top of page

The Real Cost of Ghosting




Three months ago, during a free consultation, I formed a deep connection with a potential client who was grappling with some significant business challenges.


Our talk went beyond usual business advice, turning into a real heart-to-heart where I offered guidance, advice, and an empathetic ear. I felt a genuine bond, and I was confident that my guidance and concern had made a meaningful impact on her.


About a week after our initial talk, I followed up with an email to see how she was doing.


No response!


A few days later, I sent a text to ensure she had received my email.


Again...nothing!


I realized she was facing tremendous pressure and thought perhaps she was just too overwhelmed to reply at that time.


In the following months, I continued to reach out, reassuring her that my intent was not to pressure her into using my services but simply to check in and see how she was coping. My concern was genuine.


However, as you might guess from the title of this blog post, the ultimate outcome was clear...


GHOSTED!


Ghosting, a term often linked to the dating scene, has increasingly found its way into the business world. Unfortunately, this wasn't my first experience being ghosted by a potential client.


However, what set this instance apart was the profound connection and concern that emerged during our call. This time, the ghosting felt more impactful, resonating differently due to the depth of the rapport we had built.


We all hate to be ghosted. It sucks!


But, why?


Firstly, it's awful to offer your services in a genuine attempt to want to help someone, only to end up being ignored. However, what you might not know is that many of the negative emotions we experience from being ghosted are actually rooted in biology.


Your brain is not a fan of loose ends and uncertainties. We're hard-wired to seek closure and make sense of things, a trait tracing back to our survival instincts—historically, the unknown represented danger. So, when you find yourself constantly pondering why a client ghosted you, it's not just an obsession (though it might feel that way at times). In essence, it's not your fault; it's simply how we're programmed to react.


Understanding the biological underpinnings of our response to ghosting might offer some solace, but it doesn't change the fact that it feels awful.


Now, let's delve deeper into the dynamics of ghosting, examining the real impact on both the ghoster and the ghosted.


THE GHOSTER


No one is perfect. We've all, at some point, probably ghosted someone.


So, why do people ghost?


There are numerous reasons—fear, avoidance, sheer thoughtlessness—but ultimately, it all comes down to one thing...


It's the "easiest" thing to do!


We are becoming a society that is constantly looking for the easy answer. We're devolving into a society that prioritizes comfort above everything else. We've grown increasingly intolerant of discomfort, and our digital environment has facilitated this aversion, making it far too simple to avoid challenging situations.


We avoid discomfort, not realizing that our situational choices are evolving into systematic issues that are much more challenging to address and change.


As we become a society that's increasingly disconnected, ignoring a genuine connection, whether in personal or business contexts, causes more harm than we might think. When you choose convenience over thoughtfulness, comfort over truth, and avoidance over authenticity, the impact is greater than you might imagine.


This growing issue demands our attention, and perhaps an analogy can shed more light on the issue.


Imagine you're at a park enjoying your lunch. When you're done, would you just toss your trash on the ground? Hopefully not.


But what if the nearest trash can is quite a distance away? Would the inconvenience persuade you to do the "right" thing and dispose of your trash properly, or would you give in to the temptation of convenience and litter?


Now, let's add another layer: imagine the park is bustling with people. If you were to litter in such a visible setting, it's likely someone would call you out, or at the very least, pick up your trash while casting a disapproving look your way. The potential for public scrutiny motivates us to act responsibly and throw our trash away.


We generally avoid littering not only because it's "wrong" but also because societal norms and the potential for public accountability discourage such behavior. We are influenced by the potential consequences of our behavior.


It's "easy" to ghost because our behavior has no apparent consequences. But this, my friend, could not be farther from the truth.


The repercussions are real; they're just not immediately visible. When someone ghosts, they might think they're avoiding discomfort or conflict, retreating into the shadows while rationalizing their actions. However, this choice carries profound, often unseen effects on various aspects of life, including relationships, reputation, self-image, and personal integrity. And perhaps most critically, it affects the fabric of our society.


Ok, I know that sounds dramatic but, it's crucial to consider the broader societal impact of ghosting.


Our society is facing unprecedented levels of disconnection and a serious mental health crisis. This issue extends far beyond just dropping litter in a park—it's about littering someone's mind.


Ok, I again...I realize that sounds SUPER dramatic, but stick with me as we explore this.


Remember, our survival instincts drive us to seek closure. When someone ghosts us and we're left without enough information, our brain tries to fill in the gaps, asking, "What happened? Why did they ghost me?"


Unfortunately, the conclusions we jump to often aren't in our favor. Most of the time, we end up thinking either "I did something wrong" or "That person is just an asshole," or more often, both! These thoughts aren't helpful for our mental well-being and drive us further towards disconnection.


