Spooky situations: What to do if you’re being ghosted (or ghosting others) at work

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If you’re dating in 2019 chances are you’ve been ghosted. But a new trend is arising in the business world where clients, customers and former colleagues ghost on one another.

Similar to dating, people often respond by excusing the ghoster’s behavior by coming up with a million creative reasons why they couldn’t bother to respond to an email or a phone call.


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Maybe they’re trapped on a desert island. Maybe they’re in a part of the world where cell phones don’t work for months at a time. Maybe they’re really busy and don’t have even two minutes to reply to an email.

Most likely, they are ghosting you.

The sad thing is, most of us at one time or another (or maybe many times) have ghosted someone in a business setting. Maybe this was on purpose because we didn’t want to buy what they were selling or we were really busy and didn’t want to take time to defend our delayed or non-existent responses. Sometimes it’s not even on purpose. We mean to get back to people, but our emails and text messages are constantly dinging with new things to grab our attention.

If you ghost people, here are three ways you can start to redeem yourself

Be honest. If you can’t afford what someone is selling – or aren’t interested – just say it. The salesperson will most likely appreciate the honesty and be thankful they won’t waste any more time on trying to convert you.

Write back and tell them exactly what to do. Drop them a note if this month is crazy for deadlines, but you have more bandwidth next month. If you need them to call a different department or contact someone else, share those details and get it off your plate. Pointing them in the right direction is good business karma.

Take one minute to write them back. Say no if the answer is no, but kindly. If you’re too busy to be a mentor, then thank them for their interest but tell them your schedule is too full to take on anything else.

If you’ve been ghosted here are three ways to handle this

Take a long break from reaching out. Wait a month or more and then circle back again. Sometimes people don’t write back because the email got lost in the shuffle or the timing was bad.

Reach out in a different way. Maybe they don’t like being contacted via Facebook Messenger, but don’t mind being pitched via email.

Try someone else in the company. See who else you may be able to connect with to accomplish your goals. Often times other employees can help move things along or give you an answer.

Most of us have been ghosted and have ghosted someone else. Take the time to write back one sentence and be honest about where you stand. If you’ve been ghosted, give it some time and try again. But don’t waste too much time on someone who doesn’t take a moment to reply.

Lindsay Anvik is a third generation entrepreneur and CEO of See Endless, Inc. She travels the world giving seminars on productivity, leadership, and marketing to everyone from Fortune 500 companies to major museums to mom and pop companies. She develops webinars and education series to help companies grow and develop happier and more motivated workforces. Her company, See Endless, is focused around helping leaders and employees tap into their endless potential.


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