Navigating the Silence: Understanding and Overcoming the Rise of ‘Ghosting’ in a Connected World

In our fast-moving society, staying connected has become easier than ever. However, a troubling trend known as “ghosting” is rising. Ghosting is the sudden disappearance of communication in personal and professional relationships, often without explanation or warning. Think of it as putting something in an Amazon cart but never checking out or removing the item from the cart. Amazon carts get ghosted quite often, which is why they have automated the follow-up. Have you ever tried leaving a cart with items in the digital world? Try, and your inbox will be flooded with reminder emails from the retailer giving you reasons to complete the purchase quickly!

But what do you do when you get ghosted by a job seeker, employer, client, or supplier? More people prefer ghosting over confronting issues. As someone ghosted by a mentee, I wanted to explore the possible reasons behind this phenomenon.

Probable reasons for Ghosting:

  • The Digital Divide

    A significant contributing factor to Ghosting is the wide adoption of digital communication tools. Instant messaging, emails, and social media have made it possible for people to interact without ever meeting in person. While this appears convenient initially, it can lead to detachment from others and create a false sense of anonymity.

  • Drowning in Communication

    As our devices are inundated with endless emails, texts, and notifications daily, it’s no wonder some individuals succumb to communication overload. To cope with this situation, they may choose to withdraw completely, ghosting those they no longer wish to interact with.

  • Perceived Lack of Consequences

    Online communications often have an apparent absence of consequences for one’s actions. This perception might encourage people to ghost others since they may not have to face them again in real life. A lack of accountability motivates individuals to ghost rather than address complex issues or engage in uncomfortable conversations.

  • Avoiding Confrontation

    Many people dread confrontation and feel uneasy discussing challenging subjects or delivering unfavourable news. Ghosting offers an easy way out from these potentially stressful situations by allowing these individuals to vanish and cut off contact altogether, bypassing awkward discussions entirely.

  • Evolving Cultural Values

    Engaging in meaningful conversations can appear unnecessary or even cumbersome in our rapidly changing world, emphasizing efficiency and speed. Consequently, Ghosting (by those doing it!) is possibly considered a time-saving and low-effort method to manage relationships.

So, what’s the best way for businesses to maximize their time and resources? Avoid being Ghosted.

  • Transparent Communication

    One approach is to emphasize transparent communication right away. By outlining expectations and developing feedback and discussion channels, companies can cultivate a setting where Ghosting is less likely. We’ve begun incorporating an expiration date to establish a clear deadline when submitting proposals to clients. If there’s no response or confirmation, we consider it submitted and move on.

  • That Personal Touch

    Moreover, we ensure our potential clients meet or engage with us. A personal touch could be over coffee, lunch, or a casual greeting. With those located remotely, we schedule a ‘let’s get to know each other’ call where we learn about their family and passion.

  • The Three-Strike Policy

    This rule also applies to vendors. In the first month, we monitor their ethics and response times. They get a maximum of three strikes. If we see a trend wherein we always have to follow up for a response, we terminate their service as swiftly as possible. Quick and efficient communication is vital for project success in today’s fast-paced business world. When vendors don’t respond or exhibit a disinterest in maintaining open communication channels, it casts doubt on their professionalism and dependability.

Are there some cookie-cutter responses one could use instead of Ghosting? Yes, indeed, and feel free to copy and paste these for your business use:

  • For prospective employees: 

    Thank you for the opportunity! I am humbled to have been considered. I regret that I cannot accept the position. I took up another job. It was a tough decision as both organizations are where I hoped to work one day; unfortunately, they both came at the same time. I want us to stay connected as one never knows when our paths may cross again.

  • For clients:

    Thank you for the proposal! After review and internal discussion, we have chosen to halt our activities, and we will not be moving forward at this time. I’ll reevaluate when our budget allows us to invest in a project with you.

  • For vendors:

    Sorry! Our team cannot cope with the demand, so our level of service has been impacted. There are several options, but give us another try, and we will not disappoint you. Allow me time to get the service levels back on track, and we will reach out to you as soon as we give you the quality that you deserve.

  • When you need more time to respond: 

    Thank you for reaching out. I’ve received your message, and I’m currently looking into the matter. I’ll be sure to provide you with a detailed update by [specific day or time frame]. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

  • When you are unable to fulfill a request: 

    I hope this message finds you well. After reviewing your request, I regret to inform you that we cannot accommodate it at this time due to [brief reason, e.g., capacity, policy, etc.]. We value our relationship and want to explore alternative solutions that meet your needs. Let’s schedule a time to discuss this further.

  • When you are reviewing multiple proposals: 

    Thank you for submitting your proposal. We are in the process of reviewing all the submissions and will be making a decision by [specific time frame]. We will notify you of the outcome as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience.

  • When you are not ready to make a purchase: 

    I appreciate your follow-up. At the moment, we are not ready to proceed with a purchase, but I will keep your information on file for future reference. Please feel free to check in with us again in [time frame].

  • When you need to decline an offer: 

    Thank you for the offer. After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward with it at this time due to [brief reason, e.g., budget constraints, different direction, etc.]. We appreciate the opportunity and will reach out if our situation changes.”

These templates can be adjusted to fit the specific context of the communication, considering the relationship. Personalizing the message to maintain a warm, professional tone is always good. If you have not found a template for your specific situations, reach out to us. We create content and would be happy to draft a response up. Check out our content creator service.

To sum up, various factors contribute to Ghosting’s prevalence – digital disconnection, absence of consequences, avoidance of confrontation, communication overload, and evolving cultural norms. While Ghosting might seem like an easy escape at times, it can produce adverse outcomes for everyone involved. To foster healthier and longer-lasting professional and personal connections, we must reassess our communication habits and aim for more transparent and courteous interactions. Use of a cookie-cutter response is better than no response at all.