Ghosts, Dolly’s debut novel, captures the pure evilness of being ghosted in a funny, heart-warming and emotional way and becoming such a brilliant self-assuring novel.
Nina is 32, living in London and she gets ghosted. BIG TIME. It is INSANE and yet so terrifyingly relatable… at many points of the novel I found myself laughing out loud in a this-is-so-scarily-relatable kind of way.
My Dad asked me the other day what ghosting was. I told him it’s when a person you’re dating just suddenly stops replying and ignores you completely as if you (or they) never existed, they’re like a ghost.
He replied ‘oh I thought it meant that they haunt you’.
And, well, he’s not wrong is he… because when you’re ghosted you spend an extremely unhealthy amount of time thinking about that person. They occupy space in your brain you never knew you had. Every single spare moment of the day is spent thinking about what’s happened to them. Are they dead?! Are they in hospital? And of course you know deep down that they’re just a complete arse, because there’s literally no valid reason to ever ghost a human being. The audacity of it shocks me every time I hear about it or experience it.
In Ghosts, Nina, the protagonist and ghostee, says ‘you made me beg for you to speak to me, to even acknowledge I existed. You made me feel desperate and deluded. You made me feel like you didn’t exist, like I’d made it all up… and I couldn’t say anything because whenever I questioned your coldness, you made me feel like I was crazy’
And just to say it loud enough for the people at the back, it is not and never will be ~crazy~ to expect somebody you are dating, somebody you have given time and energy to, to just simply not disappear of the face of the earth without explanation. Remember that.
Dating apps have made it so easy for people to move on to the next person, disregarding someone for the most minor thing. There’s literally a list of people in your pocket with crap bios like ‘I like running, beer, a girl up for a good time’. Great, Paul, and I like men who are honest but we can’t have it all x
And whilst I firmly believe people should never settle for ~anything~ less than you deserve, everybody does has ‘baggage’ so to speak. There is not a single person in the world who is society’s idea of ‘perfect’. But, there will be a perfect person for them. That’s just how it works. So, having a rotation of people to call upon if you find a single flaw in the person you’re dating is weird, it’s unhealthy and honestly it’s just mean. It makes people feel worthless. We’ve well and truly f*cked it as a generation of swipers.
The bar is now so low that we congratulate men when they are, simply, honest. All they have to do is send us one honest sentence (just one) and we’re like ‘wow, really appreciate that thanks’ and then tell our friends ‘at least he was honest, he’s a good guy’. I’m sorry but what the hell is that all about? That should be the bare minimum not the indicator of a good person (it helps make them a good person of course, but it seems to be the level at which we decide right now).
It’s not comfortable to tell someone you don’t want to date them anymore, sure. We can all relate to that, right. It’s not like a fun activity but it’s not like anyone’s asking you to write a thesis on nuclear physics. And it’s not like we can’t handle the honesty. I can guarantee you that Every. Single. One. of my friends can handle the truth. Just like you know full well you can get back on the app and get swiping, so can we. We have just as many opportunities open to us as you do. We can play the game too. In the words of Beyonce, do not for one minute think that you are irreplaceable, to the left to the left…
I’ve watched my friends get hurt, I’ve been hurt myself, I’ve seen it too many times. The words need to be said. People need to be called out on their behaviour, enough is enough.
I recently read a quote on Instagram (you know, those accounts that post motivational quotes so that millennial women like me will repost them to their stories, you know the ones? lol) that said ‘choose yourself. You’ve got shit to do’ and I immediately took a screenshot of it and sent it to my best friend (because I validate following too many of these accounts by sharing them daily with her, she loves me). Anyway, this is the energy that we all need to embody every single day. Men are not going to stop ghosting us. It’s become integral to the society of the f*ck boy (might have to explain to my parents what this means after they’ve read this post, hi Mum) and frankly we’ve got to care less. It will hurt every time, of course it will. But every time, we can choose ourselves again. Feeling loved and being loved is not always about romantic relationships. It’s about surrounding yourself with people and things that make you feel good. Sometimes this is a romantic relationship, sometimes it’s spending the day in bed with an entire tuna pasta bake. Do you, boo. Always choose yourself.
Even though ‘men are trash’ is my favourite thing to say, I know that there are good, nice men out there. My friends have brilliant husbands/fiances/boyfriends (can’t believe I’m old enough to say this), I have incredible brothers (both in long stable relationships in which I presume they treat their girlfriends like queens), I have male friends who are lovely, genuine people. I just hope that, as a society, we can leave the likes of ghosting in 2020… along with Trump (boy byeeeeeeeee), Covid and all the other terrible things that have happened this year. Let’s leave the trash in 2020.
And if you find yourself being the victim of a serial-ghoster, in the words of a millennial Instagram account: choose yourself, you’ve got shit to do
Also read Ghosts by Dolly Alderton.