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How to stop ghosting your friends, as told by a serial ghoster

Written by
Time Out London contributor

It’s difficult to accept you have a problem. Nobody likes to say ‘I need help’. But there comes a point where things need to change. I’m David, I’m 37, and I can’t stop ghosting.

Last night, I was having a great time with mates in a beer garden in Clapton. It was a bit windy but we were sat next to one of those heaters, so the temperature was fine, actually. I was quite hungry as it had been a few hours since our organic roast at a pub round the corner, but they had a wide selection of locally sourced crisps at the bar, so we were okay.

I was drinking red wine, which always makes me sleepy. My glass of wine was huge, like Craig David’s forehead. My friend Lauren said that maybe I should drink something else so I don’t get sleepy. ‘It’s fine, Lauren’, I said, ‘I’m not feeling sleepy.’

We were playing that game where someone puts a phone on their forehead and the name of a celebrity appears on screen. It’s an app. Everyone shouts out clues until the person with the phone on their forehead guesses the celebrity correctly. When ‘Piers Morgan’ appeared, I shouted ‘prick’ and my friend Hannah guessed it straight away! Hilarious. We were having a really nice time.

I excused myself to go to the toilet, passing two of my friends who were having a conversation with the barman. ‘Probably trying to pay for a round of tequilas with Bitcoin’, I thought to myself, hilariously. Then as I approached the door to the gents toilet, I paused. Momentarily paralysed by an out-of-body experience. Was it the cock with the smiley face that someone had hilariously drawn under the word ‘gents’? No, it wasn’t that. This was something else. It was a new reality that I didn’t know existed until a few seconds ago. It was a feeling of hope, of possibility, of freedom. I could just go home.

As I ordered a halloumi wrap three minutes later in the kebab shop round the corner, and prepared to confirm the pickup location of my Uber (1.2 surge, but YOLO), I should’ve been riddled with guilt. I should’ve pictured their sad faces as it dawned on them that I wasn’t having a poo or chatting to a random at the bar about Donald Trump’s tweets. But I didn’t. The only thing on my mind was halloumi and Pavel, my Uber driver, who was two minutes away but seemingly driving in the wrong direction. My friends had disappeared from my thoughts – vanished like our human rights after Brexit.

It was only at 5am, when I woke up on my sofa with half a halloumi wrap next to my head that I thought of my dear friends. ‘What a prick they must think I am’ I pondered, ‘like that prick, Piers Morgan. I’m Piers Morgan.’

And then the FOMO kicked in. Maybe they went on to another pub? Or a warehouse party? Fuck, what if they went to a warehouse party?! I don’t really like warehouse parties (I always feel self-conscious drinking Oyster Bay wine surrounded by hipsters pouring gin into their eyeballs and snorting Tipex), but if they all went to one last night without me, I’ll be gutted.

‘They probably texted me’, I thought. ‘Calling me a dick for leaving them like that when I was being so hilarious and adorable’. But no, nothing. No texts or missed calls. Not because they don’t like me (I’m hilarious), but because they’re used to this behaviour now. They’ve accepted my ghosting illness. They’re enablers.

But I’m not prepared to accept this anymore. I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life. It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, I’m gonna stay all night. I’ve told my friends that I want to beat this terrible affliction and I need their help.

From now on, when I’m out after 10pm, I’ve asked that all of my trips to the toilet be accompanied by a chaperone. And if they see me glancing at the exit, they’re to drag me back to my seat, hold me down and give me a coffee. I know what you’re thinking: ‘coffee after 10pm? Are you insane?’ and I hear you. Nobody wants coffee at that time, it makes it a little bit harder to sleep. But if it’s a choice between that and ghosting my friends again, pass the soy latte.

Because ultimately, even though I prefer halloumi to socialising, friends are important. There are good ships and wood ships and ships that sail the sea; but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

If you suffer from ghosting, or someone you love is a ghoster, don’t stay silent. It’s no longer an incurable disease. They don’t need your understanding; they need a coffee. Then you can all go to that shit warehouse party together and have an okay time.

By David Levin.

Want to put this advice into practice? Head down to one of London's best pubs – and don't even think about leaving early to get a kebab. 

Okay, if you REALLY need a kebab, grab one of London's best kebabs, at least.

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