“I guess many of you had such problem. I had a really good friend, probably the best one in SL. One day she logged, saying nothing, except "good night" and after that doesn't appear online for about a month. I am sure, she would tell me, about absence, but she just disappeared. I have her in one group, where it is written when was her last online time, and it really was that evening she logged near me...
Do you think there is the way to find her email or something? I just want to hear from her... Do you think, contacting support to ask for her email will help? ”
SommerDai86 [name changed]”
Taken from https://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/bd-p/GeneralDiscussionForum
There are many of us who’ve experienced that exact feeling that SommerDai86 expresses in her forum letter. The concern, the frustration after someone is here with us in SL one day and abruptly gone the next day. There are a few ways someone can “ghost” in SL. The oldest meaning of ‘ghosting’ in world is when your Avi appears online but is actually offline. A glitch.
Then there is being ‘ghosted’ by someone when they abruptly unfriend you or stop communicating with you. The most familiar form of ghosting to most people in world is having someone you know *poof* for a long time or forever.
As SommerDai86 struggles with the loss of her friend, she posts the question, will support (LL) give her an email address. No LL guards our privacy and will not release or assist anyone in finding a missing Avi. I agree with LL that it is completely up to each individual to decide who may contact them outside of SL and how they may do so. Then how can one cope with a loss such as this one?
One person responding on the forum offered her this advice:
“I'd start by IM'ing her as well as sending her a private message through the website that you miss her and asking when she may be returning. Her IM's may go to her email if she has it set up this way. I'd send the PM to her in case she can access the website but not SL itself for some reason. Also, check with mutual friends to see if they have had any word of her.
This is about all you can do. Take heart, she probably had something unexpected come up in RL that has prevented her from logging in and she will return when she is able to. Usually if people are leaving SL they will tell their close friends that that is their intention. AmethsGrun”
That is all that can be done if one of your friends ‘ghosts’ you. Many people return to SL, there is no guarantee that someone will return after ghosting for a long period of time. Many people come back using new Avi’s leaving their old SL behind. If your only contact is in world, you will have to move on at this point.
Some people who you considered to be your friends may stop communicating abruptly or unfriend you without incident or warning. This is another form of ghosting. It parallels IRL ghosting where someone cuts off all texting contact without a word. This is usually done by less mature individuals unable to talk about what they are feeling. Here is an explanation excerpted from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ghosting:
“The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just "get the hint" and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.
Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject's maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.”
This leaves resentment and hurt feelings by the ghostee. In SL we can send notecards, yet some people still have trouble communicating their disinterest in any form.
Why do people disappear from SL and become a ghost? There are as many reasons as there are Avi’s in world. The predominant reason is something in real life takes over, and that’s how it should be, real life first. The problem is that there are real life feelings left behind in SL. Here are some ideas borrowed from other people to explain why someone left SL:
“I once lost a friend and tried tracking her down over many months by joining her listed groups and asking mutual friends as to her whereabouts. Finally, one day she contacted me. She told me rl had taken over and SL had become too busy so she hid herself and came in SL anonymously. Sometimes people need a break, even from themselves.”
“A dear friend poofed. I was frantic. She finally came back a few months later and I demanded her RL email. I couldn't take it. Now she's on Facebook, so I know she's ok. Maybe she has an Alt.”
“She may not be able to come on, because of bad storms-look how many lost power and homes in the last year alone! She could also have not been able to afford her internet, or home, etc. She may have had to shut down. “
“Chances are if someone is a very good friend they would give you other ways to contact them than sl..."
“If she wanted to contact you, she knows where to find you. It's really sad that so many don't get that there are real RL feelings behind everything that happens in SL even if it's just RP'ing for a lot of ppl...”
That reveals the truth of the situation. If someone wanted you to find them they would have told you how to do it. When I had a very good friend ghost, I contacted many of our mutual friends, messaged her on Facebook and emailed her. All were tied to the SL identity that I knew her as when she left SL. She hasn’t come back and that was about a year ago. Through our mutual friends I found support and new friendships. Eventually I was just fine. The lesson here is to think twice about ghosting in any form. If you feel you need to leave SL, try to tell those important to you. In the end, do what you need to do to survive all worlds and minimize the damage to all.