You may have heard of “ghosting” referring to the situation where someone (a friend, business colleague, or prospect) with whom you believe you’ve established a connection, disappears without an explanation. There’s no notice of any kind, nor any response to phone calls, emails, or text messages. All communication simply ends.
The practice of ghosting isn’t new—people long have done disappearing acts. But in the past, this kind of behavior was generally practiced by a certain type of scoundrel. Now, it’s a commonplace occurrence.
Why do people ghost?
People who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own discomfort; they aren’t considering what the long term consequences are. The lack of a truly personal connection with those with whom they are “connected” online or offline also means that there tend to be fewer obvious consequences to ghosting. It also speaks to the constant drive towards informality in everything, standards, manners of the past are not taught or ignored altogether.
Ghosting is most commonly experienced by job seekers, employers or those in the dating scene, but it also happens when business connections are made and perhaps proposals are sent, but then someone disappears without a trace. In truth, everyone’s doing it.
If so, what’s the problem? It’s the damage that the practice will do to your career if you’re known as:
– Someone who doesn’t keep their word;
– Someone who doesn’t value the effort or time of others;
– Someone who doesn’t have the ‘stones’ to follow through even when a tough message needs to be communicated;
– Someone who can’t be counted on.
Remember that most industries are small, and word gets around. As has been said, “what goes around, comes around.” I’ve experienced ghosting and I’ve also prevented connections (likely career-changing ones) for more than one person who has done it, either to me or to others in my network. Just indicating that someone was a ‘lemon’ because of this kind of conduct served to kill an interview opportunity for a very plum job or other valuable opportunity.
For a sampling of commentary on the subject, check these links out:
Business depends on relationships – and the ability to trust those relationships. Ghosting is an indicator that you don’t value other people and it will undermine that trust. It’s the kind of reputation that will follow you (perhaps like a ghost) throughout your entire career.
Don’t let it be you ….