top of page

When Your Friend Pulls a Vanishing Act

Sarah Beth Wiley

Creative Director

man alone, ghosted by friends

We talk a lot about setting boundaries, to keep those who affect us negatively from causing us pain. But what if you somehow find yourself on the other side of that situation?

I thought ghosting only happened in casual dating

If we are talking about romantic relationships, there is, and always has been, a level of ghosting that can happen which is part of what we call “looking for the one”. But what about a long-time friend? Have you ever been ghosted by someone you considered family? We all have many friends, and unlike casual acquaintances or romantic partners, long-time friendships are rooted in years of history and shared memories. When a friend suddenly disappears from our lives, it can feel like a betrayal of those experiences, leaving us questioning the authenticity of the relationship and our own sense of worth, and cringing every time they show up in a photo or video, or just a passing thought.

Being ghosted by a long-time friend can be a uniquely painful experience, leaving behind a void that is difficult to fill. One of the most challenging aspects of being ghosted by a friend is the lack of closure. Unlike romantic relationships where there may be some expectation of communication breakdowns, friendships are typically seen as more stable and enduring. The sudden silence from a long-time friend can leave us grappling with a myriad of unanswered questions: What did I do wrong? Did I misinterpret our friendship? Was our connection ever genuine?

How do you deal with radio silence?

There is definitely a temptation to dwell on the unanswered questions and seek closure from the friend who ghosted you, especially in the beginning if there is a specific breaking point where the friend lets you know they are not answering your texts or calls and then blocks you. It's important to recognize that closure may never come. Instead, you can only focus on finding closure within yourself.

Recognize that the ghosting says more about the friend's inability to communicate than any shortcomings on your part.

In addition to self-reflection, seeking support from other friends and loved ones who know you both can be very helpful. Maybe they’ve ghosted many friends and they can give you a unique understanding, or at least commiserate. One mutual friend said, “I didn’t realize you had to be perfect to be his friend.” And as we all know, no one is perfect, so where does that leave you?

Focus on the people who uplift and validate you, who remind you of your worth and the value of your friendship. Ultimately, being ghosted by a long-time friend is a painful reminder that relationships are dynamic and ever-changing. While it may be tempting to hold onto the past and cling to what once was, it's important to embrace the present moment and cultivate new connections that nourish your soul.

What’s the end game?

Remember that you are deserving of friendships that are built on mutual respect, communication, and genuine care. My oldest and dearest friends know there is not one thing either of us could do to remove ourselves from the friendship. Sometimes you believe that to be true with a person, and then you have to come to terms with the fact that the friendship has ended. That does not mean you should cut yourself off from new experiences and relationships, and in the end, it can really make you value those that you know you can always count on. Focus on the positive and resist the urge to think negatively about the “ex-friend”. Sometimes there could be something you don’t realize is the reason for the ghosting, and ultimately need to respect the resolution.

It has also been helpful to have a friend group within the WhiteFlag app. They are not part of the friend group who actually know the parties involved, but sometimes that is better. You are able to share more, because your WhiteFlag friends cannot share your thoughts with that person or anyone involved, which can be a comforting feeling as we navigate through relationships, and life.


Connect with someone who understands on WhiteFlag: a free, anonymous, peer support network. Now!

Your feedback matters! Share what you think.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page