Haunted by a Ghost: When Someone Disappears, Then Later Resurfaces

By Rachel Puryear

On this blog, I’ve made no secret what I think about people who intentionally ghost someone – that is, they disappear on you suddenly and without warning, often for no apparent reason.

Sometimes, ghosting follows an intensive love bombing campaign, only for them to go “poof” when they got what they want from you. Often, they go from distant to non-existent in your life following a period of increasingly stringing you along, just enough to keep you in their grips. Or, a friendship might naturally run its course, and each person stops staying in touch.

At other times, though, someone can accidentally “ghost” – they might lose track of how long it’s been since they reached out, but then reach out again, and make a genuine effort to catch up. The key to the “accidental ghost” is that you’re each interested in how the other has been, and you’re both making the effort to reach back out (without underlying motives). In this case, if you’re both sincere, and glad to see/hear from one another again, it’s most likely worthwhile to resume the friendship/relationship.

Person dressed as a ghost, wearing sunglasses, giving a peace sign, and carrying a jack-o-lantern.

In any event, here are a few ways you can respond to a resurfacing “ghost”. Which one is right for you depends upon the circumstances, and what you think is right for you.

Call the Ghostbusters

There are some people you just should not let back in your life at all – no matter how sorry they claim to be, no matter how nicely they’re asking now, or even how charming they might be.

If they created a lot of unnecessary drama in your life before, if they were abusive – emotionally, physically, financially, or otherwise; if they lied to you or about you, if they used you, if they consistently took but didn’t give back, if they are emotional manipulators, if they tried to come between you and people who love and support you, if they intentionally interfered with your dreams and goals, if they play the victim frequently, if they last left you high and dry by ghosting you with no regard for your well-being while they callously disappeared on you, if your gut feeling is telling you to keep this person the hell away no matter how tempting they might otherwise be; do yourself a favor and keep that door firmly closed.

If such a person comes around “haunting” you after they ghosted you, and they are showing up again wanting something from you, it’s time to bust that ghost.

Turn the tables and block them everywhere, giving them no responses. If you would rather give them a piece of your mind, you can do that, too – just make sure you can do that without them talking their way back into your life again, or making yourself vulnerable to them in doing so.

Welcome Them Back Gladly, and Make Time to Catch Up Soon

This is most appropriate for the “accidental” ghost, or someone who had good reasons to step back temporarily (and hopefully that was communicated appropriately) but are ready to resume whatever they had with you. There should be a gut feeling here that the person is being truthful, and also cares about your feelings.

If that’s the case, feel free to enjoy getting together with them, and rekindling the good times. Now is also an opportunity to mutually communicate about how you’d like to better keep in touch in the future.

Let Them Back In – But to a Limited Extent

Sometimes, things aren’t always so black and white. Some people in our lives have good intentions, but they’re still capable of creating a lot of problems without necessarily meaning to do so. Or, maybe we share a lot in common with them, but we also have sharp differences with them.

Maybe those differences and problems drove you and them apart, despite still caring for and wanting the best for each other. Perhaps once time has softened the anger and frustration, you miss the good and fun times with them.

They might feel the same way, and therefore contact you again, wanting to rekindle that flame.

This one is definitely tricky. You want to enjoy the things you love about them, but you also dread the inevitable conflicts with them. You can do both of these things at the same time, and it’s totally normal – this is the classic love/hate relationship.

Should you let this person back into your life? Well, it depends, and of course that’s a decision that only you can make.

But here’s what I’d suggest considering – letting them back in to a limited extent, if at all. Only if it’s possible to set healthy boundaries, and not depend on them for anything important. Having them just on the periphery of your life, rather than being central to it. Just make sure you can both set and agree to those limits.


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Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to well-thought-out boundaries with other people. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you have not done so already. xoxo

Check out my other blog, too – Free Range Life, at https://freerangelife.net. It’s about road trips, parks and places to see, van and RV life, working remotely and managing finances to go on the road, and occasional political commentary.

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One response to “Haunted by a Ghost: When Someone Disappears, Then Later Resurfaces”

  1. […] who cares about you doesn’t just enjoy your company when it’s convenient for them, or put your friendship/relationship on ice as a back-up until they’ve got “nothing […]

    Like

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