If you have been in the dating world within the last ten years, you have probably heard of the term ‘ghosting.’ In fact, you have probably been ghosted before – even if it was decades ago, before the term was ever coined. Ghosting, for those who don’t know, is the act of suddenly disappearing on another person. Sometimes it looks like going on a first date, following up with the other person, and never hearing back from them. Other times, you may be stood up entirely and not receive so much as a text. Either way, ghosting is the awful (and cowardly) act of vanishing into thin air, never to be heard from again.
There is also an area of this in the corporate world: being ghosted by a company, or even a prospect. Both are annoying at the least and infuriating at the worst. A little over a year ago, I was ghosted by a potential client after spending weeks giving various quotes, sending samples, and discussing deadlines. She was even consistent in quickly responding with needed information for me. It was maddening because I wasted valuable time with someone whom I had already qualified and decided would likely follow through. Unfortunately, no matter how thoroughly you try to qualify people, you can’t win ‘em all. (There is a silver lining, though. A person who fails at responding is not the type of client you should desire anyway. The best companies will keep up with communication, even if the answer is no.)
To be honest, there have a few times in the past that I have ghosted others, particularly potential clients that didn’t seem like they were worth the effort. Now I feel absolutely awful about it. Maybe I crushed their hopes. Maybe I failed their expectations of me. Maybe I wasted their time as they sat around, waiting on me, when they could have spent their time on someone more worthwhile. It’s also possible that it didn’t bother them in the least – but I’ll never know.
Ghosting is a sure sign of immaturity in a person who is incapable of saying, “Sorry, this just isn’t going to work.” Wouldn’t you – whether as an individual or a company – want someone to let you know why? The prospect who disappeared on me may have not gotten some vital information from me, so she decided against using my services. However, I’m sure that if she had received the same treatment from a potential client of her own, she would have wanted to know the problem so that she could remedy the situation and not repeat it in the future.
Before you decide to blow someone off because of disinterest or things not working out, be mindful of “the golden rule”: treat others how you want to be treated. Instead of ignoring phone calls and emails, find a way to explain what happened and why things won’t be progressing forward. People can only better themselves when they are aware of needed changes.