard from Judy, I told myself she was probably too busy getting adjusted to a new routine so I emailed instead — no reply.
Just when I started to worry that something had happened, I ran into a mutual friend who raved about how much fun Judy’s party had been and how much she was loving her new job. OK, now I knew something was wrong, but it wasn’t illness or misfortune. Judy was clearly upset with me and I hadn’t a clue why.
I wracked my brain. Was it something I said? Something I didn’t say? I sent Judy a handwritten letter apologizing for any hurt I may have caused and asking her forgiveness and the opportunity to hear her out and make things right. It was a last-ditch effort to repair our broken bond. Her response?
I was devastated.
I was never the type to have a million friends, but I fiercely cling to my besties — my real ones. My squad may have been small, but our bond was mighty. Or so I thought. Try as I might, I really couldn’t think of a reason why she would be this upset with me. I felt sure that silent treatment would eventually give way to a hard-but-needed conversation that would end with a tearful hug and promises all around to do better. After all, that’s what women do. It’s how we face our hurt and heal.
When my birthday rolled around a few weeks later without so much as a text from Judy — we’d celebrated each other’s birthdays together every year — it finally sank in that she had dipped on me. I’d been ghosted. Sorrow slowly gave way to fury. Hold up! Hadn’t Judy and I had many conversations about new boyfriends who had suddenly disappeared in a puff of Drakkar Noir and regret?
Men walk away, women — us — we do the work and have the get-it-off-your-chest sister-to-sister convo. There was no way I could have said something in our last talk to justify throwing away our friendship without so much as a goodbye.
I get that saying nothing and leaving without a trace is a neater solution than having a big confrontation — for the ghost. As the ghostee, what was I supposed to do with all my unresolved feelings? A wise friend I confided in reassured me that the issue was Judy’s and not mine, and she encouraged me to focus on creative projects and self-care.
Time went on. Work, hobbies, dating and my close-knit family demanded more of my attention. I mostly did a good job of burying my feelings about Judy. Sure, there were moments when something crazy happened at work, or I had a great first date or Scandal got really good, that I would catch myself wanting to call my old friend and dish. But those instances became fewer and further between.
In the years since that last conversation with Judy, I’m no more enlightened now as to why she pulled a Swayze on me than I was back then. Whenever I see her comment on a mutual friend’s social media post, I get a twinge of regret that I never, at least, got closure. But I no longer carry any guilt for some infraction I may or may not have made.
For her part, Judy recently revealed to a friend that she felt embarrassed by her behavior towards me. Does that mean there’s a possibility that we might one day have that cathartic, break-out-the-tissues, “girl, I’ve missed you” moment? I’m not counting on it — there’s been an ocean of water under that bridge — but I’m also not ruling it out.