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Forums » RP Discussion » Confessions of a Chronic Ghost

So, this isn't a thread I make with any amount of pride--or any amount of shame, for that matter. It’s just a difficult thing I deal with in a hobby I try to enjoy. And I hope to god this isn't something that's going to hurt my chances on finding rp partners in the future, but I’ve seen some brief talk about this and I want to talk about it a little further. Maybe hear from some people who’ve been in a similar spot before?

I am a ghost. Full stop. I don't TRY to be, I don’t WANT to be. In fact if I'm actually not enjoying a roleplay I'm typically pretty good about letting my partner know I don't want to continue. It's always the roleplays I really, really like that I ghost. I never realize when I’m doing it, and I always hate that it’s happened once I realize.

It normally happens in the early stages of a roleplay, right before we really get the ball rolling. Sometimes it’s just that my attention isn’t caught yet, and I get distracted. Sometimes it’s a matter of a busy life and a full schedule.

Most of the time, though, I just get anxious. I get up in my head, and I want my response to be good, and I think I’m just not in a headspace to write right now, I’ll come back later.

In my mind at this point there’s no reason to drop them a message letting them know that I’ll be a bit, cause I’m planning on responding tomorrow! Or this weekend! I’m literally not going to be gone for that long, it’s fine.


And then life gets in the way, or I open the roleplay and freeze up again, or something else happens and one way or another roleplay falls by the wayside. (Sometimes the chat just gets buried and I forget.) And before I know it, I’m 3 or 4 months away from a roleplay I _swear_ I just responded to a couple of weeks ago.

It’s gotten to the point where _starting_ roleplays, where even messaging someone new on rpr is anxiety inducing. Because I just cannot keep that ball rolling.

But yeah, that’s it, I’ve watched a lot of fun roleplays and potential roleplays tank and I’m t i r e d of it. I’m stuck in a weird limbo between _I want roleplay to be fun again_ and _It won’t be fun if I’m forcing myself to do it._ Right now my tactic is working on my organization. Like putting all my rps higher up in my discord sidebar so I see them more often. I’m not sure how that’ll serve me yet, but it's worth a try. I’ve considered being upfront about this issue to open the door for better communication, but, “Hey, I might accidentally ghost you.” Doesn’t seem like a good thing to lead with.

Have any of yall dealt with this or experienced this?

P.S. If you're one of my neglected rp partners, I know I've ghosted you and I am so sorry. You can absolutely respond to this tho
Hey there! You've been part of this site for awhile, right? (Sorry, my memory is terrible, especially with names!) Well, either way, the first thing I want to say (as someone who's personally familiar with anxiety that gets in the way of things) the easier-said-than-done: Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm not saying that as a "don't worry, be happy" kind of thing, either. Oof, I want to explain better, but nothing on that is coming out right. ^^; I do think it's good that you're speaking up, though, and it sounds like you're working on ways to improve your situation!

Much of what you said definitely does sound familiar to me (from both sides, actually!), and I know that once those cycles of anxiety, self-doubt, and "I screwed up" get going, it can be really hard to get out of them. And to be clear, I still struggle with that - far more than I ever tell people, actually, even though I'm often pretty open about it. Sometimes it's easier to handle than others, and a lot of factors can play into that, plenty of which are things I simply have no control of, but I can still try to influence things with the factors I do have at least some control of.

Something you've probably seen plenty of times and will probably see plenty more: I encourage you to reach out to those folks with a "hey, I'm sorry I lost track of things, are you cool with continuing?" or a "sorry, I'm a bit stuck in these scene; can we skip forward to x?" or whatever else fits. Awhile back, I actually set up a thread awhile back specifically for the purpose of practicing things a person could do/say to improve communication, particularly with regard to, well, not ghosting people (and not jumping to the conclusion of having been ghosted without trying to check in, first). It was actually pinned for awhile, but it wasn't used a great deal in that time, and being such a divisive subject, things sometimes strayed a bit to the side and/or could be considered a bit antagonistic. If you'd like to look through to see if you can find anything useful, though, that thread can be found here: Practice Avoiding Ghosting.

As for methods to help you, organization is definitely a good place to start.

Most of my RPs here have been through PMs, and something I'll do to help me keep track of things is to "mark as unread" until I actually respond to it. That way the little message icon by my name still lets me know there's something and the message stays highlighted and up at the top of my inbox, right in my face (this could also be done if you realize you should say something to the other person, but for some reason can't at that particular moment). If you sort things into folders (which work a little weird on RPR, but the feature does exist), messages marked as unread will still sit at the top in that folder and cause a number to display by the folder for each "unread" message in it; the down side to folders is that it's easier to end up "tuning them out" than with stuff in your main inbox. ^^;

You mentioned Discord. My knowledge of it it pretty limited, but I do know there's ways to sort things and adjust notifications settings for a lot of stuff.

