What To Do When Your Grieving Friend Ghosts You

Jun 30, 2024

You think your grieving friend could really use some support right now, so you reach out to check in. Maybe ask if they want to grab coffee and catch up about what's going on in their life. But instead of the conversation you were hoping for, you're met with radio silence. Your friend has gone totally MIA, ignoring your texts and calls like you never even existed.

Or maybe you notice they've been increasingly distant and withdrawn. You try to open up a dialogue about whatever difficult situation they're facing, but instead of letting you in, they completely shut down. A wall goes up, and your friend doesn't seem to want to discuss anything too heavy.

Either way, their isolating behavior stings. You understand they're grappling with pain and grief, but being on the receiving end of that distance leaves you feeling helpless and shut out.You might be taking it personally, like you're being punished for trying to show up during their darkest times.

So, then you’re stuck:  Should you keep trying to connect, or give them the space they seem to need? Take the risk of smothering them with reassuring check-ins that you're here for them, or back off entirely for a while?

Let’s reframe this entire situation through a more grief-informed lens. Grief can make people behave in seemingly contradictory, unpredictable ways as they navigate the chaos. And it probably has absolutely nothing to do with you, or how you are or aren’t showing up for your friend.

Here are some tips on what to do next:

Offer opportunities to connect without attachment to the outcome.

Send Low-Pressure Check-Ins:

An occasional "Thinking of you" text without expecting a response. For example: 

  • "Just wanted you to know I'm here if you need me." 
  • "Sending some positive vibes your way today!" 
  • "Your favorite song came on and made me think of you."

Extend Casual Invitations:

  •  You could say something like:

  • "I'm going for a walk tonight. I'd love you to join, no pressure either way." 

  • "Grabbing coffee at 3 pm if you happen to be free and up for company." 

As hurtful as being ghosted can feel, try not to take it as a personal rejection or react by overwhelming your friend with outreach that breeds guilt or obligation. That can make everything worse. 

Grief has its own rhythm.

And here's the thing - your grieving friend will probably "reboard" back into your life soon enough, just as abruptly as they ghosted. For those in the depths of grief, isolating themselves and desperately seeking support can cycle sequentially.

The best path to take is to create a steady backdrop of non-judgmental support and care - no matter where your friend is on their path at any given point.

Join the Grieve Leave movement

Share your info to join our Grieve Leave community. You don’t want to miss anything!