Ghosting In Business

You may or may not be familiar with the term ‘ghosting’.

It is most frequently associated with the world of dating, particularly online. In this instance, it is where two people have been chatting or possibly dating for hours, days, weeks or even months until, quite suddenly, all communication from one party stops for no apparent reason.

It’s fair to say that this is a pretty cowardly and shoddy way to treat someone (unless of course the other person was becoming a bit of a ‘bunny boiler’, in which case, get out of there - and quick!).

Ghosting in this regard is not a completely new phenomenon, although the rapid advancement of online dating and social media has certainly made it a lot easier. Online, we tend to take the view that we are invisible and can say what we want without fear of repercussions, hence the rise in so-called ‘keyboard warriors’.

What is worrying is the way that ghosting has crept into the world of business.

It is sadly quite common in the recruitment process, and can occur from the side of either the candidate or potential employer. Either way, it’s pretty bad form – when someone has invested their time and energy, the very least they deserve is an email to let them know where they stand.

More concerning is when ghosting occurs between business associates, whether this is potential sellers, buyers, manufacturers, suppliers, contractors or consultants.

Everyone’s time is valuable, and while they are engaging with one client, they can’t be doing this with another.

Business is about building relationships and networking with each other. Let’s face it, we’re all grown-ups looking to achieve the same thing – success at one level or another. While we understand that we’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, we should also remember that everyone is a potential client – the financial advisor helping a plumber with their pension might also be looking for someone to fit a new bathroom suite; a decorator pitching for an office refurb with an electrical contractor might have a client whose property is in need of complete rewiring; the design agency that’s been asked to rebrand a luxury hotel chain could also be looking for a swanky venue to schmooze its clients.

The thing is, we understand that we’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but we learn from experiences and move on.

Why then do some people find it so difficult to do the bare minimum and let someone know when their services are no longer required?

Perhaps they don’t think it’s necessary – well of course it’s necessary, as well as being the right thing to do.

Maybe they’re scared of confrontation – you can’t get inside someone’s head, one person’s perception is not another person’s reality.

Could it simply be that they can’t be bothered – don’t forget, that can work two ways.

We should always remember that people recommend people they trust, and we all rely on first-hand experience and testimonials.

It’s perfectly acceptable to have a change of heart for whatever reason, and you absolutely do not have to justify yourself. But it is friendly and courteous to drop someone a line to say thank you but no thank you.

And if you have been ghosted, either personally or professionally, do not take it to heart – just thank your lucky stars and concentrate your energy on someone that will fully appreciate everything you have to offer.