It might be worth looking into methods and tools used by folks with ADHD (regardless of if you have it). Find some that sound good to you and try them out. It's usually good to keep it as simple as possible, and if needed, slowly build your way up into more "complex" method systems. Some people try to overdo things and simply end up unable to keep up with it. Some "tricks" only work for awhile, too, and some folks may find it's necessary to periodically switch to a new method to sort of reset once a current one stops working (but you may be able to cycle through some particular set, so returning to a prior method is familiar enough to get into more easily, but still feels fresh again).

As for mentioning things, the "hey I might ghost you" may not be the best way to put it, but it's completely okay to let someone know that you have difficulty with losing track of things even when you really love it, and to encourage them to reach out to you. I try to make it very clear that it's always okay to give me a little poke and ask what's up, since I can absolutely lose track of things still, as well as become "blind" to things right in front of my face if they stay there long enough (if something sits long enough, it starts to mentally register as just "part of the landscape"). It's still good to do your best and not leave them feeling like they have to do all the work of keeping the thing going or to give too much room for anxiety-thoughts like "are they just pretending to like this to be polite?" But it can still be a big help.

One other thing when anxiety starts cycling through all the questions of what could go wrong, how bad saying anything might turn out, how upset the other person might be, etc, is something that might seem a bit counter-intuitive: basically, answer those questions. It ties into something referred to as "coping ahead." Instead of letting those worries run rampant in your mind, you grab the thought and follow it through with more of a problem-solving mentality. What is the worst outcome you could see happening, how bad it it really, and what are ways you could handle it? What's the most likely negative outcome, and how will you handle that if it happens? What's really the most likely outcome, how do you feel about it, and how might you handle it? If another worry comes up, you do the same for that. So long as you don't let those thoughts sweep you away again (or at least find a way to re-focus if they do), there can be a number of benefits to this. It forces your worries into a tangible reality, so they can't be spooky shadows anymore. It lets you process some of the feelings in advance and plan things out, so you can feel more ready to handle things. It can help reshape pathways in your brain, too, so it should get easier over time as you practice. And very often, things will probably turn out a lot better than your expectations, which can also help reinforce the idea that it's okay to reach out.

I was going to try to go through an example, but I'm slow and it's late and my brain is shutting down. ^^; I suppose that if you want to and would feel comfortable with it, though, you could send me a message with some example of your own or something. Whether you'd even want me to respond/participate in your thought process is entirely up to you, and you could even write it all up and then decide that it already served its purpose (being a focal point to put things into words more easily) and it's not important to actually send it.
Ruberiot Topic Starter

Zelphyr wrote:
Hey there! You've been part of this site for awhile, right? (Sorry, my memory is terrible, especially with names!) Well, either way, the first thing I want to say (as someone who's personally familiar with anxiety that gets in the way of things) the easier-said-than-done: Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm not saying that as a "don't worry, be happy" kind of thing, either. Oof, I want to explain better, but nothing on that is coming out right. ^^; I do think it's good that you're speaking up, though, and it sounds like you're working on ways to improve your situation!

I'm only going to quote a little, just so its there. Yeah though! I have been on this site for a while, mostly just intermittently putting up ads and browsing for rps, this is my first actual forum post! I didn't grow up in forums so I didn't feel drawn to come in here, but the community seems fun!

It's funny that you bring up adhd without my mentioning it, because I am absolutely adhd, and that absolutely feeds into it. Genuinely funny to me that it shows, lol.

Honestly, even since posting this I started to slip back into the shadows, but I think I figured out a tactic that might work for me this time! Basically, I'm treating it like any of my other hobbies--working out, solo writing, art, video games-- things that I love, and are definitely good for me to keep up with, but I have trouble actually getting past my executive dysfunction. Which is to say I treat them like a looser part of my routine.

Get up, make my bed, cook breakfast, respond to roleplays. Come home, start dinner, workout, roleplay. Just fit it in SOMEWHERE if I can, while at the same time giving myself the flexibility to say, no, I dont feel like it tonight. Just treating it like this, I've been able to get into the groove again a little bit.