Instead of just dropping litter, it feels as if someone is actively throwing trash at us.


I am going to assume that you wouldn't go up to someone and tell them to their face that they aren't good enough but essentially, that's the message you send when you ghost someone. By disappearing without explanation, you force the ghosted person to draw their own conclusions, and often that conclusion is..."I'm not good enough." or "What did I do wrong?".


I'm not writing this blog to make anyone feel ashamed. I get it—ghosting has become so normalized that we often don't think twice about it.


However, I believe that when we know better, we should do better.


You're not a bad person, but ignoring an email, text, or call from someone who you have made a connection with is a shitty thing to do, and deep down, you know it. Until now, maybe you've just found ways to rationalize it.


My hope is that after reading this post, you'll think twice when you're in a position to ghost someone., understanding more deeply the impact of your actions. Instead of choosing to throw mental trash at someone and ghosting them, a simple...


"Thank you so much for your time but I've decided to go in a different direction."


"This doesn't work within my budget at this time but I will let you know if that changes."


"I'm not ignoring you, I've just been incredibly busy but I'll get back to you if I'm interested."


"I'm considering my options, feel free to follow up in a (week, month, etc)."


BTW...feel free to copy and paste these as needed in the future.


I understand that one reason for ghosting might be a reluctance to be honest and directly tell someone you're not interested. You might worry about hurting their feelings or fear they won't take no for an answer.


Let me be clear about where I stand on this issue. If you're upfront and honest with someone, and they continue to push back or try to pressure you, then it's okay not to respond further. In my book, that's not ghosting.


Once you've given your answer, and the other person has enough information to understand where you stand and tie up those mental loose ends, your responsibility is fulfilled. It's then up to them to accept your response and move on.


THE GHOSTED


I now want to address those who have been on the receiving end of the ghosting (ie: everyone)!


The first thing I want to do is once again reiterate the biological aspect of ghosting and let you know that you are not crazy and there is nothing wrong with you that you can't stop wondering what happened to that client, friend, date, etc. who ghosted you.


I am lucky enough to have 20+ years of experience as a successful entrepreneur behind me. I know I am good at what I do, I know that I add value. When a client ghosts me, I may briefly wonder if there is anything I could have done or said differently but, I don't take it personally. However, I still find myself thinking about nearly every client I've connected with who has disappeared. I can't help but wonder what happened to them.


I also have the unique advantage of working with numerous entrepreneurs from various industries across the country, many of whom are the best of the best in their fields, boasting highly successful and thriving businesses. These individuals are in high demand, with massive social media followings, celebrity clients, and impressive incomes and they get ghosted too! And yes...despite their success and position in their industry, it makes them feel like shit!


I make this point to remind you that, there is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone...everyone gets ghosted and everyone hates it and at times questions themselves...regardless of their position in life!


IN CONCLUSION


When I experience ghosting, I'm fortunate to have the tools to help me navigate the negative feelings it may bring up (thank you years of therapy). But it still affects me deeply on an existential level.


Every time I connect with someone, only for them to choose convenience or avoidance over honoring that connection, I'm left feeling overwhelmingly disappointed. It's not just disappointment in the person who ghosted me; but more so disappointment in the society that has normalized this behavior.


I find myself once again being faced with a moral dilemma...something that seems to be becoming a more common occurrence in my life these days. Should I simply surrender and adopt a "fuck it" attitude, accepting that ghosting is just a part of our society?


It would certainly be the "easiest" choice! But, I just can't do it! For me personally, now that I know better, I have to do better.


I don't know if my humble blog will have any kind of impact but I do hope that it might make you pause and think twice before ghosting someone. I also hope that it serves to ease the pain and discomfort when you are on the receiving end of the ghosting, knowing that you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you for ruminating over why you are being ignored...you're wired to do so.


For me personally, I have made the vow never to ghost again. It's not easy but it's all I have control over.


Even when no one is looking, I will always be the person who throws my trash away and if you litter, I will be the one to stop and pick up your trash and throw that away too...although, I will do it while casting a disapproving look your way...just saying!













1 commentaire


Howdy, I know what this feels like and I am currently doing it... I stopped reading at "it is the easier thing to do" to write a note to you. We are in a world that is trying to polarize everyone. If you are with me, you can't be with them! If you are empathic and sensitive to the concerns of others, this might cause you trouble. As in, "Why can't I be with both?" Is it harming someone? Is it getting people in trouble? I have come to the point where all entities who play a game of "me and not them" get what they are requiring... That is not easy. To turn away from loved ones beca…

J'aime
bottom of page