Where did they go?
Imagine working with someone on a project, you reach out to them by text, email, phone and you get no reply or response.
First you think maybe they didn’t get your message. You assume they are busy.
You then worry that something terrible happened to them.
So, you try them again, you leave a voicemail, send an email or a text, then maybe a couple more times (just in case).
POOF, they disappeared.
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! (cause they ain’t gonna answer)
Depending on how you sent the message, you see the read receipt. Ok, good they’re alive… SO, why aren’t they responding to you?
You think to yourself, they will respond, so you wait and wait…
A day goes by, then a week, then two weeks, a month.
You see them active on social media or maybe even see them out and about in person.
Now you feel like a creep for stalking them and obsessing over them not responding.
Eventually, you get it. They are choosing not to respond to you.
Wait a minute, you’re NOT dating them.
So, WHY do you feel so bad?
I’ve been there, it hurts to know someone is ignoring you (even in business).
You are overcome with confusion, frustration, disappointment, annoyance, sadness, maybe even anger that someone doesn’t have enough regard for your emotions to communicate with you, that they NO LONGER WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU.
Isn’t it ironic?! Lol
Back in the day Ghosting in dating was called dodging, ditching or disappearing acts.
If you’ve ever experienced ghosting in dating, then you know it feels like a punch to the gut.
It seems lately, ghosting is popping up more and more in business relationships.
As business etiquette deteriorates and internet communication creates a social barrier, people find it easier to disappear without the courtesy of a formal termination, closure or good bye.
If you’ve never been ghosted, then you’re lucky. If you have let’s get to the bottom of this. I have worked through this myself and I’ve had to help quit a few of my clients deal with this too.
Ghosting in business is becoming more frequent, maybe it’s because of the protection of technology, the ability to hide behind a screen without consequence.
Maybe it’s because some humans have lost empathy, compassion and regard for other humans’ emotions. Have you seen the things people write in social media comments?
Sometimes it’s a slow Fade Away
There is a lower level of Ghosting, it’s Fading. The person doesn’t completely disappear, you kinda still see them. But they are ineffectively communicating or slowly disappearing, by contacting you less frequently. They are totally still avoiding you.
Janet and Latoya agreed to have a business meeting with some investors for a business idea they are planning to start together. Janet calls and emails Latoya to confirm the meeting. Latoya does not respond.
The day of the meeting, Latoya does not show up at all. Janet tries to call and email Latoya, but she gets no response.
Initially, Janet thinks oh no, did Latoya get in an accident? “I hope Latoya is okay.”
Janet attends this investor meeting by herself, but doesn’t even know what to tell the investors about Latoya’s disappearance. First impressions are important, and Latoya may have impacted Janet’s reputation negatively.
Now, Janet is at this important meeting, and it appears to the investors, that she and Latoya are unprofessional and have poor communication. She feels completely taken by surprise because Latoya does one of two things.
1. Latoya avoids Janet’s calls to confirm meeting, BUT she emails 10 minutes before the meeting is supposed to start with a vague excuse, like “it’s cold outside, it’s raining or I thought we weren’t having the meeting.”
2. Latoya avoids all the calls and texts. About a day or two later, she emails Janet to apologize for not making it to the meeting, with no real explanation.
What Latoya should have done?
Latoya should have had a conversation with Janet, that she is not interested or not ready to start a business. She can also tell Janet, that the day of the meeting is not a good time. Effective communication shows emotional maturity and respect.
Janet may then decide to do business with someone else who is interested, ready and willing. She will also save face in front of the investors.
Three most common reasons people Ghost.
· Avoiding conflict and confrontation.
· Difficulty with effective communication.
· Afraid of a negative outcome.
· They feel unsafe.
· Avoiding abuse.
· Protecting their emotions from being hurt.
· Teaching a lesson.
· Wants to inflict emotional pain.
· Feel power and control.
How Ghosting can impact you emotionally?
1. You start to have ruminating thoughts. What happened? What you did you do? Did you say something wrong? What can you do to fix it?
2. The pain center of your brain is activated, just like when you are going through a breakup or experience any loss. You actually feel physically pained.
3. You start feeling symptoms of excessive worry and anxiety, because you are worried it will happen again. You feel nervous. You don’t know how to deal with this person or any for that matter. Worst case scenario it becomes a social anxiety.
What to do if you are Ghosted? (I ain’t afraid of no Ghost!)
1. Acknowledge the lapse in communication. “I notice you haven’t gotten back to me? Are you okay?”
2. Offer a communication option to email, text or call by a certain time. “Please email me today or call me between 12-2 on Friday.”
3. Be straight forward “I am confused that you disappeared. I am concerned.”
4. Wait for a response“Give them time to get their thoughts and emotions together to respond”
5. Move On If they don’t respond, just live your best life. They are GONE with the wind.
Have you Ghosted someone?
First understand that it’s NOT nice. It hurts people’s feelings, it hurts them even more than telling them the truth.
1. Get help to deal with your thoughts and emotions.
2. Learn effective communication skills.
3. Learn effective conflict resolution skills.
4. Practice empathy.
Ghosting makes people feel burned, burned out and it burns bridges. We do business with people we know, like and trust.
If you have been Ghosted, I am sorry. I know it doesn’t feel good, but after you do your due diligence, just move on with your life, because that other person has moved on with theirs.
If you are the one who Ghosts people, get professional help to learn how to stop Ghosting, because over time, you will make this a habit and that kind of communication is not good for business or personal relationships.
On some occasions, Ghosting is not just a communication error or the result of emotional immaturity. Sometimes Ghosting is the result of a developmental disability (i.e. Autism Spectrum Disorder) or a Psychological disorder.
For example, someone may have severe Social Anxiety Disorder or someone that uses Ghosting to punish you may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder and punishment relieves their psychological distress by placing that distress on you.
Please note, I don’t think a psychological disorder is an excuse to Ghost anyone. They can learn how to cope with difficult emotions and effectively communicate as well.
Confession, I’ve Ghosted, given guys the wrong phone number, didn’t reply back when they called, when I was in high school and college. But now with personal growth, I learned to just say No. It makes no sense to go through all of that or put someone through that, because I am not interested.
If you’re still hurt by being Ghosted….remember this, Ghosting is NOT about you!
Ghosting or Fading is about the other person. There’s nothing you can do but move on and wish them all the best in their personal development. I hope that gives you some comfort.
How has Ghosting shown up in your life?
Let’s Chat! some more about how to manage Ghosting or Fading?
Schedule a FREE 15 minute consultation now. www.senecawilliams.com