Also, a bit of mindfulness goes a long way tbh. Recognizing and admitting that my current partners AREN'T going to act like old toxic partners is hard, but its a big help!
Ruberiot wrote:
I know I've ghosted you and I am so sorry. You can absolutely respond to this tho

Not really ghosting then, the dictionary definition is ignoring with intent, but like literate it sadly is another thing roleplayers proudly misuse to shame eachother. Lots of these same people are proud of gatekeeping and art theft, who cares what they think? Just be upfront if you might lose track of an RP despite your best intentions and the right partners will understand.

I used to let fun RPs go stale, the way to stop that worked was to simply decide I wasn't someone who did that. Overthinking it was time better spent on replies.
I feel like in the end there is a difference between forgetting, getting side tracked, losing the rp and ghosting. Ghosting is usually just vanishing on the person no intent to ever try to talk to them or even get the rp going again. I don't think it is that big of an issue personally either way. Like sure losing a fun rp isn't great but at the end of the day it's chill.
Ruberiot Topic Starter

sland wrote:
Ruberiot wrote:
I know I've ghosted you and I am so sorry. You can absolutely respond to this tho

Not really ghosting then, the dictionary definition is ignoring with intent, but like literate it sadly is another thing roleplayers proudly misuse to shame eachother. Lots of these same people are proud of gatekeeping and art theft, who cares what they think? Just be upfront if you might lose track of an RP despite your best intentions and the right partners will understand.

I used to let fun RPs go stale, the way to stop that worked was to simply decide I wasn't someone who did that. Overthinking it was time better spent on replies.

That's honestly such a good way to think about it, (especially the art theft part, what a pet peeve of mine that is.) But yeah. I think a lot of this is just going to be a matter of reframing
Ruberiot wrote:
sland wrote:
Ruberiot wrote:
I know I've ghosted you and I am so sorry. You can absolutely respond to this tho

Not really ghosting then, the dictionary definition is ignoring with intent, but like literate it sadly is another thing roleplayers proudly misuse to shame eachother. Lots of these same people are proud of gatekeeping and art theft, who cares what they think? Just be upfront if you might lose track of an RP despite your best intentions and the right partners will understand.

I used to let fun RPs go stale, the way to stop that worked was to simply decide I wasn't someone who did that. Overthinking it was time better spent on replies.

That's honestly such a good way to think about it, (especially the art theft part, what a pet peeve of mine that is.) But yeah. I think a lot of this is just going to be a matter of reframing

I'll be really I think a lot of people on this site will be fine if you just go hey I lost track of things. I know I've certainly done it and had to be like listen I wasn't ghosting you life has just been a lot. Luke right now a lot of my rps aren't getting replies fast because I'm super duper writers blocked.
Ruberiot wrote:
"... If I'm actually not enjoying a roleplay I'm typically pretty good about letting my partner know I don't want to continue. It's always the roleplays I really, really like that I ghost. I never realize when I’m doing it, and I always hate that it’s happened once I realize.

It normally happens in the early stages of a roleplay, right before we really get the ball rolling. Sometimes it’s just that my attention isn’t caught yet, and I get distracted. Sometimes it’s a matter of a busy life and a full schedule.

Most of the time, though, I just get anxious. I get up in my head, and I want my response to be good, and I think I’m just not in a headspace to write right now, I’ll come back later.

In my mind at this point there’s no reason to drop them a message letting them know that I’ll be a bit, cause I’m planning on responding tomorrow! Or this weekend! I’m literally not going to be gone for that long, it’s fine.


And then life gets in the way, or I open the roleplay and freeze up again, or something else happens and one way or another roleplay falls by the wayside. (Sometimes the chat just gets buried and I forget.) And before I know it, I’m 3 or 4 months away from a roleplay I _swear_ I just responded to a couple of weeks ago."

:| ^this^ :|

I get busy life and full schedule! I have had these other issues in the past and I can relate to them as well. Here, I've had a few moments of what I call 'blank page syndrome' when I have time to write but just can't seem to get into the right headspace for the roleplay. I have only paused one here so far and it is no fault of my writing partner. I was just having trouble 'seeing the story' which prevented me from writing a reply. I hope to find the groove for it again though, and I'm fortunate the my writing partners I have here are tolerant of my erratic schedule. I try to let them know when it will be a while before I can reply. I also update my status but I don't know if it gets read.

I also agree with what is said about the term 'ghosting'. I take it to mean abandonment without word. Maybe they disappear altogether, or they are seen around but not communicating anymore. I used to get upset about it, but now take it in stride as the reality of roleplaying, and I move on.

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